On 9 December 2020, the Panel of the Court of Appeals Chamber of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers delivered its first interlocutory appeal decision regarding an appeal filed by Hysni Gucati against the Single Judge’s decisions in relation to the legality of his arrest and application for bail. In this first decision, the Court of Appeals Panel determined the standard of review to be applied to interlocutory appeals and the formal requirements to be respected on appeal.

Applying this standard of review, the Court of Appeals Panel rejected Gucati’s appeal in its entirety. Although the Panel found that the arrest warrant was incorrectly based on Article 39(3) of the Law that pertains to the powers of the Pre-Trial Judge acting upon the filing of an indictment, for the reasons developed in the decision, it considered nevertheless that the Specialist Chambers’ legal framework confirms that the Single Judge had the power to issue an arrest warrant before the filing of an indictment.

The Court of Appeals Panel further found that provisional release decisions are discretionary and that the Single Judge did not abuse his discretion in addressing the conditions proposed by Mr. Gucati in support of his application for bail. The Panel was of the view that Gucati failed to demonstrate that the Single Judge committed a discernible error in his assessment as to whether Gucati’s detention is necessary under Article 41(6) of the Law.

The Court of Appeals Panel underscored the importance of the principle of proportionality in the context of pre-trial detention but found that Gucati’s detention is still proportional at this early stage of the proceedings.

Specialist Chambers