06 December 2019
On 5 December, EULEX hosted a meeting with representatives of Kosovo-based diplomatic representations of EU Member States as well as of Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States as Third Contributing States to provide a platform to the Director General of the Kosovo Correctional Service (KCS), Nehat Thaçi, to present a number of KCS-related projects for possible funding. EULEX also presented the activities of the EULEX Correctional Unit, as well as the findings of its third systemic and thematic monitoring report on the Kosovo judiciary stemming from the work of its Case Monitoring Unit.
The Acting Head of EULEX, Cezary Luba, welcomed the participants and, in particular, Mr Thaçi. “I am very happy to offer to the Director General of the KCS the opportunity to outline its projects today. They aim at making Kosovo prisons and correctional centres more economically sustainable and to provide inmates with labour skills. I hope we can all find ways to support these projects.” The Acting Head of EULEX also provided an update on a number of EULEX-related general issues, while the Head of EULEX Monitoring Pillar, Johanna Valenius, gave a brief overview of the Pillar’s structure and tasks, with a focus on the Mission’s role in facilitating the technical implementation of EU-facilitated Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue agreements in the rule of law area.
Elaborating on the importance of ensuring funding for projects related to the rehabilitation of inmates, Thaçi said: “The process of rehabilitation, resocialization and engagement in a working environment will create the preconditions for inmates to reintegrate back and be useful in the society and their communities after their release.”
The Chief of EULEX Correctional Unit, Ritva Vahakoski, presented the work of the Mission’s Correctional Unit During her presentation, Ms. Vahakoski emphasized that the fruitful cooperation between the KCS and EULEX goes back to 2008 and highlighted how, through monitoring, mentoring and advising, EULEX continues to support the KCS’ efforts to develop a modern senior management team, and assists the KCS in strengthening its capacity to counter undue interference and preferential treatment of inmates as well as its selection processes.
The Chief of EULEX Case Monitoring Unit, Hubert van Eck Koster, explained EULEX’s robust monitoring of selected cases, which has proven to be an effective tool for assessing the local justice system’s compliance with Kosovo law and human rights standards. “EULEX’s robust monitoring is unique to the extent that it allows the Mission to go beyond public court hearings and look at the entire criminal justice chain – from investigation to prosecution, trial monitoring and sentence execution” said van Eck Koster.