On 7 February, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) and the Academy of Justice organized a roundtable discussion for 24 prosecutors and judges on the harmonization of the new amendments to Kosovo’s Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) with the special provisions of Juvenile Justice Code.
The discussion aimed at raising awareness among prosecutors and judges specialized in juvenile justice of the need to analyse the conflicting issues deriving from new amendments to the CPC. These amendments, concerning issues such as mandatory defense, the rights of the injured person or victim, pretrial interview, and testimony, will enter into force in February.
In light of this upcoming legislative change, the roundtable discussion focused on identifying possible practical solutions on the application of the two laws, raising the question whether the Juvenile Justice Code should be considered as lex specialis and have priority when conflicting with the CPC.
The Academy of Justice’s Senior Development and Training Officer for Continuative Programme, Teuta Selmanaj, explained how the subject of the roundtable discussion had been identified based on a specific request of prosecutors and judges and thanked EULEX for its support in developing this discussion opportunity.
The roundtable was conducted by the Chief Prosecutor of the Basic Prosecution in Prizren, Admir Shala, who was also a member of the Committee drafting the amendments to the CPC, and by the Prosecutor at the Mitrovica Basic Prosecution Office, Shpëtim Peci.
Chief Prosecutor Shala focused in particular on the changes in the new CPC regarding the victims’ rights, explaining how some of the newly introduced amendments are based on a victim-centred approach, and strengthen the authority of the prosecutors in order to better respect the rights of the victims.
Prosecutor Peci highlighted the importance of sharing views and experiences among representatives of the judiciary who will have to face in their everyday work the challenges posed by the inconsistencies currently present between the CPC and the special provisions of Juvenile Justice Code. “There are many discrepancies that need to be addressed, whether by changing the Special Provisions of Juvenile Justice Code or by issuing administrative instructions to clarify the application of the law,” Peci said.
The roundtable discussion was part of a series of activities planned under EULEX’s Project “Strengthening the professional capacities of prosecutors and the cooperation between police and prosecution in criminal investigations”. In December, under the same project, the Mission organized a training for lawyers on the amendments to the Kosovo Criminal Procedure Code