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U.S. Ambassador Dell Inaugurates Renovated Prizren Model Court

On June 1, 2010, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Dell, Municipal Court President Besa Krajku, District Court President Ymer Hoxha, and Kosovo Judicial Council Chair Enver Peci inaugurated the renovated Prizren courthouse, a member of the USAID-sponsored Model Courts Program, before 150 guests.

Through the Model Courts Program, Prizren Municipal Court has adopted and implemented international best practices of court administration and case management. The investment set aside by USAID to renovate facilities of courts participating in the Model Courts Program is designed to rearrange space into a modern, functional court which can provide more efficient, more transparent services. The renovated courthouse reflects high standards of transparency, professionalism, and efficiency.

Mrs. Krajku noted that the renovations will help court staff “implement the mission statement of the court to apply the law and serve citizens in a fair, honest, and efficient manner and with dignity … and securing equal access for all citizens.” Mrs. Krajku noted that the renovation will enable the court to provide better public access, ultimately contributing in improving the image of the court to citizens.

Ambassador Dell pledged continued U.S. support to programs to strengthen “access to, respect for, and demand for justice”, but called upon Kosovo institutions to take the initiative and lead the reform process. He complimented the Court Presidents of the Municipal and District Courts on their renovated facilities, a building which now presents the dignity of the judicial institution.

Kosovo Judicial Council Chair Enver Peci added that with this project a step has been taken towards the reform of the system, to make it “more efficient, transparent, and accountable.” Praising the courts for their contribution to progress under the KJC 2007-2012 Strategic Plan, Judge Peci noted that the changes are not only impacting the work processes but also contributing to improving citizen perception. District Court President Hoxha delivered closing remarks and guarantees that the court and still will now work their hardest to “fulfill their mission to protect citizen rights in a manner that leads Kosovo towards its European future”. He pledged that, with five new courtrooms, judges will no longer hold hearings in their offices.

Ambassador Dell, Mr. Peci, and the Court Presidents of the District and Municipal Court cut the inauguration ribbon before over 80 court employees and their guests which included several members of the Kosovo Judicial Council, the Deputy Minister of Justice, the mayor of Prizren, the regional KFOR Commander, members of the Model Courts Consortium, and Court Presidents from all over Kosovo.

Kosovo Justice Support Program Model Court Liaison, Gazmend Mejzini, presented the Municipal Court President Krajku with the Model Courts Certificate in recognition of the continued support of the Prizren Municipal Court Improvement Team. Mr. Mejzini also presented the Court-in-Partnership Certificate to District Court President thanking him and his staff for their willingness to participate as a partner and introduce model courts improvements to their court as well.

Since the 1999 conflict in Kosovo, USAID has worked to support the establishment of the rule of law and enable sustainable economic growth. The renovation of 10 courts is a 3 million dollar capital improvement investment paired with long-term technical assistance and training to build an effective, transparent, and accountable justice system in the country. The three-year Kosovo Justice Support Program is implemented under contract with the National Center for State Courts.