Kosovo Prefers EULEX Judges To UNMIK

default30Two months into the mandate of the European Union police and justice mission, officials and legal professionals in Kosovo say they find the EULEX-operated courts stricter, more procedural, but also more professional and effective compared to the judicial authorities run by the United Nations mission .

The United Nations mission had been administering courts in Kosovo since the end of the 1998-99 conflict and up until the deployment of EULEX in December. Kosovars were not sad to see them go, as their reputation was one of ignorance, arrogance, incompetence and unprofessional ism.

Osman Kryeziu, chief prosecutor in Pristina’s District Court said the atmosphere had drastically changed now that it was EULEX judges on the job.

“There are great differences from the previous judiciary,” Kryeziu said. “There’s less bureaucracy, more cooperation and commitment to work. EULEX judges have a completely different working culture”.

Anton Nokaj, head of Pristina’s District Court, said that at the beginning EULEX was being very willing to work with a large number of issues left behind from UNMIK.

“EULEX is proving to be more effective, especially quantitatively,” he said.

Azem Vllasi, a lawyer in Pristina who has worked in all three judiciary systems, the local, UNMIK, and EULEX, said the later is already proving more efficient and more serious.

“My experience shows there are essential differences. There is more professionalism and greater obedience to the law and regulations”, said Vllasi.

According to UNMIK officials, around 280 people, mostly handling criminal cases, have been transferred from the UN judiciary to its EU counterpart .

“Local staff will take up a small portion of these issues”, said Kristina Herodes, EULEX judicial spokeswoman.

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