EU mission to Kosovo: strong measures on justice crucial for success
(Brussels, 8 February) – As the EU discusses the launch of a rule of a law mission in Kosovo, Amnesty International warns that the success of its mandate will depend on strong measures to ensure justice.
Amnesty International’s concerns and recommendations are laid out in the report Kosovo (Serbia): The Challenge to fix a failed Justice Mission. It describes in detail the failure of the UN administration in Kosovo to recruit sufficient and well qualified international judicial staff, guarantee fair trial standards and build a multi-ethnic independent judiciary able to prosecute crimes under international law. Seven years after the UN began its efforts to rebuild the Kosovo judicial system, hundreds of cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity remain unresolved.
“The EU can not fail the people of Kosovo”, said Natalia Alonso from Amnesty International’s EU Office. “An EU mission will be only as effective as its capacity to build a solid national justice system and ensure serious crimes do not go unpunished”, she added.
Amnesty International’s recommendations focus on what the EU mission should do to ensure that the judicial system in Kosovo operates under international human rights law and standards, namely to:
- Facilitate the training of national judicial staff in international human rights, humanitarian and criminal law;
- Monitor the recruitment of qualified international staff to eliminate excessive backlog of prosecutions and delays in trials;
- Ensure protection and support to victims and witnesses, in particular victims of sexual violence;
- Ensure that full and effective reparations are provided to victims and their families.
Unless such measures are taken from day one, the prospects of a durable peace in Kosovo, where the human rights of all are fully respected, will be at risk.