The Criminal Code and Criminal Procedural Code of Kosovo, together with other laws from the fields of criminal and procedural law, provide protection of human rights to all of Kosovo's citizens based on the most advanced international standards of human rights. The Criminal Code of Kosovo increases the number of human rights and freedoms that are protected by law. The most important human rights and freedoms that benefit from this protection are the right to life and security of the person; fundamental rights and freedoms; and the rights to honor, reputation, personal dignity, marriage, family, and health. In the Criminal Code of Kosovo, criminal offenses against human rights and freedoms are gathered in a particular group and some are punished more severely than before. The importance of legal and criminal protection of the human rights and freedoms can be gleaned from this treatment in the Criminal Code.
The Criminal Procedure Code of Kosovo protects the most basic criminal rights, including the right to integrity and human dignity, the right to freedom and individual security, the right to a fair trial, the right to respect for private and family life, and the right to inviolability of residence and correspondence. The most important international and regional standards and documents dealing with human rights and fundamental freedoms are incorporated into the Criminal Procedure Code in order to protect these fundamental rights.
Despite the giant step forward that is represented by the Codes, nevertheless applying these standards requires having a better and more efficient organization of the legal institutions—that is, of the courts, offices of public prosecutors, and police, among others. Currently, there is confusion over the responsibilities of UNMIK versus Kosovar institutions. Moreover, the Codes were not approved by the Kosovo Assembly; the civil administration approved the adoption of the Codes. In order to fulfill one of the most important standards set forth by the international community as a condition for the beginning of negotiations on final status, Kosovar institutions need to be allowed to democratically approve the laws that are imposed on the society and take responsibility for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens.
Protection of Human Rights under Kosovo's Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
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