Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Vermont Bar Journal, Spring 2017, Volume 43, No. 1 - Page 24

Kosovo last count, including the US, but not Serbia or Russia. It has about 2 million people, the youngest population in Europe, and educa- tional standards are high. The vast major- ity—about 90%—are ethnic Albanian, but with various Serbian enclaves. It’s primar- ily a Muslim country, mostly secular in Pris- tina the capital, but much more observant in the smaller cities and villages. Kosovo is now a constitutional democra- cy with a President, Prime Minister and Par- liament. Unfortunately, the government is often dysfunctional and seems to grind to a halt over seemingly minor events. Most ob- servers believe that corruption is rampant at all levels of government and society. In- deed, many high government officials, in- cluding judges, have been indicted and prosecuted by EULEX. Unemployment country-wide is very high, especially among young people, and the average wage is low, although there is a flourishing underground economy. The standard of living in the capital is much higher than in the villages. There is limited foreign investment and hardly any industry. Many of the young, well-educated peo- ple despair about their future in a corrupt society with a weak economy and few jobs. Unfortunately, it seems the best way to get a job is through nepotism, or paying bribes or providing sexual favors. It is believed that many would leave if they could. KLA veterans are prominent in politics and government, including the present President, and are still worshipped as war heroes. There is also a very strong clan mentality which lends itself to organized crime, routine witness intimidation and a strong fear of testifying truthfully, or testi- fying at all, for fear of retribution. On the positive side, my experience tells me that Kosovo Albanians love Americans because of our support during the war and during their drive for independence. Hillary and Bill Clinton were wildly popular and there is a large statue of Bill Clinton on Bill Clinton Avenue in the capital. EULEX EULEX was created and funded by the 28 countries of the European Union, and supported by the United States. Its mis- sion is to maintain stability and improve the rule of law in Kosovo. When I was there, EULEX had about 1,200 international em- ployees and about 1,000 local employees. The vast majority worked in customs, po- licing, corrections, and support services. There was a small contingent of about 30 U.S. police officers, as well as 2-3 prose- cutors and 2-3 judges, but not necessarily all at the same time. Indeed, there were long periods when I was the only Ameri- can judge. EULEX is now in the process of downsiz- ing and has been handing over responsi- bility to local institutions including the ju- diciary. Its present mandate expires in June 2018. During my time, there were only about 35-40 international judges, and only about a third were criminal trial judges. There were also a significant number of in- ternational prosecutors and law clerks. EULEX had criminal jurisdiction over war crimes occurring during the war of 1998- 99, as well as other serious crimes occur- ring since the war, such as terrorism, orga- nized crime, human trafficking, drug traf- ficking, corruption and inter-ethnic vio- lence. The international criminal judges were embedded in the Kosovo justice sys- tem. We followed Kosovo law and proce- dure, and shared courthouses and facilities with local judges. EULEX cases were heard and decided by three judge panels, —with no juries. The panels consisted of two international judg- es and one local judge on the sound theory that the local judiciary was not prepared to hold a majority in sensitive cases. The pre- siding judge of the panel was always an in- ternational. However, the composition of the panels is now changing to a local ma- jority as EULEX transfers more and more re- sponsibility to the local judiciary. The judg- es and law clerks I worked with were from a laundry list of European countries: the UK, Germany, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Por- tugal, Latvia, Ireland, Finland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Roma- nia and the Czech Republic. Reaching decisions in individual cases could be an arduous and frustrating task. We all had different ways of interpreting substantive law and procedure and weigh- ing evidence. Common law jurisprudence was a novelty and did not mesh well with the various European systems, including Kosovo’s. Also, my impression was that the local judges were always looking over their shoulder in sensitive cases involving politi- cal figures or war heroes. 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