Justice System Strengthening Program

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JUSTICE SYSTEM STRENGTHENING PROGRAM
Court Satisfactory Citizens Survey Report
USAID Justice System Strengthening Program [ DPI Millennium]

USAID’s Justice System Strengthening Program, a five-year rule of law activity that focuses on promoting a judicial system that adheres to high standards of independence, impartiality, integrity, accountability, and transparency, and on supporting the functioning and integration of judicial structures in the north.

Strengthen efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of justice and the delivery of quality services

USAID, through the Justice System Strengthening Program assists the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) and Kosovo’s courts in consolidating gains in efficiency and management at the court level. This is accomplished by facilitating by building the capacity of the KJC, its committees, and the Secretariat and institutionalizing tools for effectove court and actove case management. Activities under this objective reduce case backlog and procedural obstacles to court efficiency and effectiveness, and enhance the efectiveness of the KJC in fulfilling its mandate. 

Enhance the accountability and professionalism of the justice system

The program works closely with the KJC, judges, and court staff in building capacity to deliver justice professionally and efficiently. It also promotes continuing education and public integrity initiatives as the foundation for a judiciary that is accessible, credible, and effective. 

Support the functioning and the integration of judicial structures in the North

USAID Justice System Strengthening Program supports the KJC and the courts in functionalizing judicial structures in northern Kosovo based on the Justice Sector Agreement signed between the governments of Kosovo and Serbia in 2015.  USAID's activity assisted courts in the north with case inventories and transfers, backlog reduction, case management, and capacity- building for judges and court staff.  

KEY RESULTS

  • Kosovo Basic Courts, supported by USAID, have resolved 34,447 backlogged cases through backlog reduction strategies, a 84.77% reduction in the 39,458 case backlog as it existed on December 31, 2015 
  • Case clearance rate in Basic Courts increased from 83% (December 2015) to 127% ( March 2020) as a result of USAIDs activity. This means that the number of resolved cases is greater than the number of filed cases, while the total inventory of cases dropped, from 408,803 at the end of 2015 to 117,871 in March 2020.
  • As a results of transparency tools developed by USAID, the number of published court decisions increased from 87 as of October 2016, to over 31,700 as of August 2020. The KJC website's judgement database has become one of the largest public databases of institutional decisions in Kosovo. 
  • Functionalized Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) for judges. All judges are required to attend continuous mandatory training annually.
  • Restructured the KJC to enhance its operational capacity, by increasing the number of permanent members. As a result, KJC effectiveness and performance has significantly improved.
  • Helped build an inclusive, participatory and transparent policy development process for KJC’s, resulting with better quality regulations. JSSP drafted 45 legislative and regulatory acts, designed to promote court efficiency, transparency, accountability, integrity, and judicial independence.
  • Redesigned the judiciary’s website to enhance its functionality. The website introduces innovative tools to improve citizen’s access to information and increased judicial transparency and accountability towards citizens.
  • Surveyed court users to gauge their satisfaction with court efficiency, transparency and integrity. The results show increased satisfaction with court services by court users. In 2019, 86% of respondents indicated that they were treated fairly and equally by courts compared to just 60% from court user surveys conducted in 2017.
  • Functionalized newly integrated courts in northern Kosovo by furnishing and rehabilitating courthouses, training court staff, and providing orientation packages for newly integrated judges, including rules and regulations governing the judiciary.
  • Established a Translation Unit at the Mitrovica Basic Court in 2020 to manage and organize the workload of the translation unit in Mitrovica. And developed systems to manage and prioritize the translation of court documents. 
  • Increased citizens trust in the Kosovo judiciary. The first year following integrations, the Basic Court of Mitrovica and its Zubin Potok and Leposavic branches received a total of 478 civil claims, whereas this number increased to 1530 civil claims. 

 

Project Duration:    November 2015-November 2020    

Partner:                       Millennium DPI Partners L.L.C. 

Contact:                      Flaka Xhelili - Zekaj

Last updated: September 21, 2020

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