By Muhamet Brajshori
Reactions have not waned following the release of Transparency International’s report released at the end of June, which stated that Kosovo lacks political will to fight corruption.
The report — Comparative Indicator-based Monitoring of Anti-corruption Progress Initiative (CIMAP) — is based on EU governance and anti-corruption membership requirements for Albania, Macedonia, Turkey, and Kosovo.
“Ensuring that anti-corruption reforms are implemented and irreversible is essential to provide for a credible accession process and uniform approach to corruption across Europe,” Transparency International Liaison Office to the EU head Jana Mittermaier said.
The report does not offer exact data on the corruption level in Kosovo due to the difficulty of collecting data on corruption. The main indicators used include the perception of corruptive practices and the frequency courts deal with corruption cases.
“In Kosovo there are strong perceptions that corruption is widespread,” Balkan Policy Institute Executive Director Seb Bytyci told SETimes.
Bytici explained there are very few corruption cases in Kosovo’s courts. “This is very worrying, especially when considering the presence of great perception of corruption,” he said.
Kosovo Supreme Court head Fejzullah Hasani is concerned about the scant efforts made in fighting organized crime and corruption, the results of which are not satisfactory.
“Countries in the region are a step ahead because they have issued special laws to combat organized crime and corruption,” Hassani said. He suggests it is essential for Kosovo to adopt the appropriate legislation to be able to move forward.
EULEX could also play an important role in fighting corruption, but it says that responsibility falls on Kosovo’s local institutions which need to play a more active role, as well as on civil society and the media.
EULEX and local judges have issued 27 corruption-case judgements thus far.
The mission, together with the Kosovo authorities, continue to investigate and pursue cases in the courts whenever there is sufficient evidence to do so, EULEX spokesperson Blerim Krasniqi told SETimes.
“Keep in mind that EULEX is not the only institution in Kosovo dealing with corruption cases. The mission deals with high profile cases while the local institutions deal with the other cases,” Krasniqi said.
Kosovo’s civil society, however, is critical of EULEX’s contribution, especially with cases linked to higher levels where local police and judges are not able to do their job independently.
“EULEX has a clear mandate to fight corruption in Kosovo. Unfortunately, for a period of three years, EULEX has done little. The number of corruption cases handled by EULEX is very small. It has also failed to keep promises that it will pursue the ‘big fish’ cases,” Bytyci told SETimes.
While the Kosovo government has been criticized for its inactivity despite recently passed legislative measures, the judicial system remains too weak and not sufficiently independent to do much.
“Apart from some anti-corruption legislative reforms, in the judiciary there are not any significant concrete actions. Legal reforms are insufficient, because an anti-mafia law has still not been adopted, and the reforms in the judicial system have not showed successes,” Bytyci said.