Freedom House: Corruption and political influence in the judiciary, ongoing concerns in Kosovo

2024-04-24 21:49:06, Kosova & Bota CNA

Freedom House: Corruption and political influence in the judiciary, ongoing

The organization Freedom House based in Washington published on Wednesday its report on Kosovo, assessing that this country continues to be partially free and has not marked progress, in particular in the eradication of corruption and political influence in the institutions of justice.

The report on the state of democracy in Kosovo also raises concerns about the freedom and independence of the media, as well as the use of violence, based on the unrest in the northern part of Kosovo after the local elections of April 2023 and the attack by the Serbian armed group in the village of Banjské. in which a Kosovo policeman was killed.

"Many public institutions suffer from entrenched corruption, although there are signs that a new generation of politicians is taking steps to combat corrupt practices through legal and administrative reforms," ??the report states. "Journalists continue to face threats, especially on social networks. The rule of law is hindered by the interference and dysfunction of justice institutions".

In the report, which evaluates a number of criteria for the state of democratic processes in the country, it is stated that "corruption and clientelism continue to influence the selection of voters during elections, as well as pressure from powerful business interests". The report adds that Serbia continues to influence the platform of the Serbian List and the political decisions of Kosovo Serbs.

"The long-term impact of corruption is still visible in public institutions, despite the government's efforts to combat it. "Since independence, the authorities have shown little commitment to investigating high-level corruption," the report states.

The report states that "some political figures in Kosovo are connected to organized crime and high-level corruption", but that the 2021 elections brought "a big change in the political scene of Kosovo, with a number of figures moving into the opposition important that they were involved in illegal activities".

According to Freedom House, among the problems faced by Kosovo in the fight against corruption are the unclear powers of the bodies that should fight corruption and the lack of coordination between them.

The report states that the Government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti has undertaken a number of reforms to fight corruption and organized crime, but that some of these measures, such as the law establishing an agency for the verification and confiscation of unjustified assets, have caused concerns that they may to be politicized and that they are now being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

The report criticizes the lack of transparency of the current government of Kosovo.

"Mr. Kurti's government has made a series of decisions - including decisions related to the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue process - with limited transparency and without consulting the Assembly, causing criticism from the opposition and civil society organizations."

The Freedom House report also points out that " political interference in justice institutions continues to be a problem and that comprehensive corruption in justice bodies has a negative impact on their independence".

The report also points out that government institutions often refuse legal requests for access to public information without giving any justification.

"Prosecutors and courts remain influenced by political interference and corruption of powerful political and business elites, harming the judicial process," the report added.

In the report, a gloomy assessment is also made of the state of the media in Kosovo and the safety of journalists, whom Freedom House says are targets for mistreatment, threats and who often act with self-censorship.

In dealing with the unsatisfactory state of the media in Kosovo, the report elaborates on the case of the leading private television Klan Kosova, whose business certificate was suspended by the Kosovo government in June 2023 due to alleged irregularities in its registration, an action which was condemned by journalists and civil society organizations as an attack on freedom of speech and the media, according to the report.

The report also sheds light on discriminatory practices against the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo in education, employment and access to services. According to Freedom House, the LGBT community also remains discriminated against and emphasizes that the Civil Code of Kosovo does not allow same-sex partnerships as a legal right. In the same circumstances are women, who are discriminated against in high government positions and in the private sector./ VOA

Lajmet e fundit nga