SRSG Tanin inaugurates a courtroom in North Mitrovica, followed by presentation of the justice survey and a discussion
15 April, 2019 - The findings of a survey of 58 judges and prosecutors from the Mitrovica region, identifying achievements and challenges, were shared after the inauguration of a new courtroom in North Mitrovica.
The courtroom, which was fully furnished and equipped through UNMIK programmatic funding, was inaugurated by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Zahir Tanin, and the supervising judge at the Court of Appeals Division in North Mitrovica Milan Bigović. Both gave welcoming speeches alongside president of the Basic Court of Mitrovica judge Nikola Kabašić and chief prosecutor at the Basic Prosecution of Mitrovica Shyqyri Syla.
During his address, SRSG Tanin underpinned how vital the institution of justice was to the functioning of society all over the world and commended members of the legal profession in Mitrovica for continued cooperation in pursuing an ever-more robust rule of law system, since the agreement to integrate Kosovo's judiciary was made in Brussels in 2017.
SRSG Tanin also expressed the continuous commitment of UNMIK to support the justice institutions of Kosovo. However, he emphasized that it was up to the Kosovo judiciary to safeguard the independence and efficiency of the justice system and ensure equal access to justice for all people.
Judge Bigović, Judge Kabašić and Chief Prosecutor Syla thanked UNMIK for its support through provision of equipment and funding of legal interns and translators who contribute to the reduction of the backlog of legal case files. All three iterated the administration of justice had been improved, notwithstanding the remaining challenges that were yet to be addressed. They also highlighted very collegial and professional cooperation among judges and prosecutors from different communities, as was also shown by the survey.
Findings from the survey, implemented with 58 judges and prosecutors from the Mitrovica region, shared with those in attendance through an UNMIK presentation after the courtroom inauguration, showed almost no difference in perception of K/Albanian and K/Serb judges and prosecutors about the achievements and challenges of the justice integration. Key achievements listed were Better access to justice and Reduction of case backlog; while the key challenges included Translation issues, Huge case backlog, Lack of judges/prosecutors and Legal officers.
The event was attended by over 40 people, including judges and prosecutors from different communities, legal professionals, the UN Development Coordinator, Deputy Head of the Mitrovica Regional Office, representatives of UNOPS, EULEX, EUSR, OSCE, GIZ, USAID JSSP and civil society.