KWN member organization NORMA Lawyers Association organized a roundtable titled “Gender Equality in the Right for Inheritance” on 16 Sep. They presented findings resulting from three months of monitoring courts in Gjilan, Prizren, Mitrovica, Lipljan and Podujevo. Afterwards the discussion was opened for suggestions for further steps.
The roundtable gathered more than 20 people from civil society, courts, notary offices and the University of Prishtina to discuss this important issue.
Even though the Kosovo Law on Inheritance exists, not much has been done on raising awareness towards its implementation.
“In so many cases women hesitated to demand their right about inheritance, sometimes because of traditions and other times from lack of information on the existence of these opportunities and the procedures that should be taken,” said one of the representatives of NGO Norma.
“Alone, the court cannot do anything in this direction; we should raise awareness among both women and men that traditions should not take precedence; the law exists and should be respected,” said a lawyer from the Kosovo Court of Appeals.
Mr. Haxhi Gashi, professor at the Law Faculty at the University of Prishtina, explained that death registration of citizens is important for Kosovo’s development, including the issue of inheritance. Otherwise the procedures for obtaining inheritance become so difficult that women give up this right.
“The existing law is very thorough, but there is a section called ‘renouncement to inheritance’, and it is used very frequently,” said Mr. Gashi. “The wife has equal rights with her husband to inherit: first from her family and then from her partner after they marry.”
One of the many proposals was to change this provision in the existing law so that inheritance occurs ex officio (automatically) and need not be claimed. The final recommendations that will result from this roundtable and Norma’s research will soon be published by the Norma Lawyers Association.
This roundtable was part of a project funded by Kosova Women’s Fund (KWF).KWF receives support from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Kvinna till Kvinna.