USAID’s Justice System Strengthening Program (JSSP) ended it’s five-year run this November. JSSP left a valuable legacy with different aspects of the Kosovo judiciary, in particular related to judicial efficiency, transparency and accountability, and a set of digital tools that helped bring Kosovo courts online, and built invaluable bridges between the Kosovo civil society and its citizens on one side, and Kosovo courts on the other. More details on the JSSP key results can be found here.
To mark the occasion of the JSSP close-out, a series of 15 promotional videos has been produced outlining the program’s main achievements.
1. The Case Status Look-Up Tool: this online tool, available on the website of the Kosovo Judicial Council, brings courts closer to the people by facilitating access to case status information.
2. ‘My Court’ Webpage: the webpage’s user-friendly interface allows citizens to access key tools and resources on Kosovo courts with just a few clicks.
3. On-Line Court Surveys: online surveys can be found on websites of all Kosovo courts, enabling citizens to give feedback on court accessibility, fair and equal treatment, and other topics without leaving their homes, which is of particular importance in the times of the global pandemic.
4. Judicial Performance Dashboard: this innovative digital justice tool allows citizens and other interested parties real-time access to easy-to-read data on key court performance indicators.
5. Online Hearings: JSSP equipped Kosovo courts with the technology needed for online hearings and drafted an online hearing protocol to ensure full access to justice in global pandemic circumstances.
6. Digital Justice Tools: calculators on the Kosovo Judicial Council Website help citizens estimate the costs of court fees and fines.
7. Filing Complaints: an instructional video explaining the process of filing a complaint against a judge - what are the grounds for this, when, how and where to file it.
8. Kosovo Judicial Council New Website: JSSP developed a modern, comprehensive, and user-friendly website for the Kosovo Judicial Council. Features include public consultations on judicial regulations, court performance and disciplinary data on judges, court surveys and complaint forms, thereby improving digital access to justice and insight into the operations of the judiciary.
9. Court Publications: JSSP worked with civil society partners, BIRN Kosovo and Lëvizja FOL, in having the courts publish more than 32,000 judgments, creating the single largest institutional database in Kosovo. Civil Society contributed to increased judicial transparency and accountability by monitoring and reporting on the publication of court judgments.
10. Support to Kosovo Constitutional Court: JSSP supported the Kosovo Constitutional Court in a range of activities focused on enhancing transparency and efficiency.
11. On-Line Training Module: in collaboration with the Kosovo Justice Academy, JSSP developed an online training module to improve the capacities of court and prosecution translators and interpreters. As a result, courts and prosecution offices can better protect citizens’ rights to receive judicial services in their native language.
12. Case Management Practices: JSSP has instituted best case management practices at courts, leading to noticable progress in court efficiency, going from 408,000 unresolved cases in 2016, to ️186,187 unresolved cases in 2020, and a 121% case clearance rate in 2020, compared to 83% in 2016.
13. Judiciary and Civil Society: JSSP invested efforts in improving the cooperation between the Kosovo civil society and the judiciary. Key achievements include monitoring and reporting of judicial processes, conducting court user surveys and observational studies, and engaging citizens in providing feedback to courts.
14. Inclusive Judiciary – public consultations: JSSP assisted the Kosovo Judicial Council in drafting over 45 regulations and gradually shifting from top-down policymaking to utilizing an inclusive, and transparent approach, allowing Kosovo citizend to provide feedback by publishing the Council regulations online for public consultations.
15. Inclusive Judiciary – integration of northern courts: JSSP played a key role in building a more inclusive judiciary by facilitating integration of northern courts in 2017. Since then, suport was provided through guidance and professional development to staff, developing protocols for case management, and renovating and furnishing court buildings.