Transitional or Hybrid Regime
DEMOCRACY-PERCENTAGE Democracy Percentage 38.10 100
DEMOCRACY-SCORE Democracy Score 3.29 7
Last Year's Democracy Percentage & Status
38 100 Transitional or Hybrid Regime
The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 1 the lowest. The Democracy Score is an average of ratings for the categories tracked in a given year. The Democracy Percentage, introduced in 2020, is a translation of the Democracy Score to the 0-100 scale, where 0 equals least democratic and 100 equals most democratic. See the methodology.

header1 Author


header2 Score changes in 2023

  • Civil Society rating increased from 4.50 to 4.75 due to protests and campaigns by women’s rights activists and NGOs that resulted in the government amending the criminal code to increase penalties for gender-based violence; efforts by NGOs to build bridges between ethnic groups and advocate for a normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo; and increased organizing by unions of public institutions and employers.

As a result, Kosovo’s Democracy Score improved from 3.25 to 3.29.

header3 Executive Summary

In 2022, Kosovo experienced tensions in the country’s Serb-majority north as the government enforced “reciprocity measures”1 on drivers with Serbian license plates entering Kosovo as well as Serbia-issued IDs.2 Locals in the northern Serb-majority municipalities—North Mitrovica, Leposavić, Zvečan, and Zubin Potok—did not welcome the government’s measures and staged two protests. Organizers placed barricades on roads leading to the border with Serbia. The first demonstration lasted almost 2 days in the summer, and the next lasted for 20 days in December. The protests by local Serbs showed the influence of Belgrade in the north of Kosovo, highlighting the difficulties that central and local institutions face in expanding authority and the rule of law to this territory, and the need for a finalized agreement with Serbia. Nonetheless, despite these obstacles, the Kosovo government responded promptly by increasing police patrols and collaborating with international organizations present in the country in order to increase the sense of security, while also prioritizing the EU-mediated dialogue with Serbia on an international level.

The dialogue included constant meetings of the delegations, and heads of state in Brussels, as well as visits by international envoys and representatives to Kosovo and Serbia to urge collaboration and de-escalation of tensions. In June, Kosovo and Serbia agreed on a road map to implement previous agreements on energy3 that would allow a Serbian company to receive a license by the Kosovo Energy Regulatory Office for energy distribution in the four northern Serb-majority municipalities. The eventual implementation of these agreements would allow for the residents of these four municipalities to be charged for their electricity consumption, relieving the Kosovo national budget from shouldering these costs since 2017.4

Following the first round of protests with barricades in Jarinje and Bernjak, Kosovo and Serbia decided in August to allow citizens to cross borders using IDs issued by their respective country. Despite this agreement, Serbia emphasized that it does not recognize Kosovo.5 The issue of license plates remained unresolved at year’s end: Kosovo wanted its ethnic Serb citizens to change their Serbia-issued IDs and add the necessary acronyms of Kosovo cities to their plates, a move opposed by Serbia. The situation in northern Kosovo often shifted the government’s focus towards de-escalating tensions, increasing international talks, and finalizing an agreement with Serbia, thus distracting officials from daily governance issues and implementation of deeper reforms.

Kosovo held no national or local elections in 2022. However, the country was close to holding polls in the four northern Serb-majority municipalities after the mass resignation of Serbs from the Assembly, the country’s unicameral parliament, and other institutions in early November in protest of the government’s license-plate measures. Kosovo president Vjosa Osmani decided to hold extraordinary local elections in the four municipalities on December 18. Throughout 2022, Prime Minister Albin Kurti and President Osmani maintained a unified stance on various issues, strengthening their alliance in domestic politics, including their approach towards the country’s Serb-majority north. However, due to the rising tensions there and international pressure, the elections were postponed until April 2023.

Kosovo’s civic sector remained active in 2022, with groups organizing protests for women’s rights and against violence towards women. Successful campaigns included advocating for the removal of VAT taxes on menstrual products and a budget increase for domestic violence shelters. After constant protests and pressure from civil society, the government introduced legislative changes that would allow cases of gender-based violence to be prioritized since police and judicial authorities have tended to give lenient sentences to such perpetrators.6 Given that Kosovo’s patriarchal society still poses challenges for women, including systemic abuse by spouses and relatives,7 the government’s initiative to fight against lenient sentences and prioritize cases of gender-based violence is an enormous victory for civil society and the country.

