Political parties in Kosovo have successfully established a culture of impunity, promoted to such an extent that people accused of corruption and serious crimes are considered the standard of governance – reads one of the conclusions of the Kosovo Law Institute report on the level of criminalization of political parties in Kosovo presented on December 26th. The report, entitled „Criminalized Politics“, addresses indictments and convictions of politicians in Kosovo and covers a twelve-year period – from Kosovo’s self-declared independence to May 31, 2020.
During this period, 298 indictments were filed against 216 politicians, 210 of which were filed while they held official positions.
Most of the accused belong to PDK, followed by LDK
The highest number of politicians against whom an indictment has been filed comes from the opposition PDK party. A total of 89 indictments were filed against 67 members of this party.
LDK took second place as 37 members from this party were included in 48 indictments, followed by Ramush Haradinaj’s AAK with 32 indictments and 22 accused members.
Also, a total of 26 indictments were filed against 19 NISMA members, as well as three indictments against three AKR officials.
Twenty-six indictments were filed against 19 members of the Self-Determination and 17 against 10 members of the PSD.
A total of 47 indictments were filed against 32 politicians belonging to smaller parties from the Albanian and minority communities and 10 indictments against seven persons from unidentified parties.
Indictments filed against 22 Serb politicians
Among the accused politicians, there are more men than women. Out of 298 indictments, 267 were filed against 193 male politicians, and 31 against 23 female politicians.
When it comes to ethnicity, indictments were filed against 186 Albanian politicians, 22 Serbs, four Bosniaks, two from the Ashkali community, and one Gorani and one Turk.
Of the total number of indictments filed, 189 were filed against officials or former officials from local government, and 109 against officials from the central government.
Senior civil servants were indicted in 55 cases, none of whom were sentenced to prison, the report said.
The 298 indictments comprised of 351 crimes, and 204 crimes related to corruption.
Only nine prison sentences were handed down
Between 2008 and the end of May this year, the courts reached final decisions on 204 cases, 174 of which were final judgments, and 31 were first instance verdicts.
Out of the total number of final judgments, as many as 111 indictments were rejected, i.e. 63.79%, while convictions were confirmed in only 60 cases, i.e. 34.48%. Only 9 prison sentences were passed.
Resignation as a moral act and a standard of good governance after an indictment is issued is just an exception in Kosovo, the report added.
„Out of 298 defendants, only eight politicians resigned, while in another eight cases, politicians distanced themselves from their superiors after indictments were filed against them.“
Miftaraj: A culture of impunity, as a result of the politicization of the justice system
While presenting the report, the Kosovo Law Institute executive director, Ehat Miftaraj said that political parties in Kosovo had „successfully installed a culture of impunity, promoted to such an extent that people accused of corruption and serious crime are considered a ‘standard’ of governance.”
He added that efforts are being made to create the perception in npublic that such behavior is acceptable and that it corresponds to the moral and ethical norms of a society.
According to Miftaraj, the culture of impunity, as a result of the politicization of the judicial system, is manifested in the form of amnesty and persecution of certain officials, as well as the non-investigation against officials even when there is a reasonable suspicion that a certain crime was committed.
The negative sides of this trend is the lack of filing of indictments, unsustainable, unprofessional, or a lenient penal policy of the courts when it comes to politicians, Miftaraj said.
He noted that the report reveals the reality of the coexistence of politics and the judiciary, as well as that laws are not applied equally to everyone, and that politicians apply „systematic persecution of the judicial system.“
„Politics rewarded judges and prosecutors with super-high salaries and fees of up to 40,000 euros a year, and justice returned the favor to politics by promoting a culture of impunity,“ he concluded.
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