Publication of judgments on the courts’ websites is a step ahead toward access to information, increasing awareness and public trust in the judicial systems in Kosovo. FOL Movement and BIRN Kosovo are the two leading local organizations that are monitoring this process to ensure compliance with Law on Courts.
Based on the amendment of the 2016 Law on Courts, all courts were required to publish all the final judgments. Publication in this form will continue until the KJC amends/supplements the Administrative Instruction on the Publication of Judgments in accordance with the new Law on Courts (2018), which obliges the judiciary to publish all the judgments.
In order to see if the courts are implementing the law, BIRN and FOL have monitored the publication of judgments from January 1, 2016, to May 31, 2019. The primary purpose of the monitoring is to inform citizens about the progress and the achievements in this regard. By May 31, 2019, the courts have published a total of 10,822 judgments. It is worth noting that while in 2016 the number of published judgments was 632, in 2018 this number had a significant increase, where courts published 5,418 judgments.
The above-mentioned data indicates that since 2016 there has been a rising trend and higher willingness by courts to publish the judgments. Moreover, a data comparison across the court departments demonstrates that criminal departments of all the courts are publishing more judgments compared to civil, administrative, and commercial departments.
All the aforementioned number of judgments can be found on the webpage of the Kosovo Judicial Council (www.gjyqesori-rks.org). These data can serve to the students and researchers of law, and beyond, for in-depth research and thorough analysis.
USAID Justice System Strengthening Program is supporting BIRN and FOL to monitor the publication of judgments by Kosovo’s basic courts (including their branches), the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Chart 1: Comparison of judgments published by basic courts
The above infographic shows that the basic courts, including their branches, have published a total of 8,619 judgments by May 31, 2019. The presented data allows us to make a comparison between the basic courts of Kosovo, whereby we note that the Basic Court of Pristina leads in terms of published judgments, followed by the basic courts of Prizren and that of Ferizaj/Uroševac.
On the other hand, the Basic Court of Pejë/Peć has published the smallest number of judgments.
Chart 2: Judgments published by Pristina Court
At the basic courts level, Pristina Court is the first court with the highest number of published judgments. The court has published a total of 1,559 criminal judgments, 275 civil judgments, 133 administrative judgments, and 71 commercial judgments. On the other hand, from among the branch courts, the Lipjan /Lipljan branch has published 49 judgments, Podujevë/Podujevo branch 17, Gllogoc/Glogovac 7, and Graçanica/Gračanica have not published any judgment.
Chart 3: Judgments published by Prizren Court
At the level of basic courts, Prizren Court is the second court with the largest number of judgments published. In this court, it is the Criminal Department that deserves the credit for having published the highest number of judgments. This department has published 1,410 judgments. On the other hand, the Dragash/Dragaš branch has published 3 judgments in total for the abovementioned period, while Suharekë/Suva Reka Court has not published any judgment.
Chart 4: Judgments published by Ferizaj/Uroševac Court
The Ferizaj/Uroševac Court is the third court with the largest number of judgments published at the basic courts level. In this court, the highest number of judgments was published by the Criminal Department, with 1,094 out of a total of 1,559 judgments. Among the branches, the Kaçanik/Kačanik branch leads with 72 published judgments, and the Shtërpcë/Štrpce branch with 57.
Chart 5: Judgments published by Gjakovë/Đakovica Court
The Gjakovë/Đakovica Court is the fourth court with the highest number of published judgments at the level of basic courts. The most meritorious for the high number of published judgments is the Criminal Department with 723 out of a total of 1,020 published judgments. It is worth noting that the Rahovec/Orahovac branch has published 178 judgments, and the Malishevë/Mališevo branch has published 142. Because of these two branches, the Basic Court of Gjakovë/Đakovica is ranked the fourth by the number of published judgments.
Chart 6: Judgments published by Gjilan/Gnjilane Court
The fifth in the list of courts by the number of published judgments is the Gjilan/Gnjilane Court. 951 judgments have been published in this court, and the most praiseworthy in this regard is the Criminal Department with 821 published judgments. Among the branches of this court, Viti/Vitina has published 107 judgments, Novobërdë/Novo Brdo 43, and Kamenicë/Kamenica 31 judgments.
Chart 7: Judgments published by Mitrovicë/a Court
Mitrovicë/a Court is ranked third by the number of published judgments. In this court, the Criminal Department leads with 398 out of 733 judgments. The Skënderaj/Srbica branch leads with 53 judgments, Vushtrri/Vucitrn with 3, whereas Leposaviq/Leposavić and Zubin Potok branches did not publish any judgments.
Chart 8: Judgments published by Pejë/Peć
The Pejë/Peć is the court with the smallest number of published judgments. Over the years, this court has only published 408 judgments, where most of them were published by the Criminal Department. On the other hand, it is worth noting that the branches of this court (Klinë/Klina, Istog/Istok and Deçan/Dečani) did not publish any judgments.
It is important to mention that we do not have official information about the number of final judgments that the courts have issued over the years, which would give us a clear idea about judgment publication results and help us check the number of judgments published compared to the number that should have been published.
Chart 9: Judgments published by the Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals has marked continuous progress in increasing the number of published judgments over the years. From 2016 to May 31, 2019, the court has published a total of 1,580 judgments, 921 of which were published by the Criminal Department. The Mitrovicë/Mitrovica Division of Appeals has published 6 judgments in total.
Chart 10: Judgments published by the Supreme Court
In the Supreme Court, the Civil Department leads in terms of the number of judgments published from among the total of 623. The infographic data indicates that the Department has published 303 judgments over the years. On the other hand, the Special Chamber has published 22 judgments.
Explanation: In monitoring the number of judgments published, we have noticed that 11,059 judgments appear on the Kosovo Judicial Council webpage or 237 judgments more than in the charts shown above, with a total of 10,822 published judgments. This difference in numbers is noticed particularly in the Supreme Court, where the difference amounts to 190 judgments, in the Basic Court of Pristina the difference is 20 judgments, in the Court of Appeals 15, in the Basic Court of Ferizaj/Uroševac 7, in the Basic Court of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica 3 and in those of Gjakovë/Đakovica and Prizren one judgment respectively. Such a discrepancy in numbers in the aforementioned courts appears in 2017 mainly.
*Disclaimer: This article is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this article is the sole responsibility of FOL Movement and BIRN Kosova and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.