The Justice System Strengthening Program (JSSP), a five-year, $11.3 million task order, was awarded to Millennium in November 2015, and ended in September 2020. JSSP provided support to United States Government objectives to develop democratic freedoms that provide justice, peace, and stability. JSSP will increase the capacity of the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC), improve court administration and case management, and assist integration of courts in the North into the Kosovo Justice System.
JSSP addressed impediments to judicial efficiency, transparency, accountability, and integration to improve the performance of Kosovo’s justice institutions and actors and promote greater public confidence in the system. While, pursuant to its contract, assistance to the KJC was the centerpiece of JSSP’s efforts, support was also provided to other key institutional actors with a role in ensuring that Kosovo’s justice system operates in an efficient and effective manner, such as the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Constitutional Court of Kosovo (CCK), Kosovo Justice Academy (KJA), and courts.
Accomplishments of the JSSP include:
- Finalizing and supporting the implementation of necessary sub-legal acts by the KJC;
- Ensuring an appropriate budget planning and implementation process for the KJC;
- Improving the KJC’s capacity to fulfill its mandate through adjustments to its organizational structure, leadership, and working methods;
- Supporting the decentralization of administrative functions from the KJC Secretariat to courts;
- Supporting initiatives to give the judiciary more management control over non-judicial personnel;
- Supporting backlog reduction, and developing mechanisms for reducing trial postponements;
- Creating policies for records management and retention
- Developing uniform leadership and management skills for court administrators.
- Promoting the engagement and empowerment of young women in the judiciary through a Women Judge Mentorship Program designed to enhance performance, professionalism, and leadership abilities. Participants took part in discussions and trainings on work/life balance, public speaking, and leadership skills.
- Introducing Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) for judges;
- Establishing a mechanism and practice for posting judgments on court websites in a timely manner;
- Developing best practice recommendations for judicial disciplinary bodies to use in initiating, screening, investigating, hearing, and resolving judicial complaints;
- Updating the judicial Code of Ethics to the standards set forth in the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and expanding training to justice sector employees on ethics;
- Establishing a process for posting disciplinary decisions on the KJC website in a timely manner;
- Supporting professionalism and public integrity initiatives to assist in a culture of lawfulness and independence of judges;
- Supporting implementation of the CCK’s Legal Advisors Unit training plan;
- Supporting key CCK staff with increased management skills, and supporting improved communication with the public through the court’s website
- Improving the judiciary’s communications and engagement with the media, civil society, and public.