DEFENCE

The Rights of Suspects and Accused

A robust defence is essential to ensure a fair trial. The Law of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office guarantees the protection of the rights and freedoms of suspects and accused. These rights include, amongst others, the right to defend oneself through Specialist Counsel of one’s own choosing and the right to have a lawyer assigned if one does not have sufficient means to pay for Counsel (“legal aid”).

Representation by Counsel

Representation of suspects or accused is mandatory in each of the following circumstances: during any hearing on detention on remand; when the suspect or accused is in detention on remand; upon the filing of an indictment if charges relate to a crime punishable by imprisonment of at least ten years; and whenever an accused seeks to enter into an agreement to plead guilty to a crime punishable by imprisonment of one year or more.

Counsel for Suspects or Accused

In order to be able to represent a suspect or an accused, a lawyer has to meet the requirements set out in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and in the Directive on Counsel.

Where the suspect or accused has sufficient means to pay for his or her Counsel, the Registrar appoints chosen Counsel. Where the suspect or accused does not have sufficient means, the Registrar assigns Counsel. The details relevant to assignment are regulated in the Legal Aid Regulations, which will be published on the website in due course.

List of Counsel

In order to be admitted to the List of Counsel, a lawyer needs to meet the requirements set out in Section 5 of the Directive on Counsel, which entered into force on 6 November 2017 . The process for admission to the List of Counsel is set out in Sections 6 and 7 of the Directive.

A lawyer applying to the List of Counsel may indicate whether he or she is available on short notice to be assigned as Duty Counsel. The Defence Office will maintain a List of Duty Counsel for that purpose.

The Application Form for the List of Counsel is accessible HERE.

A Guide for Applicants to the List of Counsel is accessible HERE.

All queries relating to the application procedure for admission to the List of Counsel and the work of the Defence Office can be sent to the following e-mail address: defenceoffice@scp-ks.org.