Country Reports

Short political reports of the KAS offices abroad

Estonian Foreign Ministry / flickr / CC BY 2.0 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Unstable Political Situation in Kosovo

The Kosovo Special Tribunal Confirms the Most Important Charges

On 5 November, Hashim Thaçi, President of the Republic of Kosovo and former political leader of the UÇK (Kosovo Liberation Army), resigned from office as State President following confirmation of his indictment by the Kosovo Special Tribunal in the Hague. During a press conference, Thaçi explained that he would step down as President to safeguard the integrity of Kosovo and would present himself to the Hague. A few hours earlier, Kadri Veseli, Leader of the PDK (Democratic Party of Kosovo, third strongest party in the 2019 elections), former President of the Parliament and Chief of the Kosovo Secret Service during the war, declared that the indictment against him had also been confirmed in the Hague, and that he would voluntarily present himself to the Special Tribunal.

Denis Simonet / flickr / CC BY 2.0

Camelia Bogdan v. Romania: a case of arbitrary suspension of a judge

European Court of Human Rights: Romanian judge Camelia Bogdan, who was suspended from the judicial service in her home country, had no legal remedy

The case "Camelia Bogdan v. Romania", involving a Romanian judge, represents a further stage in the litigations of representatives of the Romanian judiciary before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The case is to be viewed in the context of the disputes between the Romanian judiciary and the Social Democrat-led coalition in power until 2019. Camelia Bogdan (the applicant) was temporarily suspended from her office for questionable reasons without being able to effectively challenge the relevant decision. This is illegal according to a decision of the ECtHR of October 2020. Her right to a fair trial (Article 6 (1) ECHR) was infringed.

wikimedia/Pudelek/CC BY-SA 4.0

Controversial NGO law passed in the Republic of Moldova

Support of political parties is crucial

On June 11, 2020, the Moldovan parliament passed the new “Law on Non-Governmental Organizations” (NGO law). It quickly became a bone of contention within the government led by the Socialist Party (PSRM). A reform of this law was mentioned as a prerequisite for further macro-financial assistance by the EU. The main innovations concern rules for the support of political parties provided by NGOs. Close to a month after its adoption, the official legal text is still not available, however key elements are known and are briefly presented below.

AGERPRES / Wikimedia / CC BY 3.0

The case of KÖVESI v. ROMANIA

The European Court of Human Rights rules: Kövesi's dismissal as head of the Romanian anti-corruption agency was illegal

The current head of the newly created European Public Prosecutor's Office, Laura Codruța Kövesi, comes from Romania. There, she served as Attorney General for six years and heades the Romanian Anti-Corruption Agency (DNA) from 2013, until she was released in July 2018 in a controversial case and after a decision by the Romanian Constitutional Court. Kövesi appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg against this dismissal. On May 5, 2020, the ECtHR ruled that her release has run against the standards of the European “Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” (ECHR). In this (particularly in Romania) highly anticipated decision, the Court found that the Romanian state's dismissal of Ms Kövesi had violated her rights to freedom of expression and fair trial as laid down in Article 10 and Article 6 ECHR.

Jennifer Boyer/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Curfew unconstitutional

Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina (more precisely, its entity “Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina” which covers slightly more than half of the country, including its capital Sarajevo) at the beginning of the corona pandemic has imposed one of the strictest curfews in Europe for two groups: minors and elderly people above 65. This curfew has now been subject of a decision by the Bosnian Constitutional Court. The court did not completely annul the measure, but ordered a revision. The imposed curfew is considered to not meet the required proportionality. It is one of the first Constitutional Court decisions on the legality of emergency measures imposed during the Corona crisis. Other Constitutional Courts in South East European countries are also expected to take decisions soon.

pixabay

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Publication of the ''Priebe'' Report

A critical review of the report on the situation regarding rule of law in the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The so-called ''Priebe'' Report, which had been eagerly expected by both the public at large and the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was published on December 05, 2019 in Brussels. The report was compiled by several EU experts under the leadership of Reinhard Priebe (a German lawyer and a long-time employee of the EU Commission) ''in relation to rule of law issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina''. As expected, the report is critical, but it lacks concrete recommendations for action or reform steps.

EU-Commission on the progress and regress of Bulgaria and Romania in the Justice sector

Annual Cooperation and Verification Mechanism

Since the EU accession of Bulgaria and Romania on 1.1.2007, the European Commission reports to the European Parliament and the Council at least annually with regard to the progress registered by both countries within the scope of the cooperation and verification mechanism. This mechanism was introduced 2006 by the Commission, due to the fact that, despite the progress reached in the consolidation of the rule of law, both countries still had deficits in this field. Solving these deficits ought to be both encouraged and verified. For this purpose, the countries had "Benchmarks" imposed.

An alarming law in Bulgaria

Thorsten Geissler, Head of the KAS RLPSEE, released a national report on the newly adopted Law on the State Agency for National Security of Bulgaria. For more details, read the report hereby (in Bulgarian).

REPORT: The old and new Romanian Superior Council of Magistracy

On November 1st, 2010, the Romanian Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) changed its composition. The judges and prosecutors from all over Romania elected their new representatives in the body constitutionally designed to protect the independence of the judiciary. The Rule of Law Program South East Europe of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung tried to follow the latest developments of the most important institution in the process of reforming the Romanian justice system. Enclosed you can find our latest report in English.

Report on the Current Status of Bulgaria and Romania's Judicial System

New positive developments and need for further reforms in the judicial systems of Bulgaria and Romania

Here you can access the newest report of the Rule of Law Program South East Europe on the new developments, the progresses but also the need for future reform in the judicial systems of Bulgaria and Romania. Report is available only in German.