Increasing Citizens’ Awareness and Participation in the Justice System

USAID has partnered with Advocacy Training and Resource Center (ATRC) for this program, which is aimed at increasing transparency and fairness in Kosovo’s justice sector institutions. ATRC is working with local non-governmental organizations to conduct court monitoring and implement a public outreach campaign to strengthen public trust in the justice system.

ATRC has provided sub-grant support to 32 organizations to focus on court monitoring and eight organizations to oversee the public awareness campaign. Sub-grantee organizations are given specific areas to focus their monitoring and outreach efforts over a six to nine month period. The areas include heritage cases involving women heirs, domestic violence cases, logging and environmental degradation, corruption, and the treatment of cases involving minority populations.

As they are completed, the court monitoring reports are presented directly to the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC), Kosovo Prosecutorial Council (KPC), and Office of Disciplinary Counsel, as well as to the wider public through roundtables, public debates, and press conferences covered by local and national media.

Each organization also evaluates their assigned court’s effectiveness in public outreach. The program is actively engaged in conducting—and assisting courts in conducting—public outreach to majority and minority communities alike, as well as in targeted areas such as assisting socially-owned enterprises to understand the legal process associated with privatization.

Results to Date:

  • All grantees came up with court monitoring reports describing the courts in their communities, with a presentation of findings and recommendations regarding the issues they addressed.
  • More than 40% of the recommendations have been taken into account by justice institutions, and most of the recommendations are in the process by the Kosovo Judicial Council and Office of the Disciplinary Counsel.
  • Seven grantees have successfully developed public outreach activities that raised awareness about how the judicial system in Kosovo operates, and about how citizens exercise their rights through participation in the justice system.
  • Local courts improved access to information for citizens. They also increased access for employees of Kosovo’s socially-owned enterprises and other parties interested in the privatization process of the court system, especially regarding their legal rights as implemented by the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court.
  • Fourteen grantees addressed gender-sensitive issues as part of their respective projects. Among both men and women they established a better understanding of gender equality in every aspect of life, especially property inheritance, domestic violence and alimony rights.
  • Eight grantees addressed non-majority issues as part of their respective projects, improving the population’s perception of the justice system, communication between citizens and respective courts and the use of official language in courts.

Project Duration: February 2013 - November 2015
Contact Information: Luljeta Gjonbalaj
Partners: Advocacy Training Resource Center (ATRC)

Last updated: August 19, 2015

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