Celebration of the LGBT+ Pride Parade in the capital Pristina was organized without incident for the fifth year in a row as the LGBT+ community becomes more outspoken through the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Drag shows have also become a common occurrence in the capital, and a drag performer participated in a television reality show, Big Brother Kosovo, for the first time. Yet the situation in rural areas and smaller cities is still difficult, with many individuals requesting NGO assistance for shelter and employment. Kosovo currently lacks a shelter for LGBT+ persons in crisis, so NGOs collaborate with a facility in Albania.8 On marriage equality rights, the religious community in Kosovo has strongly influenced the population and policymaking, leading to the Assembly’s rejection of a draft civil code due to its language acknowledging same-sex unions.

Kosovo made moves during the year to assist foreign journalists from countries in conflict, supporting residency programs hosting 20 Ukrainian journalists fleeing war and 5 Afghan journalists fleeing persecution. The government claimed that such programs show its support towards the media; meanwhile, international and domestic media organizations argue that journalists in Kosovo are often victims of attacks due to lenient sentencing, and face pressure and toxic rhetoric from politicians The Association of Journalists of Kosovo registered some 38 physical and verbal attacks against journalists during the year, with 8 attacks in December alone during the barricade protests on roads to borders with Serbia. Kosovo’s prosecution had yet to file indictments in any of these cases by year’s end.

On a positive note, the parliament increased the independence of the public broadcaster (RTK) by electing a new board of directors in December 2021, which only one month later dismissed the general director due to abuses of duty, nepotism, and biased reporting.9 However, the small budget allocated to RTK in recent years has undermined these advances, and its managing board complained in November that such limited funding has made it hard for the broadcaster to pay its debts.10 In general, due to its financial dependency, RTK has difficulty remaining politically neutral, with the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) exerting longtime influence, and low funding further heightens the risk of biased reporting.

In 2022, leading politicians were often accused of interfering with the judiciary, and court decisions over a Serbian Orthodox monastery were not implemented despite international urging. While the Kosovo Special Court provided a historic verdict on war crimes against a former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) member, the lenient punishment for corruption and cases of sexual and gender-based violence has been criticized.

Kosovo took steps in the fight against corruption in 2022, with police operations against bribery leading to arrests of around 100 border officials. Additionally, the government launched a large-scale operation against illegal construction and corrupt officials, which led to the confiscation of 75 villas from judges, politicians, and their family members at the Brezovica Mountain Resort.11 The center-left/left-wing Vetëvendosje Movement (Lëvizja Vetëvendosje, LVV), currently leading the government, is perceived by the Kosovo population as the least corrupt government yet in the country. The party considers the fight against corruption as one of its core promises and achievements, as demonstrated by its actions on high-level wrongdoing.

header4 At-A-Glance

Despite the stabilization of leadership after the previous year’s snap elections, national governance in Kosovo nevertheless worsened in 2022. The EU-mediated dialogue with Serbia was a high priority, with a final agreement seen as important for Kosovo’s economic growth, democratic and social development, and international participation as an equal sovereign state. The failure to reach such agreements resulted in unilateral decisions by Kosovo, leading to protests from local Serbs in the country’s Serb-majority north. Civil society continued to play a key role in designing and implementing policy initiatives, such as advocating tougher penalties for offenders of gender-based violence. Meanwhile, journalists continued to face risks in their professional duties as institutions failed to ensure a secure environment, implement sufficient protections, or solve media-related cases. During the year, the government worked on a potential justice system reform by compiling a draft law on the judicial vetting process, and the judiciary increased its efforts to try war-crime cases. The country’s prosecution also conducted several high-profile investigations leading to arrests and confiscations in the fight against corruption.

National Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the democratic character of the governmental system; and the independence, effectiveness, and accountability of the legislative and executive branches. 3.003 7.007
  • Despite tensions in the country’s north and the ongoing EU-mediated dialogue with Serbia in 2022, Kosovo’s prime minister, Albin Kurti (Lëvizja Vetëvendosje, LVV), President Vjosa Osmani (Guxo), and Assembly Speaker Glauk Konjufca (LVV) nonetheless signed the application for European Union (EU) candidacy in May.1 Becoming an EU candidate is an uphill struggle for Kosovo since five EU member states do not recognize its independence, and a final agreement with Serbia is required.2 In April, President Osmani announced that Kosovo would strive to meet NATO membership criteria in hopes of one day joining the EU; meanwhile, there was a lack of unanimous support from NATO members to accept Kosovo’s membership bid.
  • The issue of establishing the Association of Serb Municipalities, outlined in a 2013 Brussels Agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, remains one of the main topics in negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels. Serbia continues to push for its implementation, while Kosovo maintains that the association violates its constitution and undermines the country’s multiethnic character. Serbian-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo have close ties to the Serbian government in Belgrade and keep the Kosovan state at arm’s length.3 Local Serbs view the establishment of the association as a way to address their “state of vacuum,” that is, living within Kosovo but following the laws and regulations of Serbia. As such, they believe the association will clarify their status and help them fully integrate in Kosovo institutions. On the other hand, Kosovo Albanians are concerned that the association might be given executive powers, which could pose a threat to Kosovo’s sovereignty. Among Kosovo Albanians, there is a fear that the association could provide Serbia with official control of Serb-majority areas, ultimately undermining Kosovo’s independence and statehood.
  • In early November, there were mass resignations of mayors in the four Serb-majority municipalities. As a result, the respective municipal assembly members no longer represent the majority ethnic group in the municipalities, particularly in North Mitrovica, where the resigned officials were replaced with ethnic Albanian representatives.4
  • The war in Ukraine increased the level of uncertainty in Kosovo given the close ties between Serbia and Russia.5 This has led to an increase in disinformation and fake news about the escalation of tensions between Kosovo and Serbia. Local and international experts recommended that Kosovo leverage the momentum of Western support for Ukraine to intensify its own efforts for international recognition and membership in international organizations.6 Russia has used the “Kosovo case” to justify its invasion of Ukraine since it does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.7
  • While Kurti and Osmani are allies, there have been differences of opinion among members of their respective political entities, Kurti’s center-left/left-wing LVV and Osmani’s center-right Guxo! (Dare!) list. For example, while Mimoza Kusari-Lila, head of the LVV parliamentary group working on the draft civil code, had argued that it would enable future legislation to permit same-sex marriages, not all of the LVV members voted in favor of the draft.8
  • In September, an Assembly member from Guxo list, Daorsa Kica-Xhelili, officially joined the parliamentary group of the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).9 Since then, Kica-Xhelili has opposed the government in parliamentary sessions.10
Electoral Process 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines national executive and legislative elections, the electoral framework, the functioning of multiparty systems, and popular participation in the political process. 3.504 7.007
  • Kosovo held no national or local elections in 2022. However, citizens of the Serb-majority north had problems voting in Serbia’s elections and tensions arose due to mass resignations that required extraordinary local elections, which were not held due to protests by the Serb community.
  • In March, Serbian authorities announced that polling stations for Kosovo Serbs to vote in Serbia’s April 3 elections would open in four towns in Serbia.1 This was decided after Kosovo’s government refused to allow ethnic Serbs to vote in the Serbian elections at polling stations placed within the territory of Kosovo. This decision was not welcomed by Serbian political representatives in Kosovo and Serbia. In a joint statement on March 23, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom—or the Quint—claimed that Kosovo had failed in demonstrating a commitment to protect the civil and political rights of its citizens.2
  • Due to the mass resignation of ethnic Serbs from Kosovo institutions in November, the four Serb-majority municipalities of North Mitrovica, Leposavić, Zvečan, and Zubin Potok were left without mayors and municipal assembly members. The extraordinary local elections were first scheduled by President Osmani for December 18,3 but later postponed till April 2023.4 The Belgrade-backed Srpska Lista, which won the vast majority of votes in all four municipalities in the previous year’s local elections, decided to boycott the elections planned for December 18.5 Despite the multi-ethnicity enshrined in Kosovo’s constitution, on December 14, ethnic Albanians replaced the resigned ethnic Serbs as municipal assembly members in North Mitrovica.
  • Before the postponement of municipal elections in the four Serb-majority municipalities, Kosovo police reported that masked individuals damaged the offices of municipal electoral commissions in northern Kosovo using Yugoslav-made hand grenades, among other dangerous means.6 Officials of the Central Election Commission and police were also attacked. A former Kosovo policeman, Dejan Pantic, was arrested as a suspect in organizing what was considered a terrorist attack7 by Kosovo authorities.8
  • On April 13, the Assembly held a meeting to create an ad hoc commission for electoral reform in order to review draft amendments to the law on general elections. The international community welcomed9 this move as a way to increase citizen trust in election processes and improve future elections. This work remained in its early stages at year’s end, and it is unclear whether a proper reform of elections and campaign financing will follow.
