EULEX: Urgent opening of court in Kosovska Mitrovica needed

‘There is urgent need for renewal of the rule of law in the north of Kosovo'. Irina Gudeljevic, the EULEX spokeswoman said. She claims that there are ongoing talks over return of local judges and prosecutors into Mitrovica's District Court. Official Belgrade is denying this claim and insisting that a solution cannot be enforced but reached through an agreement.

(KosovoCompromise Staff) Monday, August 02, 2010

The EULEX claims to be very intensively working on preparation of necessary infrastructure to move forward the process of return of judges. Continuation of negotiations with Belgrade over setting up of the court has been announced as well.

‘In the District and Municipal Court in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, in the prosecutor's office there are about 12,000 unsolved criminal and civil cases and in the judges' office about 6,150. Further delays of court processes cause huge piling of cases what is a serious violation of human rights and denial of the right to justice for all citizens', Gudeljevic claims and repeats that the stance of the EULEX Chief is that Kosovo is a unique judicial area.

Serbian State Secretary for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanovic says that the judicial system in the north can be under the UNMIK exclusively because neither Serbia nor the Serbs shall ever agree to any other judicial system. Ivanovic thinks that in such a situation ‘strong statements over urgent necessity for opening of a court actually delay its opening'.

Until today several EULEX judges and prosecutors are in the court working with the help of administration on bringing in order about 18,000 documents of unsolved cases in that court.

The court in Kosovska Mitrovica is out of work since March 19 of 2008 when the Serbs protesting against unilaterally proclaimed Kosovo independence and raid by the international police into the court building left the Kosovo judicial system.

‘The court, the number of judges and other staff should reflect the national content of population in the north of Kosovo. This does not refer to the municipal, but a higher court as well. It is also necessary to precisely define the jurisdiction of courts. I think that the existing limits of their competencies cannot and shall not remain and without agreement on these issues there shall be no opening of courts', Ivanovic says.