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July 01, 2009

ABA ROLI Board Member Visits Kosovo, Meets with Legal Professionals

July 2009

On June 22, Martha Barnett, ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) board member and former American Bar Association president, visited ABA ROLI’s Kosovo office for discussions with the country’s legal professionals. Barnett, who also serves as chair of ABA ROLI’s Europe and Eurasia Council, attended a roundtable addressing the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates’ (KCA’s) role in the justice system and its mandates under the revised Kosovo constitution.

Roundtable participants Musa Dragusha, KCA president, and Tome Gashi, a KCA member, discussed KCA’s responsibility in defending Kosovo’s constitution. Barnett provided a comparative example, discussing the role the ABA plays in upholding and interpreting the Constitution of the United States.

U.S. Agency for International Development Mission Director Patricia Rader said, “It is important that all citizens understand the defining principles of their countries,” adding that it was “the obligation of the legal community to help citizens understand and abide by these principles.”

ABA ROLI Country Director Gina Schaar moderated the roundtable. Representatives of NCSC, legal clinic students and KCA members attended the roundtable.

During her visit, Barnett also met and discussed with representatives of the KCA’s Gender and Minority Committee and the Women Law Students Association (WLSA) of the University of Pristina. Shpresa Rama, chair of the Gender and Minority Committee, and Diella Rugova, from the WLSA, discussed the status, challenges and future of their entities. Rugova said her association will work to cooperate with the Gender and Minority Committee and to encourage more women to join the legal profession.

To learn more about our work in Kosovo, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at <[email protected]>.