On 24 January, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and its longstanding partner, the Kosovo Law Institute, organized a training for 20 lay monitors to kick off the project “Building trust in the judicial system and enhancing realization of human rights through lay trial monitoring”.
The project, entering now its third phase, aims at promoting the right of citizens in Kosovo to attend public hearings, as envisaged by the Kosovo legislation, in order to experience first-hand how justice institutions function.
The lay monitors were initially briefed by the EULEX Justice Monitor, Oscar San Jose, who explained that having citizens as lay monitors can greatly help strengthen the judicial institutions and increase citizens’ trust in Kosovo’s institutions.
During the training, the participants got familiar with the key concepts of court proceedings and trial monitoring by the Project Manager and Legal Researcher of the Kosovo Law Institute, Gzim Shala, and by the Senior Legal Researcher, Ramiz Durmishi.
In addition, EULEX Thematic Lead Monitor-Corruption and Offences, Agron Kelmendi, Thematic Lead Monitor-Crimes under International Law, Petko Petkov, Thematic Lead Monitor-Gender Based Violence, Satu Varri, and Justice Monitor, Heidi Heggdal, briefed the lay monitors on the modalities of the work done by the Mission’s Case Monitoring Unit.
Throughout the project, each lay monitor is expected to attend 25 court sessions in different courts across Kosovo; the individual reports alongside the key findings of the court monitoring exercise will then result in the publication of the third report “Justice in the Eyes of Citizens. Report on Monitoring Court Hearings by Citizens.”
The reports of the first and second phases of the project were published respectively on 14 June 2022 and on 03 August 2020.