A year after, the integration of the judiciary is still incomplete

"One of the main causes for the inefficiency of the judiciary in northern Kosovo is the lack of translators, and - therefore - inadequate translation". This is the conclusion of the conference on the situation in the judiciary that was held yesterday in the Center for Civil Energy.

"The Basic Court in Mitrovica, without its branches, has only two professional translators, which is by no means sufficient", said Milos Markovic, deputy administrator of the Basic Court in Mitrovica.

He also assessed that the integration was not done properly, that everything was unprepared, that only the staff was integrated, and that the other points of the agreement were not applied. "None of the 260 cases to be translated into Serbian, which judges had given to translators in March, has been translated yet. And not because the court is doing nothing, but because there is no physical possibility for them to translate the cases, or process a case" - Markovic emphasized. He also believes that the situation after the Trial Chamber's vacancy announcement for five translators and additional 10 to be paid by the UN will improve in the future.

At the conference, ACDC presented the results of a survey on the situation in northern Kosovo after the judiciary integration.

Aleksandar Rapajić, project manager at ACDC, said that it was found that the trust of citizens in the judiciary was still very low, and that the courts, although formally created and integrated, did not operate in their full capacity. "A small number of cases are still being solved. Some cases of the previous, Serbian judiciary have not been solved yet. Because of this, the trust of citizens is still very low and there is a hole in legal security", Rapajic said.

The head of the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates Yll Zekaj says that the problems created by the legal vacuum in recent years cannot be solved, that there are over 300,000 cases in the courts in Kosovo, and that, in some cases, the citizens await for a verdict for up to 10 years.

"I expect the integration of the system in the North as one process. We cannot expect something big in the beginning, but we do need to make a great contribution to improve this situation as soon as possible, as well as expect the additional budget of the Government in intervening in those parts where it is necessary"- said Zekaj.

"The situation in the judiciary" is the final conference of the project "Integration of the judiciary - 6 months later, where are we?”, which ACDC conducted in cooperation with the Contact Plus Radio.

The project was supported by the Kosovo Foundation for an Open Society - KFOS.