Justice in Kosovo
I chanced to read the article “Justice in Kosovo: Seeking a return to law and order,” by Johnathan S. Haub. I was in Kosovo for three years (February 2000-January 2003) as the first appointed international prosecutor. While I agreed with many of the points made and conclusions by Mr. Haub, I must correct some errors.
German Judges in Peja/Pec have served with international judges in Peja/Pec who were from Romania (male), Hungary (female), Austria (female), Poland (female), U.S. (female), U.K. (male), Uganda (male). No Bosnian, or other former Yugoslavian republic national, ever served as a judge from the beginning through today, in May 2003.
Testimony was translated into English only for international judges, all of whom spoke English. Perhaps he misunderstood the presence of an Albanian-Kosovar judge sitting on the majority-international panel? If any victim or attorney was Serbian, the Albanian testimony would also be translated into Serbian. Bosnian testimony would be translated into those languages, and questions into Bosnian, if a victim, witness or accused was Bosnian.
The prosecutor, Kamudoni Nyasulu, was from Malawi, and was educated in the common-law legal system there. He is the only African prosecutor we’ve had in Kosovo, although we have two African judges.
The murder case, with five judges (two professional and three lay judges), was based on the Kosovar criminal procedure. In cases where we believe there is need of an international majority (cases of war crimes, terrorism, inter-ethnic crime or organized crime), where the local judges do not yet have the capacity to withstand the community pressures, or threats, or give the appearance of impartiality, the SRSG (special representative of the secretary general, head of the U.N. mission) can create a “Regulation 64 (of 2000) Panel” with only three judges, all professional, of which two must be internationals. Most cases, however, are handled by the local judges and prosecutors.
I urge those interested in assisting in Kosovo to consider joining
up with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
or if they can consider leaving Oregon for only a short time, to contact
ABA/CEELI (Central and East European Law Initiative), which lists on
the web their temporary
positions. I started my international career (after 15 years as a prosecutor)
with an ABA/CEELI volunteer position in Bosnia.
Michael E. Hartmann
Senior Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace
Johnathan Haub replies: I welcome Mr. Hartmann’s further
report and stand corrected. My information was based on a meeting with the
Chief Judge of Peja/Pec, an Albanian Kosovar, who reported to me that there
was in fact, a Bosnian judge sitting on the panel. Incidentally, as presiding
judge, he had the only judicial robe in the courthouse.