Story by Nic Corbett, USAID | Photos and video by Sebastian Lindstrom and Philippa Young for USAID
Afërdita applied to become court president in an open competition with five male judges. She scored the highest in her interview. Although some people supported Afërdita, others said the job was too big for a woman to handle. “People thought that I could not successfully manage the Basic Court of Pristina [because of my gender], but I've proven them wrong,” she says.
About This Story
USAID’s Justice System Strengthening Program is strengthening justice and the rule of law in Kosovo by improving the judiciary’s efficiency, accountability, and professionalism. The four-year program began in late 2015.
As part of the program, USAID deployed backlog reduction teams to help Basic Courts across the country resolve cases that were over two years old, clearing more than 70% of them.
USAID efforts to increase accountability and integrity have resulted in mandatory continuing legal education for all judges in Kosovo; nearly 60% of judges have been trained on a code of ethics.
In pushing for greater transparency, USAID helped Kosovo’s courts increase the number of final judgments that are posted online for public access, from about 80 decisions published in 2016 to nearly 8,000 two years later.
By partnering with local leaders like Afërdita, USAID is helping Kosovo on its journey to becoming a resilient, citizen-responsive democracy.