Kosovo Negotiation team. Photo: BIRN.

Court declares Kosovo’s negotiation team ‘unconstitutional’

The Kosovo team established to negotiate with Serbia in Brussels was ruled unconstitutional on Thursday as the law establishing the team was deemed "entirely incompatible" with the constitution.

The Constitutional Court in Kosovo on Thursday has thrown the future of the national negotiating team with Serbia into question after ruling that its mandate and competences of were unconstitutional.

The Court ruled on Thursday that its competences and the mandate overlapped with the competences of existing institutions as stipulated in the constitution. It said that five articles that regulate the mandate of the team were in violation with the constitution.

The ruling was a victory for a group of 32 deputies from opposition parties who sent the case to the court, claiming that the team did not represent the interests of the Kosovo people.

The court concludes that “representation of foreign policy is the responsibility of constitutional institutions of the Republic of Kosovo”, and that powers to reach an international agreement cannot be transferred from constitutional institutions to what it called “special mechanisms”.

The court also found that the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo is obliged to oversee the foreign policy within the constitutional competences.

Parliament had delegated the competences for negotiations in the EU-led dialogue with Serbia to the team, consisting of 11 members, with representatives from government, opposition and civil society.

However, representatives of the opposition Vetevendosje party and the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK refused to take up their seats on the team, and instead sent the case to the Constitutional Court in March.

The EU-led dialogue process has, in fact, stalled since Kosovo Prime Minister Haradinaj imposed a 100 per cent tariff on Serbian imports in November 2018.

“The decision of the Constitutional Court is a blow to the State Delegation, and the continued existence of this team after this decision does not make sense anymore, as its functioning does not have a legal basis any longer,” Violeta Haxholli, from the Kosovo Democratic Institute, told BIRN.

“This delegation, which was created without the support of the whole political spectrum, and with an absence of legitimacy, has now been disputed even by the highest state institution – the Constitutional Court,” she added.

27/06/2019 - 16:39

27 June 2019 - 16:39

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