Photo: Rodrigo Paras
Measuring the Rule of Law in Public Administration in Kosovo municipalities
Four municipalities in Kosovo participates in the project, Lipljan, Djakovica, Istok, and Kamenica. They are together with the implementing partner, assessing the rule of law in their municipal committees and bodies working with the issue of social housing. The project will last for six months and ends with a workshop and panel discussion about the findings during which recommendations for the final report and future action plans and activities will be drawn up together.
The main objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of local authorities and municipalities to deliver public services in accordance with rule of law principles, and to increase knowledge and awareness among citizens about their rights.
The assessment is performed by the municipalities together with the implementing partner FOL Movement. The methodology used is the one explained in the toolkit produced by FBA in cooperation with UNDP (guide) to assess the respect of Rule of Law in public administration. The toolkit has been developed to assist governments and development assistance providers in identifying, better understanding, and more effectively addressing rule of law problems in administrative agencies and processes. This toolkit looks particularly at rule of law issues in public services that the “users” of the system consider essential yet problematic. In Kosovo, the specific focus chosen for the assessment is the issue of social housing. This is a relevant and pressing issue for the municipalities for many reasons, including the drafting of a new Law on Administrative Procedures, the newly implemented national requirement to develop five year plans, and the large number of national minorities and returning refugees. The assessment is performed at three levels, formals laws and regulations, agency staff, and users, and are all laid out according to six commonly accepted principles derived from international and human rights law—legality, accessibility, right to be heard, right to appeal, transparency and accountability.
Previous projects in Kosovo
The FBA together with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) published the Handbook for Monitoring Administrative Justice in 2013.
The handbook has been used in a project by the OSCE mission in Kosovo to monitor the newly established “Department for Administrative Cases” operating in the Pristina basic court. In addition to findings of shortcomings and needs of the courts and judges, the project also gave a preliminary insight to deficits at the agency level of public administration. Thus, a conclusion from the monitoring project was that it would be useful to design a project for the implementation of the self-assessment toolkit for the measurement of rule of law in public administration.