The Assembly Committee secretly selects candidates for appointment as judges of the Constitutional Court

Pristina, August 24, 2021 – We, the organizations below, react to the lack of transparency in the case of the proposal of candidates for Constitutional Court Judges by the special Committee of the Assembly.

The special committee of the Assembly for the examination of candidates for appointment to the Constitutional Court, chaired by MP Adnan Rrustemi, has secretly developed the process for the selection of candidates for judges in the Constitutional Court.

Although in the initial steps of this process on July 22, 2021 (at the stage of preparing the test questions) members of the civil society had participated in the monitoring of the process, in the later stages (of testing and selection) the civil society was not informed about the meetings at all of the Commission, although some civil society organizations had submitted requests and expressions of interest to the officials of the Assembly and the chairman of the Commission. At the same time, the chairman of the Commission Mr. Rrustemi had informed those present at the initial meeting that they will be informed about the next meetings in time.

Such information never happened (despite all the requests made), while this Commission, eight days later, published on the website the news that it proceeded to the Assembly for the appointment of the short list of six candidates, where only two will eventually be appointed from the Assembly in the next sessions. This process took place without the participation of civil society — although the meetings of the Commission should be open and transparent in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly.

We as Civil Society Organizations in Kosovo see with concern the fact that this Commission ignores the involvement of civil society in such an important process as the selection of judges of the Constitutional Court. The Commission has neither sent invitations to participate in the Commission’s meetings, nor has it responded to expressions of interest in participation sent to its address. This did not happen in the preliminary process for examining candidates for Constitutional Court judges, where civil society had actively participated. Changing this practice is incomprehensible and has no legal basis. Moreover, this action of the Commission fundamentally affects the integrity of the process of selection of judges of the Constitutional Court, whose eventual selection would be described as non-transparent.

This is not the first time that the Commissions of the current legislature ignore the important participation of civil society in monitoring processes of public interest. In the organizations below, we see such trends as very disturbing and call for such to be considered by the entire political and social spectrum in Kosovo. Above all, the current legislature must be clear about the role and importance of civil society, creating the necessary conditions for the exercise of its mission.

Signatory organizations:

Kosovo Institute for Law (IKD)

The FOL movement

Group for Political and Legal Studies (GLPS)

Democratic Institute of Kosovo (KDI)

Kosovo Foundation for Civil Society (KCSF)