As the EU Rule-of-Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX, enters the final month of its mandate, the Pristina authorities said they will allow another mission, but with a scaled-down monitoring and advisory role.
As EULEX’s ten-year mandate comes to an end in mid-June, Kosovo’s Ministry of Justice told BIRN that instead of shutting down completely, the Pristina authorities want the EU rule-of-law mission to change its mandate and designation and stay on.
The Ministry of Justice said it foresaw a “monitoring, mentoring and advisory role” for the redesignated EU mission.
“We are not yet focused on its designation, our focus has been in addressing the transition process from the current mandate to the support the Mission is going to provide to rule-of-law institutions in Kosovo. When the format of the support is decided… we will meet EU representatives to discuss the designation,” the Ministry of Justice said in a written answer.
“The future mission’s designation should reflect the competencies Mission will have. So a designation which describes a monitoring, mentoring and advisory role would be more adequate for the future mission,” it added.
The ministry also said that the future EU mission will support Kosovo’s rule-of-law institutions but “will not have executive competencies as has been the case so far”.
EULEX’s spokesperson told BIRN that the exact format and staff numbers for the redesignated mission are still being considered and “are subject to a decision by [EU] member states”.
“It is foreseen that there will be no more EULEX judges and prosecutors in the Kosovo judicial system after the 14th of June when the current mandate expires,” EULEX spokesperson Dragana Nikolic Solomon told BIRN.
“It is also foreseen that the Mission will keep some monitoring activities, especially with regard to the judicial files already in the process of being transferred to the local judiciary,” Nikolic Solomon added.
EULEX has been operational in Kosovo since the end of 2008, after Pristina declared independence.
Around 2,500 officials, including police, judges, prosecutors and customs officers inherited the work that had been carried out since the end of the war by the UN Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK.
EULEX has mainly been focused on providing support to Kosovo’s institutions at the strategic level, but was also directly involved in important and sensitive cases, especially those related to organised crime, offences that involve officials, and war crimes.
It inherited 1,200 war crimes cases from UNMIK, but due to lack of evidence, it shut down or rejected 500 of them. It also initiated 98 new war crime investigations and has secured 38 verdicts.
European prosecutors were also involved in different stages of the proceedings in over 1,300 cases, including more than 200 cases of war crimes, terrorism and corruption, as well as more than 140 organised crime cases.
EULEX managed to secure convictions in 12 corruption-related cases and 12 cases of organised crime.