15 December 2021
On 15 December, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and the Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) organized a workshop on the key concepts of court proceedings and trial monitoring for 20 new lay monitors, who are expected to monitor around 500 criminal sessions throughout Kosovo. These monitors, who have no legal background, were selected based on a number of criteria, including gender, ethnicity, age, education and profession and they will have the opportunity to experience first-hand how Kosovo justice institutions function.
Through the joint EULEX-KLI project titled “Building trust in the judicial system and enhancing realization of human rights through lay trial monitoring – Phase 2” each lay monitor will attend 25 sessions. A report is going to be published based on the findings of the lay monitors.
During the training, EULEX’s Thematic Lead Monitors provided a detailed description of their activities. EULEX was represented by Justice Mobile Monitor Oscar San Jose Ortiz, Thematic Lead Monitor on Gender-Based Violence Aylin Sozen Atil, Thematic Lead Monitor on Hate Crimes Svend Erik Hellner and Thematic Lead Monitor on Corruption Offences Agron Kelmendi. The lay monitors were then trained by the project manager and editor at KLI, Hyrije Mehmeti, on the work they will do throughout these two months.
By involving Kosovo people in trial monitoring, judicial institutions are strengthened and –as a result- become more trustful for the citizens. In that sense, the project aims at increasing institutional accountability and building the trust of people to the justice system. The idea is to give Kosovo’s people a voice, the opportunity to see and evaluate how their criminal justice system works, how it is organized, how the main actors interact and how competent institutions deliver justice.
In May 2020, KLI issued the report “Justice in the Eyes of Citizens” as part of the first phase of the EULEX-funded project, which was implemented from October 2019 to March 2020. Following the implementation of the first phase in 2019-2020, this workshop was part of the second phase of the lay trial monitoring project, initiated and funded by EULEX in 2019, aimed at enhancing the capacity of civil society organizations to monitor the Kosovo justice system.
A series of ad-hoc training activities will be organized in the following months, designed to complement the monitoring activities and ensure the smooth implementation of the project. As in 2020, a final assessment report will be prepared and presented in mid-2022 based on the reports of the 20 lay trial monitors.