President Osmani's speech at the marking of the Victims of Crimes Week

Dear acting Chief Prosecutor Mr. Kelmendi,
Dear Chairman of KPC, Mr. Maloku,
Honorable President of the Supreme Court Mr. Peci,
Dear Ambassador Hovenier,
Ambassador Wiegemark,
Dear other representatives of local and international institutions,
Dear participants,
Ladies and gentlemen;

I would like to first express my appreciation for the organization of victims' week which I consider to be an extremely important opportunity to discuss together such an important issue that challenges our state and society.

I believe that the observance of victims week this year is made even more important by the fact that it comes shortly after our public opinion was shocked by cases of heinous crimes of sexual assault.

I will use this opportunity to focus specifically on the need for an efficient and uncompromising fight against these heinous crimes.

As we are all aware, during the past few months our country has been shocked by many horror stories of rape and sexual harassment – the victims of which crimes in some cases were also minors.

Although the very fact that these crimes have occurred is serious enough to alarm each one of us, what made this situation even more serious was the lack of effective response of the institutions in addressing these criminal offenses.

And for this reason, after the meetings we had with the responsible institutions I am here today to make a public appeal for a much more proactive role of our institutions in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and more effective sentencing of criminal offenses against sexual integrity.

At the meetings with the heads of justice institutions, I addressed precisely the issue of systemic failures and shortcomings, which have been highlighted by the analysis and evaluations that have already been done for several years, including the analysis made by our international partners. At our meetings, we discussed the best ways to address together the shortcomings s of our system, not only in the justice system but also in other law enforcement mechanisms, to strengthen the prevention and fight against sexual crimes as well as the protection and rehabilitation of victims.

As a must, preventing and fighting crime and especially supporting victims requires a multidimensional approach.

Our institutions, apart from those of justice, must work harder to prevent and efficiently fight these heinous criminal acts which, in addition to violating the law also violate our basic, family and social values.

Therefore, we must work together to raise awareness and inform the public about sexual violence and sexual harassment, and above all, on how we can better protect our children and all our citizens.

It is important to work on building institutional capacities, including those of all officials involved in the prevention, prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators of these crimes: starting from social work centers, educational institutions  up to the police, the prosecutor's office and the courts. 

The failures identified in our institutional mechanisms are numerous, starting from the most basic ones, such as the existence of the respective mechanisms and procedures within educational institutions to the most complicated problems, such as the way of legal interpretation of the notion of the criminal offense of sexual violence.

In this regard, it has already been discussed that many officials of the justice system often use outdated standards in the investigation, prosecution and trial of acts of sexual violence, not applying the modern concept which is also applicable in our codes, i.e. the concept of the modern version of distinguishing elements of the criminal offense of rape, namely not giving consent, but instead looking for physical traces of violence. In fact, there were no shortage of shocking cases when the judge took as a mitigating circumstance the lack of physical injuries in a case of rape of a minor girl.

As you know, in juvenile cases, even the element of non-consent need not be proven.

The least that our institutions can do is act in defense of the victim in the most efficient and effective way. And in many cases, and especially in the recent case of the 11-year-old girl, it has been seen that this proper reaction in defense of the victim has been missing. In addition, there have been other prior cases where an extreme delay was observed between the criminal report and the filing of the indictment.

Just as shocking are the low-grade sentences, even below the minimum provided by law when they are imposed by the courts. It has been noticed that there is a clear avoidance of the implementation of the guidelines for recommendation and the measurement of punishment by both prosecutors and judges. 

Such an approach is not the protection of the victims, such an approach is the protection of the criminals and even worse, such an approach is the encouragement of the criminals, it is the encouragement to continue the violence against our daughters, against our sons, against the children of this Republic. Therefore, in addition to infuriating our citizens, this deeply affects their loss of trust in justice and emboldens the criminals even further to continue with their criminal abuses, without ever fearing the hand of justice.

We have also realized that until now there has been no coordination protocol between the institutions and I welcome the news that such a protocol is already being drafted.

Another very important aspect is the care that we must offer to victims of crime in all cases, especially in these sensitive cases of rape and sexual harassment. It is the right time to better address the assistance to the victims, through the improvement of the human and physical capacities to treat them after these traumatic events for them.

It has also been repeatedly stated that there is a lack of capacity, including of prosecutors specialized in sexual violence cases, especially in cases involving minors, psychologists and social workers to handle sensitive cases and that there are obstacles and delays in monitoring the surveillance materials such as: videos, phone messages, etc., which then causes delays.

And as we have seen in such cases, a delay means repeated violations.

And as I mentioned before, the lack of capacities should not be used as an escape from the responsibility for carrying out the duty and the vital mission that the police, the prosecution and the judiciary have in addressing these sensitive cases.

Hence, as we have all pledged, we must make sure that the maximum is done to provide support to the victims, but we also pledge to support the capacity building of our institutions so that these cases are properly addressed.

Citizens do not lose faith in justice just because a member of society violates their rights, acts against them in an illegal manner or in any way disturbs their peaceful daily life. Citizens lose faith in institutions when they do not find support in justice institutions in order for these criminals to be punished.

Therefore, let this organization also serve us, the week dedicated to the victims of crimes, not only as a moment of reflection but as an incentive, as a great incentive to work together with increased dedication for the prevention and uncompromising punishment of criminal offenses against sexual integrity and any other criminal offense and that the hand of the law falls mercilessly on their perpetrators. This is the only way we will be able to restore citizens' trust in justice institutions and fanatically protect the fundamental values that have distinguished our society.

Finally, I want to mention a very important process: vetting in the justice system. I consider that it is extremely important that all relevant actors provide their contribution to a process that is as proper as possible. Only when we join forces, only when the justice institutions make a substantial contribution to this process, can we expect success for our country and for our citizens. We must bear in mind that especially after the green light from the Venice Commission, this is one of the most important processes on the way to building a justice system that works with integrity and professionalism and above all, restores the citizen's trust in the justice system. So, as I have done in our meetings, I use this opportunity to publicly invite you to be a part of the fair, apolitical, and completely professional development and construction based on the integrity of this process, through your active participation in working groups and present suggestions and concrete contribution in order to develop it in the most effective manner for the justice system.

As we are talking about justice and human rights, I am repeating as always the fact that Kosovo's membership in the Council of Europe is, above all, a cause for justice, it is a cause for human rights, it is a protection of human rights. No one can be on one side for human rights, and on the other side block a state like Kosovo, which is aiming to offer its citizens the most effective mechanisms of the Council of Europe, precisely for the protection of the rights of including access to the European Court of Human Rights. Therefore, once again we call on all our international partners to be with us on this path, to support the citizens of Kosovo, not politics, but the citizens of Kosovo so that they do not remain the only Europeans who are denied access to these human rights instruments.

Thank you and I wish you good proceedings today!

This post is also available in: SQ SR

This site is registered on as a development site.