(11/02-2008) The Norwegian and Swedish Helsinki Committees are deeply concerned about the message the suspension of the Kurti case sends to the public about the functioning of rule of law in Kosovo.
The international panel in Kosovo hearing the case against Albin Kurti ruled on February 7th that Mr. Kurti should be released and his case indefinitely suspended because the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (Bar Association) refuses to provide defense counsel - a requirement for the case to continue.
This, which may appear to some a cause for celebration, is in our opinion a disservice to justice and an opportunity lost to see this legal procedure to a proper close. We are concerned not only about what this says about the ability of the courts in Kosovo to function without external interference, but what it says about the professional ethics and level of respect the Chamber of Advocates has chosen to show toward the Court.
The Norwegian and Swedish Helsinki Committees call for an urgent solution to the present situation. We hope that the Chamber of Advocates reconsiders its position in light of the court's ruling and interpretation of the applicable law and their professional obligation to uphold the law, and utilize the legal structures in place to make any challenges they find necessary.