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The situation in Kosovo* and the role of the Council of Europe

Doc. 13939: collection of written amendments | Doc. 13939 | 28/01/2016 | Revised version

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ADraft Resolution

1Nearly eight years have elapsed since the declaration of independence by the Assembly of Kosovo*.* All references to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo. Since then, Kosovo has been recognised as a sovereign and independent State by 34 Council of Europe member States. However, 13 Council of Europe member States have not recognised Kosovo as an independent and sovereign State. Accordingly, the Council of Europe follows a policy of status-neutrality towards Kosovo, while supporting its progressive alignment with the Council of Europe’s standards in the areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
2The Parliamentary Assembly acknowledges the progress achieved in Kosovo in the area of democracy, with the smooth and transparent organisation of legislative elections in 2014, which, for the first time, were held throughout Kosovo and with the participation of Kosovo Serbs in the vote. It regrets, however, that the legislative work of the Assembly of Kosovo has been delayed by numerous political deadlocks, which indicate the inability of Kosovo’s political forces to develop constructive dialogue on issues of crucial importance. It also condemns all manifestations of violence, considering those taking place in a legislative chamber to be of particular gravity and liable to undermine people’s trust in democratic institutions.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 2, replace the second sentence with the following two sentences: "It regrets, however, that the legislative work of the Assembly of Kosovo has been delayed by numerous political deadlocks, which display the fragilities and sensitivities in society on issues of crucial importance. Blocking the Parliament is unfortunate and unacceptable."

Explanatory note

The current wording "... which indicate the inability of Kosovo's political forces to develop constructive dialogue on issues of crucial importance" fails to take account of the constructive efforts made by the Kosovo authorities for peace and reconciliation in that country within the context of the Belgrade-Prishtina Dialogue Process.

3The Assembly welcomes the adoption by the Assembly of Kosovo of the constitutional amendments which paved the way for the creation of specialist chambers to prosecute the cases investigated by the Special Investigative Task Force, as a follow-up to Assembly Resolution 1782 (2011) on inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo. The Assembly considers this decision as a step towards reconciliation and a sign of the authorities’ willingness to fight against impunity.
4As regards the protection of human rights and inter-community relations, the Assembly regrets that ethnically related incidents continue to occur, while recognising that the general security climate has improved. It calls on the Kosovo authorities to remain vigilant in this area, to condemn all forms of ethnically motivated attacks, including those against cultural heritage, irrespective of their gravity and frequency, and act with a sense of responsibility in their public discourse in order to continue easing tensions. The Assembly considers the delivery of justice as the best way to reassure non-majority communities that they are safe in Kosovo and protected by the law.
5In the Assembly’s view, ensuring the respect of the rule of law and its effective enforcement should be the first and foremost priority of the Kosovo authorities. Endemic and widespread corruption in all aspects of government, justice and the economy negatively impacts the lives of people in Kosovo, irrespective of their community; it is an impediment to the overall strengthening of standards and holds back Kosovo’s economic development.
6The Assembly attaches great importance to the European Union-facilitated dialogue on normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina and welcomes the beginning of accession negotiations between Serbia and the European Union in 2014, and the signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Union and Kosovo in October 2015. It believes that the continuation of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, the availability of a European perspective for both and the further strengthening of the standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Kosovo are of major importance for Kosovo’s democratic security as well as for the stability of the region of the western Balkans as a whole.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 6, insert the following words: "The Assembly also attaches great importance to the National Action Plan for the implementation in Kosovo of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.".

7With these considerations in mind, the Assembly calls on the Kosovo authorities to:
7.1do their utmost to eradicate corruption from all areas of government, justice and the economy, including by:
7.1.1implementing the Anti-Corruption Strategy and its action plan and monitoring their implementation;
7.1.2improving co-ordination between the different organs working on anti-corruption and economic crime;
7.1.3encouraging the Anti-Corruption Agency to take a more proactive approach during the investigation stage;
7.1.4ensuring that the prosecution follows up the cases transmitted by the Anti-Corruption Agency;
7.2act with greater resolve to strengthen the rule of law and its enforcement, including by:
7.2.1protecting the judiciary and the prosecution from political influence and interference;
7.2.2ensuring the professionalism, impartiality and independence of the judiciary and the prosecution;
7.2.3implementing the Kosovo Judiciary Action Plan (2014-2019);
7.2.4strengthening the rules concerning disciplinary sanctions against law-enforcement officials, ensuring their implementation and that the public is adequately informed;
7.2.5improving the continued training of judges and prosecutors, including in international human rights law;
7.2.6pursuing the investigation and prosecution of war crimes;
7.2.7enforcing the witness protection system;
7.3tackle unemployment, especially among young people and women;
7.4implement all the agreements stemming from the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, particularly the Agreement on the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.4, delete the following words: ", particularly the Agreement on the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities".

