Protection Measures Help Combat Domestic Violence in Kosovo
Monday, July 30, 2007 10:57 AM

Shortcomings in implementing the legal framework on domestic violence are troubling, especially when the health and safety of the protected party is jeopardized, concludes a new report of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo issued today.

Domestic violence is not a new issue to Kosovo, but it is being reported with more frequency, and victims are filing more cases with the justice system. Despite positive developments in law and policies, courts are failing to properly implement the Domestic Violence Regulation.

"Although the Domestic Violence Regulation sends a clear message of non-tolerance of domestic violence, only its effective implementation can reduce the problem and provide victims with a variety of protection measures," said Henry McGowen, acting Head of the OSCE Mission.

The report addresses concerns such as unlawful delays in scheduling hearings and deciding on requests for protection orders, insufficient reasoning in domestic violence cases which affect the right to a fair trial, and the failure to automatically prosecute certain criminal offences of domestic violence that occur.

In view of these concerns, a number of recommendations offered by the OSCE Mission address not only the courts and administrative authorities, but also the lawmaker.

First, the report suggests that judges should meet the legally established deadlines when deciding on requests for protection orders, and issue clear, reasoned decisions in cases of domestic violence.

Second, a role is seen for the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare in Kosovo's Provisional Institutions of Self-Government to ensure that the Centres for Social Work respond to domestic violence cases. The Kosovo Judicial Institute should provide training courses for judges and prosecutors on the relevant laws applicable in such cases.

"These challenges, which appear when establishing a functioning legal and protection system as a fundamental part of developing Kosovo's justice system, are not unsurpassable," added McGowen.

The report encourages relevant authorities to use the recommendations to take necessary steps to correct the current use of the domestic violence regulation by the judicial system in Kosovo.

To view the full report, please click here.

Published in: Protection measures help combat domestic violence in Kosovo, OSCE Mission says, Press Release, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, 26 July 2007.