Constitutional Court of Kosovo

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Constitutional Court of Kosovo
Established 2009
Country Republic of Kosovo[a]
Location Pristina
Composition method Legislative & executive selection
Authorized by Constitution
Judge term length 6 years
No. of positions 9
Website http://www.gjk-ks.org
President
Currently Arta Rama-Hajrizi

The Constitutional Court of Kosovo (Albanian: Gjykata Kushtetuese e Kosovës; Serbian: Ustavni sud Kosova) is the final authority for the interpretation of the Constitution of Kosovo and judicial review of laws for compliance with the constitution. The Constitutional Court is located in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.[1] The Constitutional Court was established shortly after Kosovo's independence and heard its first cases in 2009.

History[edit]

Before 2009, constitutional review in Kosovo had either been absent or exercised by other courts. Under the 1974 constitution, the constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court was vested with the authority to review legislative acts for compliance with the higher law. The 1990 constitution of the Republic of Kosovo provided for a Constitutional Court (Albanian: Gjyqi Kushtetues), but Serbian control over Kosovo did not permit for the court to come into being.

During the UNMIK international administration, the 2001 Constitutional Framework envisaged a "Special Chamber of the Supreme Court" to review the constitutionality of legislative acts.[2] However, ultimate authority was, as was political power itself, vested in the UN-appointed administrator of Kosovo.

The current Constitutional Court was established by the 2008 constitution, which came into effect months after Kosovo's declaration of independence. The Court heard its first cases in 2009.

Composition[edit]

The Constitutional Court is composed of nine judges, appointed by the President of the Republic upon the proposal of the Assembly of Kosovo.

Members of the court are:

With international judges:

Former judges:

Organisation[edit]

Notable decisions[edit]

In 2010, the court ordered the municipality of Prizren to change its emblem in a more multi-ethnic one.[3]

The Court twice deposed the president : in 2010, Fatmir Sejdiu stepped down because the court found he "seriously violated the constitution" because he was still leader of his party LDK, while the constitution (art. 88.2) forbids him to exercise any political party function[4] and in 2011 it invalidated the 2011 presidential election, holding that the procedure used to appoint Behgjet Pacolli was unconstitutional.[5]

In an important ruling in 2011 the Court[6] invalidated a judgement of the Appellate panel of the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kosovo, composed of EULEX judges.[7] The Constitutional Court ruled that the Assembly of Kosovo had, since independence, the authority to amend or repeal UNMIK regulations.[8]

In 2012, the parties who had supported the (indirect) election in 2011 of Atifete Jahjaga, also agreed on amending the constitution to install direct presidential elections. The Court had to assess these amendments whether they do not diminish any of the rights and freedoms of Chapter II of the constitution (art. 144.3) and found that the mandate of sitting president Atifete Jahjaga could not be cut short.[9]

Following the 2014 parliamentary election, the Court became the focus of Kosovo politics, ruling on the formation of the executive and election of the Assembly speaker. The Court heard two cases. After no party obtained a majority in the general election, the President of the Republic petitioned the Court for an advisory opinion on whom the President was expected to appoint as candidate for prime minister. The majority of judges advised that the President appoint the candidate proposed by the party that had won a plurality in the election,[10] even though smaller parties had now formed a coalition and held the parliamentary majority needed to get the candidate elected. In the second case, the Court majority invalidated the election of a minority party candidate as speaker of the parliament, holding that the indefinite right to propose the candidate for speaker of the Assembly belonged to the party that had won the most votes in the general election.[11]

The Court also had to rule on the validity of the 2013 Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia creating the Community of Serb Municipalities.[12]

The Court found no irregularities in the election by the Assembly of Hashim Thaçi as President of Kosovo in 2016.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 United Nations member states.
  2. ^ 2001 Constitutional Framework (Kosovo), § 9.4.11.
  3. ^ Judgement of 18.03.2010 n° KO 01/09
  4. ^ Judgement of 28.09.2010 n° KI 47/10
  5. ^ Judgement of 28.03.2011 n° KO 29-11
  6. ^ Judgement of 31.03.2011 n° KI 25/10
  7. ^ Judgement of 04.02.2010 n° ASC-09-089
  8. ^ in this case UNMIK regulation N° 2002/12 on the estabmishment of the Kosovo Trust Agency was superseded by Law N°03/L-067 on the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo. The Supreme Court, in its judgement of 29.11.2012 n° SCA-09-0042 accepted the outcome, but not the reasoning of the Constitutional Court : it held that UNMIK regulations were international law and as such had priority over domestic laws, but accepted them being amended or repelad by the Assembly of Kosovo because the UNMIK administration had in fact ended.
  9. ^ Judgement of 20.07.2012 n° KO 29/12 and KO 48/12
  10. ^ Judgement of 30.06.2014 n° KO 103-14
  11. ^ Judgement of 21.08.2014 n° KO 119-14
  12. ^ Judgement of 23.12.2015 n° KO 130-15
  13. ^ Judgement of 04.04.2016 n° KO 47-16

External links[edit]