Access to justice for all: UNMIK upgrades courtrooms in Mitrovica and Pristina
As part of UNMIK’s sustained efforts to support judicial integration and improve access to justice for all, services available for all members of the community have been upgraded with the inauguration of a new courtroom at the Basic Court of Mitrovica and a state-of-the-art translation room at the Basic Court of Pristina.
On behalf of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK, Zahir Tanin, on 19 April Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Barrie Freeman inaugurated a translation room at the Basic Court of Pristina, furnished and equipped with support from UNMIK and implemented by UNDP.
The court now provides fully trained translators and interpreters, with modern facilities and technology that allows the provision of high-quality translation and interpretation services.
Inauguration of the translation room at the Basic Court of Pristina
During the event, DSRSG Freeman recognised the hard work and leadership of former Judge Aferdita Bytyci, and Acting President Judge Arben Hoti, as well other judicial personnel in reducing the backlog of cases and underscored the importance of advancing the quality of court translations.
“We are committed to supporting fair and equal access to justice in Kosovo through the improvement of justice service delivery, including by helping to improve the quality of court translations and the working conditions for translators. The protection of minority rights and ensuring fair and equal access to justice are vital to the functioning of a healthy democracy, and to longer-term peace and sustainable development,” DSRSG Freeman said.
“It is essential that court functioning and access to justice remain functional and accessible to all, even during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.
Chief Judge Nikola Kabašić, DSRSG Freeman and Ms. Lumnije Surdulli, Administrator at the Basic Court of Mitrovica
Judge Hoti thanked UNMIK for its long-standing support to courts in Kosovo, expressing the continuous need to enhance access to justice.
Later in the week, on 21 April, DSRSG Freeman and the President of the Basic Court of Mitrovica, Judge Nikola Kabašić inaugurated a new courtroom in the region of Mitrovica, furnished and equipped with UNMIK support and implemented by the Advocacy Centre for Democratic Culture. DSRSG Freeman acknowledged the efforts of Judge Kabašić, and his colleagues to improve the administration of justice and highlighted the importance of efforts to train future generations of lawyers from non-majority communities.
Judge Kabašić reiterated the importance of sustained cooperation noting, “UNMIK support to the Basic Court of Mitrovica, as the leading court in Kosovo in terms of bilingualism and multiethnic composition of judges and staff, has been immensely important for the effective and equal provision of justice to all in the Mitrovica region.”
UNMIK continues to support the rule of law and the judiciary in Kosovo in line with SRSG Tanin’s strategic vision to empower and engage stakeholders through a creative and innovative approach to trust-building and sustainable development, UNMIK Head of Rule of Law Office Antero Lopes said.
Left to Right: Gina Dumnica, UNDP; Maria Suokko, Resident Representative UNDP; Ulrika Richardson, UN Development Coordinator; DSRSG Freeman; Ardian Latifaj, UNDP; Antero Lopes, Head of the Office of Rule of Law, UNMIK; Jehona Dragaj, UNMIK Project coordinator; Andrea Lako, Chief, Justice Section, UNMIK; David Ellul, Special Assistant to the Head of the Mission at the inauguration of the translation room at The Basic Court of Pristina
Fom Left to Right: Bojan vasic, National officer, UNMIK; Nikola Kabašić , Chief, Basic Court Mitrovica; Mr. Preston Pentony, Head Mitrovica Regional office; Ms. Lumnije Surdulli, Basic Court Administrator; Andrea Lako, Chief Justice Section, UNMIK; Juan Carlos, Judical affairs Officer, UNMIK; DSRSG Freeman; Antero Lopes, Head, Office of Rule of Law, UNMIK; Jehona Dragaj, UNMIK Project Coordinator, Dušan Radaković, Director of the NGO ACDC at the Inauguration of the courtroom at the Basic Court of Mitrovica.