Parliamentary oversight in Kosovo has been insufficient to supervise the work of the police due to lack of professional capacities, Kosovo Centre for Security Studies estimates in the POINTPULSE report.
By Mateja Agatonović (BCSP) / Photo: Suhejlo
Police oversight by the Kosovo Assembly is primarily conducted through the work of the committee responsible for security issues. Another form is interpellation, where a group of MPs may request an explanation for an issue related to Kosovo Police (KP) in an Assembly session, and parliamentary questions.
Powers − The oversight of the KP is specifically exercised through the Committee on Internal Affairs, Security, and Supervision of the Kosovo Security Force. It oversees KP’s financial management and expenses and supervises issues related to disciplinary measures against police officers in cooperation with the Kosovo Police Inspectorate (KPI).
The Committee observes the implementation of laws, in particular, the Law on Police and its accompanying legislation. As such, Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), KP and KPI are required to report to the Committee at least once a year on issues related to the implementation of relevant laws. In addition, the Committee should collaborate with MIA from which it may request concrete information, including direct reports of the Minister of Internal Affairs, and from the heads of KP and KPI.
In the last three years, the Committee worked the most on proposing legislative and practical changes in regard to the police control.
Practice – The Committee drafted a report in 2015 with recommendations based on the findings during the monitoring activities of the same year. They recommended to MIA, KP, and KPI to continuously build their capacities and collaborate performing their legal mandates and to get involved in certified training programs so that they better carry out their police duties, and protect human rights and freedoms according to the principles of legitimacy, adaptability, and proportionality.
Irregularities related to the functioning of Kosovo Police Inspectorate
The Law on KPI was being implemented only partially. Furthermore, the KPI violated the law by hiring employees that did not have an adequate education. Irregularities were also observed in budget management, where KPI had awarded its own personnel with two additional salaries within a calendar year without any legal basis.
In direct relation to the police, KPI was reprimanded regarding criminal investigations against police officers. The Committee criticized KPI that it had some non-professional public appearances during the arrest of some police members suspected of having committed criminal offenses. However, they did not specifically indicate which those cases were.
The members of the Committee recommended the implementation of the integrity test for police officers, as an operational police method of covert collection of information, conducted for the purpose of preventing and detecting police corruption. They also asked the police to further advance its work to functionalize and standardize its sectors: intelligence-led policing, community policing, patrolling and maintaining public order and peace by employing acquired standards for crowd and riot controlling in cases when the order and public peace is violated.
The Committee suggested for enhancement of relationships between the KP and the Kosovo’s prosecution and courts.
Parliamentary oversight of the Kosovo Police (KP) faces challenges such as lack of professional capacities of the Committee due to the low number of its administrative staff.
Shortcomings – In 2014 and 2015 the Committee could not adequately supervise the work of the police. This parliamentary body was not able to produce a monitoring report on the ranking process within the KP in 2014, even though a Committee’s working group was established to address the relevant issue, and in 2015 they didn’t produce relevant monitoring reports.
The work and dynamics of this parliamentary Committee were also affected by the political crisis which started in mid-2014 to continue in 2015 and in the four first months of 2016.
Committee members from the opposition parties did not participate in most of the committee meetings, specifically during 2015 and in the first part of 2016.
Opposition members boycotted the Committee and Assembly’s work, in general, due to their opposition to the Agreement on Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo and the demarcation of the border between Kosovo and Montenegro. This affected the number of the Committee’s meetings for the parliamentary supervision of the KP and prevented an effective civil supervision of the security sector by the Assembly, in general.
It is recommended to the Assembly to use their own budget to invest in building Committee’s professional resources by hiring experts that are knowledgeable of security issues and internal affairs and to build internal professional capacities.