Kosovo’s current status is primarily the result of the turmoil of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, particularly the Kosovo War of 1998 to 1999.

Following the 1999 NATO bombings of Yugoslavia, the territory came under the interim administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), most of whose roles were assumed by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in December 2008.

In February 2008, the Assembly of Kosovo declared Kosovo’s independence as the Republic of Kosovo. Since then, over one hundred countries have recognised Kosovo, and it has joined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Yet, because of Serbia’s and other states lack of recognition, Kosovo is not recognised as a state under the United Nations system.

Issues surrounding the Rule of Law and IRLI’s Involvement

Since Kosovo’s transition to a peaceful and independent state, the legal profession has faced a broad range of difficulties.

The numbers practising law are insufficient to meet the need for legal services, especially in areas of commerce and trade.

In 2007 the Law Society and the Bar of Ireland were approached by the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA) to assist in the establishment of an independent professional training body for lawyers in Kosovo. They observed legal training by the Law Society in Dublin.

This started a training programme for lawyers in Kosovo overseen by IRLI to ensure that the Rule of Law is being strengthened in Kosovo.

As recent as January 2018, an IRLI team of delegates was sent out to meet with the Kosovo Bar Association (KBA), the Ministry of Justice and the Justice Academy with the following aims:

  • to revise the current Training of Trainers (ToT) system in place and propose an upgraded methodology that ensures diversity among trainers that at least 30% were women and that all minorities in Kosovo are represented
  • to ensure that a full capacity to implement effective training plans exists
  • the task of designing a training system which includes a handbook for trainers, selection criteria and performance evaluation criteria for trainings and trainers.

Overall, the aim of this IRLI’s involvement in Kosovo is to ensure that all lawyers are receiving adequate training by competent trainers. Secondly, that Kosovo’s legal bodies like the KBA have elements of diversity through women and minorities being represented equally as both trainers and lawyers receiving their training. Increasing this level of training and promoting diversity helps to improve the rule of law and access to justice in Kosovo.


IRLI experts in Kosovo, January, 2018

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