7.5continue to build mutual trust between communities; protect the rights of minorities and their safety while promoting their economic integration, in particular by:
7.5.1investing in job-creation activities, especially in areas inhabited by non-majority communities;
7.5.2continuing the integration of Kosovo Serbs in the judiciary, including in the North of Kosovo and, in general, promoting the recruitment of staff from non-majority communities in public administration and public companies, with a view to reflecting Kosovo’s ethnic diversity;
7.5.3ensuring full and efficient implementation of the procedure to recognise diplomas issued by the University of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica;
7.5.4ensuring the protection of all culture heritage, with special regard to the cultural heritage of non-majority communities irrespective of the rejection of Kosovo’s membership application to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
7.5.5creating conditions for the return of displaced persons, by ensuring the effective reintegration of their property rights and facilitating their employment or the development of other income-generating activities;
7.5.6addressing the specific challenges preventing the integration of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians, including early school dropout, child labour and early marriage;
7.5.7supporting inter-community dialogue, also at the level of civil society, and refraining from any public discourse that might fuel inter-community tensions;
7.5.8supporting cross-border exchanges and dialogue on the issues of reconciliation and living together;
7.6implement and evaluate the impact of the new anti-discrimination law;
7.7implement and evaluate the impact of the new law on gender equality; organise or support public campaigns to raise awareness of gender-based violence;

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 7.7, insert the following words: ", and ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence".

28 January 2016

Tabled by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy

In amendment 4, replace the words "ratify and implement" with the following words: "endorse and implement the principles of".

7.8continue to tackle the phenomenon of foreign fighters, with an emphasis on prevention of radicalisation and the implementation of the new specific legislation on this issue; implement the Strategy on terrorism (2012-2017) and the Strategy for the prevention of violent extremism and radicalisation (2015-2020);
7.9address the root causes of irregular migration and organise public campaigns to dissuade people from embarking on such a course;
7.10take resolute action against money laundering, drug trafficking, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in human beings, the arms trade and illegal possession of weapons;
7.11continue negotiations with the Netherlands with a view to establishing the specialist chambers in the Hague, and ensure co-operation with them once they are set up.
8The Assembly encourages the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to increase its capacities for co-operation with INTERPOL and EUROPOL and encourages the authorities in Pristina to use the available mechanisms which are already in place.

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 8 with the following paragraph:

"The Assembly encourages the Kosovo authorities to strengthen their cooperation with INTERPOL and EUROPOL."

In amendment 10, replace the words "Kosovo authorities" with the following words: "authorities in Kosovo".

9The Assembly invites the Assembly of Kosovo to:
9.1pursue its legislative programme without undue delay;
9.2strengthen its oversight of the government;
9.3strengthen mechanisms for consultation with civil society;

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 9.3, insert the following words: ", including with organisations representing women".

28 January 2016

Tabled by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy

In amendment 5, replace the words "including with" with the following word: "particularly".

9.4adopt new rules of procedure for its work, in line with European standards;
9.5promote gender equality within its structures and gender mainstreaming in its functioning;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.5, after the words "gender equality", insert the words: ", and equality for LGBTQ-persons,".

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 9.5, insert the following words: ", starting with the appointment of women to decision-making positions and the examination of Kosovo's budget from a gender perspective".

28 January 2016

Tabled by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy

In amendment 6, replace the words "starting with" with the following word: "enhancing".

9.6adopt the reform of the public administration, ensuring that recruitment and advancement are based on merit, and promoting its impartiality;
9.7enable the proper functioning of the Ombudsperson institution, engage in a constructive dialogue with it, follow up its recommendations and ensure that it has the necessary resources to carry out its mandate.
10The Assembly calls on the political forces that are represented in the Assembly of Kosovo to ensure that a constructive political dialogue takes place between the majority and the opposition.
11The Assembly calls on the authorities in Belgrade and Pristina to:
11.1continue European Union-facilitated dialogue on normalisation of relations in an open and constructive spirit;

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 11.1, insert the following words: ", and to include women in the dialogue in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security".

11.2step up co-operation in order to dismantle transnational criminal networks operating in the region; make progress on the issue of missing persons; and facilitate the investigation and prosecution of war crimes.
12The Assembly recommends that the Kosovo authorities intensify dialogue and co-operation with the Council of Europe and its different bodies and institutions, notably by:
12.1asking for the assistance of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) to fully align its electoral legislation with international electoral standards;
12.2following up the recommendations formulated by Council of Europe monitoring bodies, inter alia those of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and those formulated in the context of the joint European Union/Council of Europe Project against Economic Crime in Kosovo (PECK);
12.3co-operating fully and effectively with the wide range of Council of Europe mechanisms and projects available to Kosovo.
13The Assembly resolves to step up dialogue with the Assembly of Kosovo and recommends that its Bureau modify the current format for co-operation with the political forces elected to the Assembly of Kosovo, with a view to inviting the Assembly of Kosovo to designate a delegation which would ensure the representation also of minority communities, in addition to the majority and the opposition.