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New Criminal Codes enter force in Kosovo

Prishtina, 7 April 2004 - All Kosovar dailies report that the provisional criminal code and the provisional criminal procedure code have entered force yesterday in Kosova. They salute the decision, by noting that these laws are going to replace former Yugoslav laws. ‘The death of the anti-Albanian legislation,’ writes a columnist in “Epoka e Re”.

The DSRSG and head of Pillar I, Jean Christian Cady, was quoted as saying, “This is an historic date. It will be the first time that judges and prosecutors of Kosovo will deliver justice using codes created in Kosovo and for Kosova.”

“Kosova Sot” quotes OSCE Head of Mission in Kosovo Pascal Fieschi as saying that 6 April will be a historical day for Kosovo.

UNMIK chief Harri Holkeri stated that the provisional ‘Criminal Law for Kosova’ and ‘Law on Criminal Proceedings,’ which entered into force yesterday, represent a turning point in the establishment of the rule of law in Kosova, and bring the legal system of Kosova up to European standards. He stressed that although the new law contains many regulations of the Criminal Law of Serbia & Montenegro (SCG), it also contains many new regulations like those that are designed to protect human rights and counter terrorism and organized crime. Holkeri said that these laws were "in accord with UN Resolution 1244," because they "will resolve many problems which we have had," but declined to comment whether they infringe on the sovereignty of the SCG. The President of the Kosova Supreme Court Rexhep Haxhimusa commented that the coming into force of the two penal codes has a special significance for Kosova “because the discontinuation with the former legal systems, their rules and regulations that have been in force from the war to the present day has finally taken place, on the formal as well as on the material level,” while Prishtina University Professor of Criminal law Ismet Salihu stated that “not only legal but also political aspects of these laws are at issue. They demonstrate that this society has reached a certain level of development since they are an integral part of the state prerogatives,” dailies reported.

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