The government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti in Kosovo plans to proceed with the vetting of all the country’s judges and prosecutors despite the European Union’s objections.
In an interview for Euronews Albania, Kosovo Minister of Justice Albulena Haxhiu confirmed that Kurti’s government considers justice reform indispensable.
A first proposal for judicial vetting was presented to Prime Minister Kurti in September last year, foreseeing the establishment of new institutions and panels to vet people in the judiciary.
In October, however, the European Union has discouraged Kosovo and North Macedonia from pursuing similar reforms in their justice systems as the one it has supported and continues to support in Albania.
Following a panel on justice reform held in Tirana, the ministers of justice of both countries said European officials had opposed their plans to vet all judges and prosecutors using the format used in Albania. EU officials had claimed that such reforms may lead to too many dismissals and to dysfunctional courts and prosecution offices, as was the case in Albania where, for over two years, the highest courts were practically nonexistent.
At the time, Haxhiu highlighted the “alarming ratio” of dismissals in Albania, but noted that Kosovo has taken the necessary lessons from reform faults in Albania.
Kosovo’s justice institutions are also against the government’s decision to vet judges and prosecutors. In November, the Kosovo Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils boycotted the joint meeting with the government to draft legislation on the matter.
Despite backlash from justice institutions and the EU skepticism, the Kurti and his government have reiterated they will advance the reform and present it to parliament, with the aim to clean the system from corrupt judges and prosecutors and improve administration of justice.