The Department of State’s study included a thorough survey and assessment of the status of human rights practice in Kosovo as well as around the globe.
“Many in the opposition, civil society, and the media assumed that senior officials engaged in corruption with impunity” which is mostly due to the inadequate implementation of Kosovar legislation on corrupt practice, the report said.
Societal violence and institutional discriminations emerged as critical human rights issues, along with abuses and degrading treatments frequently reported from both government officials and the police.
The voluminous report was released on March 3, in line with a State Department’s practice instituted in the 1970s by congressional mandate.
Corruption mostly goes unpunished
The report stated that pervasive corruption continues to plague Kosovo’s private and public sector, including the judiciary and penitentiary systems.
“The government took steps to prosecute and punish officials who committed abuses in the security services or elsewhere in the government”, yet only few among those investigated and charged with corruption were ultimately convicted in 2016.
“A lack of effective judicial oversight and general weakness in the rule of law contributed to the problem,” the report said.
Moreover, the report added that a general lack of transparency characterizes the government’s practice. Civil society organizations often lamented that “government institutions rarely provided requested information or acknowledged the existence of particular documents requested” in violation of legislation that guarantees public access to government information.
Violent attempts to obstruct law making process and free debate
Although international observers considered the last parliamentary elections held in Kosovo in June 2014 to be “free and fair”, serious institutional dysfunctionalities remain.
“One of the most serious human rights problems was the occasionally violent obstruction of parliament by opposition deputies, blocking free debate and the passage of legislation,” the report said.
Several times during 2016 members of the government and MPs were deliberately targeted with tear gas, pepper spray, and projectiles inside the parliament’s plenary hall by representatives of opposition parties including Vetevendosje, Nisma, and Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.