02 March 2010
Today, in the District Court of Pristina, the presiding judge decided to adjourn the trial of A.K. until 13 April 2010.
The reason for the adjournment were as follows: The Pristina District Court failed to replace a panel member who had fallen ill and the lawyer appointed ex officio, Mr. R.K., did not show up in the court, thereby violating his official duties.
This unfortunately shows the continuing weaknesses that need to be addressed within the local judiciary if Kosovo is to achieve European standards.
The presiding judge has decided to appoint a new lawyer ex officio, Mr. M.D., to defend Mr. A.K.
The rule of law in any modern, democratic society is based on one key principle: that everyone is equal before law. No individuals is above the law and anyone accused of a crime has a clear and fundamental right to defend him or herself in court. As a matter of principle a fair trial is meant to check whether prosecution has been fairly carried out, i.e. to check before an independent and impartial court whether a case is solid enough to prove somebody guilty or not guilty.
Mr. A.K. case was inherited from UNMIK and is a normal judicial case which needs to be dealt with like any other case. It simply cannot be ignored by the judiciary. Moreover, Mr. A.K. case is one of the last judicial cases on District Court level inherited from UNMIK.
Mr. A.K. is accused of participating in a crowd committing a criminal offence; participating in a group obstructing official persons in performing official duties and calling for resistance. These three offences were allegedly committed on the occasion of the demonstrations of 10 February 2007 in Pristina.
The Prosecution is represented by a local prosecutor from the Special Prosecution Office (SPRK).