Advisory services on judicial and administrative reform – Strengthening the training institutes

Project description

Title: Advisory services on judicial and administrative reform
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Kosovo
Lead executing agency: Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC)
Overall term: 2017 to 2018

Context

Kosovo is pursuing the long-term goal of accession to the European Union. An important interim target was reached in April 2016 when the Stabilisation and Association Agreement entered into force. The Government's explicit goal – and a necessary condition for this process – is to provide training for judicial and administrative staff, with a particular focus on enhancing efficiency and on gender equality. At the same time, it aims to improve the population's access to the judicial system and shorten the duration of proceedings. With a view to achieving permanent stability in Kosovo, the Government also faces the challenge of integrating the judicial and administrative structures of the largely Serbian north of the country into the state structures.

Objective

Capacity and performance of the judicial and administrative system with regard to gender issues, administrative decisions and administrative court rulings have been strengthened.

Approach

The project is working in various areas to support the Government of Kosovo in its reform efforts to enhance the rule of law:

Training of judges and state prosecutors
The Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI), the central institution for initial and continuous training for judges and state prosecutors, is being empowered to develop training courses that raise awareness of gender-specific discrimination by the state and society and take measures to counter it. The project is advising KJI on identifying relevant case studies and scenarios, developing training materials and evaluating the training courses. At the same time, it is supporting KJI in extending its training activities to include courses for administrative personnel in the judiciary in future.

Gender-differentiated financial planning
In cooperation with the Agency for Gender Equality and the Kosovo Institute for Public Administration (KIPA), the project is helping local authorities and ministries to develop their capacity for gender-differentiated financial planning. Financial staff are being made more aware of the need to consider and promote gender equality in revenue and expenditure planning.

Improving access to the law in connection with administrative decisions
In cooperation with KIPA, administrative staff are being trained to justify administrative decisions, state the correct legal basis and provide the proper information on rights of appeal. This is designed to enhance acceptance of the decisions among the addresses and to reduce the number of legal actions. Moreover, administrative staff and administrative judges hold regular meetings to analyse core problems in terms of compliance of administrative decisions with the law.

The project is advising the administrative court on improving internal processes, thus helping to reduce the backlog of outstanding cases. At the same time, the court is being supported in making its rulings available to the public on a website.

Integrating the judicial and administrative system in northern Kosovo
By providing in-service training for judges, public prosecutors and administrative staff in northern Kosovo, the project is assisting in integrating the judiciary and administration into the country as a whole. In cooperation with KJI and KIPA, training modules are being developed that are designed to familiarise the participants, the majority of whom are Kosovo Serbs, with the basic aspects of Kosovo's judicial and administrative system. The training measures are rounded off by events to promote professional networking between judicial and administrative personnel from northern and southern Kosovo.