Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development, Group for Legal and Political Studies, Kosovo Women s Network, Community Building Mitrovica, Syri i Vizionit, EC Ma Ndryshe and INPO has submitted today the petition to the Presidency with 12.764 signatures of citizens who asks to change the draft law on amnesty, along with the request to return the draft law to the Assembly.
The complete letter directed to the President is:
Dear Madame President,
We address you with the petition signed by 12.764 citizens of the Republic of Kosovo within 4 days, in which they expressed their concern regarding the current version of the Law on Amnesty, approved by the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo on 11 July 2013.
We ask that in line with your constitutional responsibilities, you take forward in addressing of concerns expressed by signatories of this petition – as well as of the general public – that such a law is in accordance with standards of the state based on the justice and rule of law, an obligation that Kosovo must strictly enforce.v We agree in principle on the importance of the existence of this law, which aims to integrate the northern part of the Republic of Kosovo, however, with its current content the law goes beyond this objective. As such, the law creates consequences in the functioning of a justice system for all the territory of Kosovo.
We kindly ask you that, as you review this law, in line with your constitutional powers, you send the law back to the Assembly of Kosovo, to take into account the following remarks:
1. This law has emerged as a requirement of the First Agreement for the Normalization of Relations between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia, and should address the persons/entities that have been a subject of this agreement. The current version of the law is far from making such a distinction, and provides room for the amnesty of even persons/entities that were not subject of the agreement.
2. Some of the offenses that are granted amnesty under the law, outside of section 1.1.15, such as economic crime, smuggling, property usurpation, illegal possession of weapons, arson, unauthorized border crossing, or engaging in medical and pharmaceutical activities, should not be given amnesty if they are not linked to the condition that the political offense is committed by Serbian structures in the north of Kosovo.
3. Criminal offenses that receive amnesty under Article 1.1.15 allow plenty of room for interpretation and abuse. If the real intention of the perpetrators of those acts was political, it should be explicitly linked to the condition that the perpetrator of the crime committed the act while at the same time committed the crime of "Assault on the constitutional order of the Republic of Kosovo" (Article 121 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kosovo). In the current version of Article 1.1.15, it refers to ‘calls for resistance’ offence representing a criminal offense which may be alleged to have been committed not only by persons/entities who operated under the authority of Serbia, but also by any other persons in the territory of Kosovo.
4. Amnesty is a political and legal action therefore we insist that it should only apply from the moment of entering into force of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, and therefore should have a limitation on the period of its start, namely from 15 June 2008 to 20 June 2013.
5. We request the involvement of civil society and external actors in the review process of this law, which is necessary in order for this law to enable the strengthening of the rule of law in the country based on the justice principles and democratic values and not to its detriment.
Being convinced that this requirement expressed by petition of 12.764 citizens of the Republic of Kosovo will encounter positive response from your side, please accept our highest considerations.
On behalf of the organizers and supporters of the petition