In August 2015, Kosovo passed legislation that created a Specialist Prosecutor’s Office ("SPO") to investigate and prosecute grave trans-boundary and international crimes which occurred during and in the aftermath of the conflict in Kosovo in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
The law grants authority to the SPO to investigate and prosecute crimes committed in relation to the conduct identified in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Report Doc 12462 of 7 January 2011 (“the Marty Report”).
Together with the Specialist Chambers the Law makes it the task of the SPO to ensure secure, independent, impartial, fair and efficient criminal proceedings in the case of individuals who have been the subject of a criminal investigation conducted by the EU’s Special Investigative Task Force (“SITF”) since its creation in 2011.
It is the goal of the SP and SPO to help the Specialist Chambers achieve outcomes that are legitimate and are perceived as legitimate by those affected by them, particularly in Kosovo, in the region and internationally. Only in this fashion can the stigma of the events dealt with in the Council of Europe Report be removed as an impediment to Kosovo’s full integration into the international community.
The Law gives the SPO the authority to, inter alia, request the presence of and to question suspects, victims and witnesses, collect and examine information and evidence, and take decisions on the initiation, and the continuation or termination of criminal proceedings within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Specialist Chambers.
Independence is one of the fundamental and guiding principles of the SP and the SPO and is guaranteed by the Kosovo Law and by the constitutional amendment that made the Law possible. Kosovo Law demands that the SPO act independently from the Specialist Chambers and all other prosecutors in Kosovo. The Law instructs the SP and those working for him not to seek or receive instructions from any government or other source. The SP and the staff of the SPO take very seriously their role as guardians of the independence of the prosecutor.
The Kosovo Law – Law no.05/L-053 on the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office can be accessed here.