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Kosovo 2022

Proceedings continued at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers established in The Hague in 2016. The Kosovo Assembly failed to pass the Civil Code due to a provision which would have paved the way for legalization of same-sex unions. Thousands of protesters demanded justice for an 11-year-old girl who was raped by five men in Pristina.

Right to truth, justice and reparation

In March, the Supreme Court of Kosovo upheld the guilty verdict of Zoran Djokić, sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in 2021 for war crimes committed in 1999 against ethnic Albanians in Peja. In May, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers convicted leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army Veterans Organization, Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj, for obstruction of justice, intimidation during criminal proceedings and violation of the secrecy of proceedings. They were each sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

In September, Pristina Basic Court sentenced Kosovo Serb Svetomir Bacević to five years’ imprisonment for war crimes committed during the Kosovo war of 1998-1999. In December, Salih Mustafa – a Kosovo Liberation Army unit commander – was sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment for arbitrary detention, cruel treatment, torture and murder.

Enforced disappearances

More than 1,600 people remained missing. The Humanitarian Law Center called on the governments of Kosovo and Serbia to offer full access to state archives and seek more effective cooperation to discover the fate of missing persons.

Wartime sexual violence

As of October, a government commission established in 2018 had granted the status of survivor of wartime sexual violence to 1,373 of 1,808 applicants, granting them a small pension, but many did not apply, fearing stigmatization or family disapproval.

Violence against women and girls

Reports of domestic violence increased compared to 2021. In January, Lirije Qerimaj reported her husband’s domestic violence to police in Laushë. Following orders from the prosecutor, Stojanka Kosalović, the police interviewed but then released Skender Qerimaj, who shot and killed Lirije Qerimaj five days later. The Basic Court in Mitrovica sentenced Skender Qerimaj to 24 years’ imprisonment. The prosecutor was held responsible for prosecutorial misconduct and received a public written reprimand.

In July, an EU Rule of Law Mission report revealed that, in 2020-2021, 85% of sexual violence survivors were girls. Over 50% of guilty verdicts resulted in sentences below the legal minimum due to “exceptionally mitigating” circumstances. Disciplinary proceedings found judge Florije Zatriqi responsible for unlawfully sentencing the rapist of a 15-year-old girl to a prison term below the legal minimum, at only eight months and eight days. Florije Zatriqi was permanently transferred to the Basic Court of Peja, Division for Minor Offences.

In August, five men raped an 11-year-old girl in a public park in Pristina, resulting in five arrests and sparking a protest by thousands of demonstrators. Following the protest, police arrested a further six men suspected of sexually abusing and trafficking the same girl in June.

Freedom of expression

In December, six attacks against journalists covering the tensions with Serbia took place in the north of Kosovo. The Association of Journalists of Kosovo and the European and International Federation of Journalists called on the authorities to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of journalists.

LGBTI people’s rights

In March, the parliament failed to adopt the Civil Code due to a provision that would have paved the way for legalization of same-sex unions. Some MPs opposing the measure employed discriminatory and derogatory language. Protesters demanded the legalization of same-sex marriage and denounced the MPs’ anti-LGBTI comments.


Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian people

In June, the Court of Appeals confirmed a decision by the Basic Court in Gjakova awarding damages to three children. It found that, in 2012-2013, the municipal Directorate of Education racially discriminated against them by segregating them in separate classes for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian people, thereby violating their right to education.