Kosovo Successfully Holds Its First Online Court Hearing

Speeches Shim

Monday, August 10, 2020
Judge Mirlinda Rexhepi preparing for the online session
USAIDs Justice System Strengthening Program (DPI Millenium)

Kosovo courts made history on July 6, 2020, when Kosovo’s first-ever virtual court hearing took place in the Basic Court of Ferizaj.  Civil Judge Mirlinda Rexhepi presided over the country’s first online hearing using video conferencing technology.  “Online court hearings are welcome, especially during this pandemic.  They are easy and efficient and enable us to resolve cases and deliver justice without delay,” stated Judge Mirlinda Rexhepi.  Since then two more online court hearings have taken place in the Basic Courts of Ferizaj and Gjakova.  The courts successfully concluded two of the three civil cases heard so far.

Due to the complicated situation created from the global pandemic, Kosovo courts face challenges with effectively responding to citizens’ need for justice while also protecting public health.  The accelerated rate of new infections in Kosovo has made this even more difficult.  Catalyzed by the worsening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help guide the work of the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC) during this and future emergencies, USAID’s Justice System Strengthening Program facilitated the drafting of an Emergency Preparedness Plan.  As part of the implementation of this plan, Kosovo courts have both begun holding online court hearings and using alternative facilities that allow for sufficient social distancing to accommodate the involved parties.

USAID directly supported the KJC by outlining the steps necessary to create appropriate conditions for courts to hold online hearings.  While courts continue to struggle with a shortage of laptops, tech skills and other technical challenges, USAID continues to work with the KJC and courts to identify and overcome any shortcomings in the process, thus strengthening responsiveness to justice needs.

Last updated: July 26, 2021

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