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April 01, 2008

Third Judicial Reform Index Launched in Kosovo

April 2008

On March 12, 2008, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) hosted an event introducing the third volume of the Kosovo Judicial Reform Index (JRI). Approximately 150 representatives from the government, media, international community, and non-governmental organizations attended the event. Featured speakers included ABA ROLI’s Kosovo Country Director David Sip, Kosovo’s Minister of Justice, Nekibe Kelmendi, as well as USAID’s Deputy Director in Kosovo, Susan Fritz.

Both Mr. Kelmendi and Ms. Fritz praised the role of the JRI in highlighting the progress of reforms and the challenges that remain for the Kosovo judiciary. Of the 30 factors measured by the JRI, 6 rated positive, 12 rated negative, and 12 rated neutral. Overall, the ratings for 7 factors improved since the publication of the second volume of the Kosovo JRI in 2004. Among the improvements discussed in the Kosovo JRI are the transfer of power to independent judicial authorities and the adoption of a new Judicial Ethics Code. Three factors—measuring the quality of judicial buildings, judicial advancement criteria, and the creation of judicial positions—demonstrated a decline since 2004. In addition to these three growing concerns, the Kosovo JRI reflects the judiciary’s continuing lack of economic resources, resulting in decaying infrastructure, case backlogs, staff shortages, and low judicial salaries. Kosovo’s rapidly evolving political status has also created difficulties related to judicial tenure and the passage of conflicting legislation.

The assessment team for the Kosovo JRI was lead by the Honorable Evelyn B. Lance. The full text of Volume III of the Kosovo JRI is available in English, Albanian, and Serbian: