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COVID-19 / Kosovo*: rapporteur urges political responsibility and respect for the rule of law

“PACE‘s support for democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Kosovo* holds strong in these challenging times,” said PACE Rapporteur Peter BEYER (Germany, EPP/CD). “The people of Kosovo* have been hit hard by the current Coronavirus crisis, as are many others around the world. My sympathy goes especially to those who are directly affected by the crisis: health-wise, economically, and in the places hit hardest by the disease outbreak. I welcome in this respect recent examples of positive cross-community and cross-boundary co-ordination and the solidarity shown between leading medical professionals and officials, across ethnic and political divides,” he added.

However, Mr Beyer recalled that Kosovo also finds itself in the midst of a political and constitutional crisis since the elected government lost a vote of confidence at the end of March, just as the COVID-19 crisis was unfolding. The President decreed that a new coalition government be formed, without new elections, but his decree was challenged by the caretaker Prime Minister before the Constitutional Court which, on 1 May, suspended the decree until 29 May. “In this dramatic situation, it is essential for the future of Kosovo* and its people that checks and balances are upheld and secured. This especially applies to a fully-functioning Assembly and an independent constitutional court system,” said Mr Beyer.

“I strongly urge all those who are politically responsible in Kosovo, and also those in the judiciary, to act exclusively in the interest of their citizens and in strict compliance with the Kosovo* Constitution. I also trust that everybody in Pristina is solely guided by the rule of law and ensures the principle of proportionality with regard to all measures deemed necessary to cope with the current pandemic and political crisis, always with a view to ensuring compliance with the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights, which are part of the domestic legal system,” concluded Mr Beyer.

*All reference to Kosovo in this text, 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