Recognition of Serbian marriages and birth/death registration with Serbian birth certificates in Kosovo system enabled

Kosovo Ministry of Interior has issued a decision that enables the registration of the civil status based on Serbian birth, death, and marriage certificates issued by September 14th 2016. The decision enables verification of marriage, and birth/death registration of family members in the central Kosovo citizen register. The decision implementation began in early September this year in municipalities in the North, and earlier throughout Kosovo. This was announced yesterday at a conference organized by the non-governmental organization LINK in CEC.

Non-recognition of marriages and death of a parent/child`s birth registration in the Kosovo system have long been some of the main obstacles in obtaining Kosovo ID cards.

"This decision, issued in July this year, partially removed the obstacle for all those who married in the Serbian system until September 14, 2016", said Milica Andric, the author of the research presented by LINK.

The same applies to all citizens who have had problems registering the death or birth of family members. Since the beginning of September, it has been possible to make a copy of the civil status facts from Serbian birth certificates into the Kosovo registry, provided that the certificates had been issued by September 14th 2016.

Miljana Scekic, legal adviser at the regional office of the Ombudsman in North Mitrovica, also spoke at the conference. She explained that "although the new decision is not comprehensive because it excludes the period after September 2016, it is still a positive step because it primarily enables registration of children born In Kosovo and Metohija after June 1999. Moreover, it will enable the registration of death of the parents, which will eventually lead to facilitation in the probate proceedings."

The Ombudsman Office states that the newly established procedure for copying the civil status facts from Serbian birth certificates to the Kosovo registry is very simple and that, in addition to the original Serbian birth certificate (from the register of married, deceased or born, depending on what citizens want to register), only a copy of Kosovo ID card is required.

A copy of the identity card of parents is required both for childbirth and marriage registration, while the registration of a deceased family member only requires a copy of the death certificate or other proof of death.

Although adopted in July this year, this decision has been implemented since September. The members of the conference criticized institutions, political officials and the media because of the lack of adequate public information about this change in civil registration in the Kosovo system.

This decision, as well as the procedures for copying the facts of the civil status, will last for a year and will remain in effect until 5th of July of the following year.

Until the adoption of this decision, the authorities in Pristina had only recognized the documents of the FRY issued by June 10th 1999, i.e. the Kumanovo Agreement.