Reaction from Organisations of Civil Society about the proposed amendments of Criminal Code

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Source/Author: Association of Journalists of Kosovo, AJK
Source/Photo: Photo by: wikimedia

PRISTINA, 27.04.2017 –

The undersigned civil society organizations strongly oppose the draft law drafted by the Ministry of Justice that aims to amend the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kosovo. The proposed draft law deeply violates the fundamental principles of a democratic state in which human rights and freedoms are respected. The purpose of the Ministry of Justice to criminalize freedom of expression is a step towards the authoritarian Kosovo, and in full opposition to the path of European reforms for which the Republic of Kosovo should be committed.

We assess that the draft law sponsored by the Ministry of Justice has been drafted in a completely closed process, without any calls to proper working group and has been publicly disclosed in a completely irresponsible way. The proposed changes constitute a step towards controlling the free speech to criticize the high institutions of the Republic of Kosovo through the criminal procedure, a standard that would stifle the public freedom of speech as an instrument that demands institutional and political responsibility.

Moreover, the proposed amendments to the draft law in question (in particular Article 6 of the Draft Law referring to Article 134 of the Criminal Code) have not been opened and discussed at the working group meeting.

We ask the Ministry of Justice to immediately withdraw from such a draft law and to apologize for this authoritarian act that has seriously affected the credibility of the institution and policy-making in Kosovo. We also point out to the Minister of Justice that the European Way of Kosovo cannot be put in front of such challenges in such an irresponsible way.

Otherwise, the following organizations will take every step to prevent such a draft law being adopted in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo.

The signed organisations:

Association of Journalists of Kosovo

Group for Legal and Political Studies

Organization for Democracy, Anti-corruption and Dignity (COHU)

Kosova Democratic Institute

Press Council of Kosovo