Following the second Judgment of the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court, President Ekaterina Trendafilova delivered the following statement today:
"Today is an important day for the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office. The Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court determined, in a decision delivered by the Presiding Judge, that the Rules of Procedure and Evidence comply with the Kosovo Constitution and international human rights standards.
This decision is important for our institution in many respects.
First, the decision of the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court guarantees that the Rules embrace the highest standards of human rights. Second, with the adoption of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Specialist Chambers also ensure a robust system for the protection of individuals who may be at risk on account of their participation in the proceedings before the Specialist Chambers. Lastly, after the entry into force of the Rules within seven days as of today, there will be no legal impediment to receive any filing or indictment from the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office.
The decision rendered today is the latest of a number of steps taken in less than six months, leading up to where we stand now, which I will briefly summarize.
I assumed my duties as President of the Specialist Chambers on 12 January 2017 and immediately engaged with the preparation of a set of legal documents to be considered and adopted by the Judges in Plenary.
On 7 February 2017, following a comprehensive vetting process of the competencies and experience of each candidate, Judges were selected and placed on the Roster of International Judges, as the Law on the Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office requires.
In less than five weeks and after an extraordinary and coordinated effort and exchange of views amongst Judges, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers held a Plenary of only four days in which efficiently and expeditiously the package of three legal documents was discussed and adopted, on 17 March 2017, namely the Rules on Assignment of Judges to specific proceedings, the Code of Judicial Ethics, setting the ethical standards and disciplinary procedure for Judges in cases of misconduct, and lastly the RPE .
The Rules on Assignment of Judges to specific proceedings and the Code of Judicial Ethics, immediately entered into force. The Rules of Procedure and Evidence were referred for a review by the end of March to the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court, as Article 19(5) of the Law dictates.
The Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court issued its first judgment on 26 April 2017, determining that only nine out of 208 Rules were not fully compliant with the Kosovo Constitution.
I promptly convened a second Plenary of Judges to consider and eventually adopt a draft of the revised Rules. The Plenary was held remotely and the adopted Rules were referred again to the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court on 31 May 2017.
Today, 28 June, the Judges of the Specialist Chamber of the Constitutional Court issued their decision, whereby they found that Rules 19, 30 to 39, 41, 57, 137 and 161 are not inconsistent with the Kosovo Constitution. As a result, the entirety of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence as adopted and amended by the Plenary of Judges, comply with Chapter II of the Kosovo Constitution. With the entry into force of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence our institution is fully judicially operational and ready to start proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Specialist Chambers are preparing the adoption of numerous internal legal documents, which will enhance the efficiency of our institution.
In conclusion, I want to thank all Judges of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers for their outstanding commitment, efforts and professionalism during the past months, in drafting, amending, reviewing and confirming the normative documents vital for our institution. Now, we, the Judges of the Specialist Chambers, are ready to perform our judicial duties independently, impartially and conscientiously as our solemn declaration requires."