On 23 June, the Registrar of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC), Dr Fidelma Donlon, and the Specialist Prosecutor, Mr Jack Smith, met with participants in the Court Information Network (CIN), a group of 15 civil society organisations from Kosovo and Serbia.
The purpose of the meeting was to provide information on the separate and distinct mandates, responsibilities and work of the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office and the Registry of the KSC, and to receive feedback and recommendations from the NGOs on Outreach activities.
“Recognizing and understanding the expectations of people affected by our work is deeply important. I wish to be as transparent as possible within the legal, professional and ethical limits that apply to prosecutors and am therefore open to your suggestions for activities where my presence could make a positive difference,” the Specialist Prosecutor said.
The Registrar also briefed participants on the judicial services provided by the Registry and related developments in the proceedings, including developments related to COVID-19.
“The interest of the public in Kosovo and the region in the proceedings and in our activities is high. Since public proceedings began last September our website has had close to 100,000 visitors, of which some 96,000 were new visitors. Communicating clearly to the public about our work is of vital importance,” the Registrar said.
Recent opinion polling demonstrates that 59% of people in Kosovo consider themselves to be “somewhat” or “very” informed about the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. When it comes to opinions about the protection of witnesses, a large majority of respondents agreed that the institutions are ready to react quickly and robustly to protect witnesses.
Engaging people in Kosovo and the region in a dialogue through an active Outreach programme has been a priority of the KSC since its establishment. The Outreach team meets on a monthly basis with audiences all over Kosovo to explain developments in the proceedings, to hear people’s comments and concerns and to answer their questions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these Outreach activities have been temporarily moved online.
The KSC also produces informational videos for broadcast in Kosovo in Albanian, Serbian, and English on issues such as protective measures for witnesses, victims’ participation, the mandate of the KSC and the KSC Ombudsperson.
Since 2018, Outreach activities in Kosovo have been funded with the generous support of Switzerland.