The Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo* (OIK), as an institution based on the constitution is mandated to monitor, protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Law on the protection from discrimination designates the Ombudsperson as the state institution for equality and it makes specific reference to the EU equal treatment directives. According to the Law on Ombudsperson, the OIK is composed of an Ombudsperson, five Deputy Ombudspersons and the staff of the OIK. The Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo guarantees the independence of the institution, while the Law on Ombudsperson foresees that the budget of the OIK can only be decreased with the approval of the Ombudsperson and any additional competences must be accompanied by additional, appropriate and specific financial and human resources.
In the framework of its powers, the OIK conducts investigations on complaints received from any natural or legal person and it can start ex officio investigations against public entities. The OIK conducts investigations, issues recommendations, publishes reports, and provides services free of charge and public advocacy to all citizens of Kosovo. It may also issue recommendations to relevant public authorities, publish reports on different issues and conduct activities aimed at awareness-raising and promotion of good equality practices. The OIK can act as amicus curiae in judicial processes that are related to human rights, equality and protection from discrimination. The OIK can deal with discrimination complaints on an open list of grounds and in all areas of life.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
The Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo was established by UNMIK Regulation 2000/38 for the purpose of enhancing the protection of human rights in Kosovo. On 11 July 2000, Mr. Marek Antoni Nowicki was appointed as the first Ombudsperson of Kosovo. The Ombudsperson Institution was formally inaugurated on 21 November 2000.
Through the years, with the assistance of various international organizations that operates in Kosovo, the institution evolved both in terms of the mandate, but also strengthen itself with additional legal guarantees.
The Ombudsperson Institution was included as a constitutional category in the first Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, as an institution which monitors, defends and protects the rights and freedoms of individuals from unlawful or improper acts or failures to act of public authorities, which independently exercises his duty and does not accept any instructions or intrusions from the organs, institutions or other authorities exercising state authority in the Republic of Kosovo.
In 2015, the Human Rights Law Package was adopted by the Parliament. The legislation in which our institution base its mandate was approved in 2015 as part of a human rights law package, when three basic new human rights laws entered into force: Law on the Ombudsperson, Law for Protection from Discrimination and Law on Gender Equality, which vested new mandates and additional competences to the Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo.
These laws were approved after a thorough assessment from a group of experts assigned from the Council of Europe, which produced an opinion on how to further advance the legal basis for the operation of the Ombudsperson Institution. Their opinion was based on the Venice Commission standards and also Paris Principles, but also ECRI General Recommendation no. 2, which where a roadmap for all the provisions set forth in this law package. As such, it has strengthened the role of this the institution, adding provisions that guarantee organizational, administrative and financial independence. Furthermore, this Law has extended functional immunity not only for the Ombudsperson and his deputies, but to its entire staff. All authorities are obliged to respond to the Ombudsperson on his requests on conducting investigations, as well as provide adequate support according to his/her request, and furthermore the government and the municipalities are obliged to provide space or offices suitable for work in public ownership in order to enable effective performance of the functions and responsibilities of the Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo (OIK) and most importantly guarantees financial independence. In particular, Article 35 of this law provides that “Regardless of the provisions of other Laws, the Ombudsperson Institution prepares its annual budget proposal and submits it for approval to the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo*, which cannot be shorter than previous year approved budget. Budget may be shortened only by the approval of the Ombudsperson.“ As these strong legal guarantees are in place, we didn’t have any threat to our independence.
Amicus curiae brief or similar, Bringing proceedings in the name of the equality body [with or without an identifiable victim] but on behalf of one or more individual person(s) who consents to this.
Field Grounds Employment Gender Gender Identity Sexual Orientation Race and Ethnic Origin Religion or Belief Age Disability Health Status Family Status Social or Socio-economic Status View Education Gender Gender Identity Sexual Orientation Race and Ethnic Origin Religion or Belief Age Disability Health Status Family Status Social or Socio-economic Status View Housing Gender Gender Identity Sexual Orientation Race and Ethnic Origin Religion or Belief Age Disability Health Status Family Status Social or Socio-economic Status View Social Protection & Healthcare Gender Gender Identity Sexual Orientation Race and Ethnic Origin Religion or Belief Age Disability Health Status Family Status Social or Socio-economic Status View Goods and Services Gender Gender Identity Sexual Orientation Race and Ethnic Origin Religion or Belief Age Disability Health Status Family Status Social or Socio-economic Status View Other Gender Gender Identity Sexual Orientation Race and Ethnic Origin Religion or Belief Age Disability Health Status Family Status Social or Socio-economic Status View
Addressing violence against women, Addressing hate crimes, Addressing hate speech
Multi-mandate equality body
National human rights institution, Office of Ombudsman, NPM under National Preventive Mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, Equality Body
Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)
According to the Law on the Ombudsperson, when it comes to the election of the Ombudsman, the Assembly of the Republic Kosovo has to publish the competition for election, in written and electronic media. The time period of the competition cannot be shorter than fifteen (15) nor longer than twenty (20) days.
After expiration of time period foreseen in paragraph 4 of this Article, the selection Panel (hereinafter: the Panel) appointed by the competent Committee on Human Rights of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo (hereinafter: the Committee), within the period of fifteen (15) days, assesses whether the candidates meet the requirements envisaged by the Constitution and this Law to be elected Ombudsperson, and rejects nominees who do not meet the requirements determined in the competition. During the election procedure of candidates for Ombudsperson, ethnic and gender representation must be encouraged.
The Panel conducts interview with each candidate who meets the conditions to be elected for Ombudsperson and based on the data presented and the interview results, prepares the short list of candidates qualified for Ombudsperson. The short list comprises of three (3) candidates, except in cases when within the group of three (3) candidates, there are more candidates with equal assessment points. The selection Panel submits the list of the candidates to the Committee. Proposal for Ombudsperson is made by the Committee. The Committee, attached to the short list, submits to the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo the list of all candidates who meet the requirements to be elected for Ombudsperson. The proposal of the Committee contains the justification why the Panel has given priority to some of the candidates in comparison with other candidates. The Ombudsperson is elected by the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, with the majority of votes of all its deputies for a term of five (5) years, without the right of re-election.
Conditions for election of the Ombudsperson and his/her deputies are foreseen with the article 6 of the Law on the Ombudsperson. According to it, the Ombudsperson and his/her deputies are elected persons who meet the following criteria:1.1. should be a citizen of the Republic of Kosovo;1.2. should have higher university education;1.3. should have character, honesty and high moral;1.4. should be experienced and have distinguished knowledge in the field of human rights;1.5. should not exercise any function in any political party, not be a assembly member in the legislature of the Republic of Kosovo Assembly that elects him/her, or as a government cabinet member.
National Parliament, National Audit Institution