President Osmani address at the marking of the Crime Victims' Rights Week

Honourable Minister of Justice Mrs. Albulena Haxhiu,
Honourable Chief State Prosecutor Mr. Lumezi,
Distinguished representatives of the courts, prosecutors' offices, all justice institutions,
Diplomatic representatives of the diplomatic corps, ambassadors;
Dear all participants,

I have the pleasure to address you at this event, given the importance of the rule of law in general, which is also a priority of my engagement as President of the country, but especially since today we are speaking about one of the most important areas that also has to do with the citizen's trust in this justice system, more specifically the protection of victims of crime.

I am beginning at what is probably the most basic principle that all of us as lawyers have learned in the first year of the Faculty of Law, that the obligation of the state in relation to human rights, right to life and the protection of dignity, the protection of human rights and freedoms are not only negative obligations of the state, which means not to violate that right, but they are also positive obligations of the state, which means their protection when they are in danger of being violated by others.

Whether the protection of the right to life -where we have a clear obligation or the protection of all victims of crime, as institutions of justice, the principle which should lead each one of you, and each one of us, but especially you as representatives of the justice institutions, the police representatives and other security institutions where victims turn to seek protection.  

Therefore, this Week is an indicator that in addition to raising of the level of awareness to bring justice to victims of crime, it is also necessary to increase the efficiency of the rule of law, as well as services to victims, which should be a permanent activity of the institutions.

The aim of our state is a society without violence, respectively without victims, hence raising the awareness and increasing efficiency in protecting the rights of victims in this manner directly affects the perception of citizens of the justice system and the rule of law in general. 

In 2019 and 2020, there are nine women who have lost their lives by the violence caused by men. Until September of this year, there are three other women victims, while during this period of the year, over 1500 cases of violence against women, gender-based violence, were reported to the Police.

As you can see, the statistics are sorrowful. So, violence against women has become a challenge not only for the institutions, but also for the Kosovar society in general, and we cannot be silent about this situation, just as we cannot be silent about the need for a greater amount of support for the victims.

The perpetrators must be punished, and the victims must be rehabilitated, encouraged and supported institutionally.

Preserving the life and dignity and protecting the victims of crime is both a constitutional obligation and a legal obligation, but also a moral obligation to our society.

One thing is indisputable and uncompromising: it is that impunity for crime requires zero tolerance. When we talk about impunity, we are talking about the level of sentencing, the quality of sentences, the weight that victims have in the eyes of our justice system, but also the importance of life, integrity and well-being of everyone in the Republic of Kosovo. 
By advancing the rights of victims' protection, we do not only mean the punishment of the crime or the conclusion of a criminal or civil court case for material compensation but every aspect and physical, financial, emotional and moral element that the victims of crime had before they experienced any criminal offense against them.

I am glad that this week is given such importance. But the real positive change is achieved with profiled prosecutors and judges in office, who understand the importance of protecting the rights of victims, and how this will have a positive impact on increasing the credibility of all citizens in relation to the justice system. Professionals who have the necessary skills and professionalism for the investigation and trial of criminal offenses, but above all enjoy the trust of the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo.

Applicable laws in the country specify that victims of crime should be treated respecting their right to safety, to dignity, their private and family life, recognizing the negative impact of crime on victims.

It is the last moment for these laws to materialize in full, because the rule of law is theoretically useless, without effective mechanisms, just as it is useless to talk about a dignified life without proper rule of law.

Finally, I want to reaffirm my personal commitment to working with all prosecutors, judges, police, security institutions who prioritize integrity, respect for the law and the rule of law.

Also, we must all work together to alleviate the burden of the victims of crime, to support those who serve these victims that is, to protect these victims and to reduce the number of these victims in the future by helping law enforcement so that our society feels safe. Together, we can ensure a more secure future for the citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, without fear or distrust of its institutions. Only together, and only by prioritizing the well-being of citizens, can we create a society where trust in the justice system no longer remains a matter of perception but becomes a measurable and indisputable fact.

The integrity, professionalism and independence of justice institutions is the guarantee that we all seek in the Republic of Kosovo. No tolerance for lawbreakers whoever and wherever they are, is what all our citizens expect from the justice institutions in the country. Therefore, it is imperative that all our institutional and social efforts lead to the construction and guaranteeing of a justice system that above all, is independent, professional and with integrity and that prioritizes the protection of victims' rights. Whoever has this goal as theirs, will have all my support as the President of the country.

Finally, I want to reiterate what constitutes the cell and motive of my institutional engagement: since we are talking about integrity, including that of institutions, I guarantee you that my silence will never be an alternative in the event of a violation of the rule of law. If we remain silent in the face of injustice, this will further incite those who commit crimes, and discourage victims of crime from seeking state support. Therefore, let us raise our voice altogether but above all and beyond raising our voice let us act, let us act concretely in defense of those who need the protection of the state so that our justice system enjoys the trust of us all.

Thank you!

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