Civil Society 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Assesses the organizational capacity and financial sustainability of the civic sector; the legal and political environment in which it operates; the functioning of trade unions; interest group participation in the policy process; and the threat posed by antidemocratic extremist groups. 4.755 7.007
  • In 2022, Kosovo witnessed numerous protests staged by civil society, human rights organizations, unions of public institutions, and employers. In early July, environmental activists protested1 a decision by Pristina municipality to hold the Sunny Hill Festival, featuring the Kosovo-born international pop star Dua Lipa, in Germia national park. Despite their objections, the festival went ahead as planned.
  • Women’s rights activists continued chain protests2 into 2022 to combat lenient sentences3 in cases of sexual harassment, assault, and gender-based violence. In early January, activists demanded the maximum sentence for a man arrested for murdering his wife.
  • In late August, activists and citizens protested in Pristina for stronger measures against sexual violence after five men were arrested for the rape of an 11-year-old girl. Following these protests and calls from NGOs,4 the government approved amendments to the criminal code and criminal procedure code in October5 to increase penalties for rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
  • In December, Kosovo launched the state Protocol for Treatment of Sexual Violence Cases as part of the annual international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.” The protocol was drafted jointly by the Justice Ministry, civil society, and international actors.6 Spurring the government to better regulate gender-based violence cases may be described as one of civil society’s greatest achievements in Kosovo in recent years.
  • Civil society also built ethnic bridges in 2022 by coming together to request a constructive approach in the Kosovo Serbia dialogue. On December 21, a joint statement was issued by 35 civil society organizations calling for new voices to move relations forward together.7
  • The Union of Kosovo teachers was on strike during the month of September, leaving some 320,000 students out of class. The union requested a teacher salary increase of 100 euros per month until a law on salaries8 is finalized and enforced. After a month of picketing, the union put the strike on hold until January 2023.
  • Kosovo LGBT+ activists successfully organized the country’s fifth Pride Parade in Pristina, which occurred without incident. The LGBT+ community became more vocal during the year by participating in cultural events and television shows, like the drag performer featured on the reality show Big Brother Kosovo. However, there is still strong religious influence and reluctance to provide LGBT+ rights at the institutional level. A draft civil code was rejected in the Assembly due to public outrage over an article that could pave the way to legalize same-sex marriages. In a joint press conference, four leaders of Kosovo’s main religious communities voiced their objections to the draft law.9
  • During the barricades of northern roads by local Kosovo Serbs, members of the Narodne Patrole, a Serbian nationalist organization with ties to the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group, were also present.10
Independent Media 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines the current state of press freedom, including libel laws, harassment of journalists, and editorial independence; the operation of a financially viable and independent private press; and the functioning of the public media. 3.253 7.007
  • Media freedom is increasingly challenged in Kosovo as outlets continue to move away from government-critical coverage, and officials respond to journalists with more regulatory measures or smear campaigns. In 2022, the government assisted foreign journalists from countries in conflict and sought to increase the independence of the public broadcaster. Nonetheless, officials faced criticism for lacking transparency and exerting pressure on the media. Journalists risked attacks while reporting in the country’s Serb-majority north, but these incidents were largely isolated and not reflective of the overall media situation in Kosovo.
  • In April and December, the government participated in residency programs organized by international and local media groups, hosting 20 journalists from Ukraine who were fleeing the war and 5 journalists from Afghanistan who were fleeing persecution.1 While this showed broad support for media freedom, domestic journalists2 did not receive the same level of support at home and faced different kinds of attacks, negative rhetoric from officials, and difficulties getting responses from government representatives, who were only willing to respond to questions during organized press conferences.
  • In July, the Press Council of Kosovo reported3 that the country’s online media lack resources and expertise to effectively combat disinformation and fake news, including proper fact-checking and hiring or training specialists and editors.
  • In the same month, Assembly members from the ruling LVV called for tighter government regulation of online media, which was highly criticized by unions4 5 as an attempt to violate freedom of the media.6
  • In August,7 Kosovo made international headlines and went viral on social media when local Serbs placed barricades on roads near the Serbia border in the country’s north. Many of these reports and social media updates contained fake news about a war breaking out between Kosovo and Serbia. Kosovan media struggled to combat the deluge of disinformation, but some even propagated it to further their own agendas.
  • In October, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, released a monitoring report stating that despite 29 attacks on journalists in Kosovo in 2021, authorities did not take sufficient action to prevent further attacks in 2022—rather, they showed a lack of seriousness in addressing the issue and leniency for perpetrators.
  • One month later, in November, the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Safety of Journalists organized a conference in Pristina after a two-day visit to Kosovo by international media freedom organizations. The experts concluded that while Kosovo had made progress in depoliticizing the public broadcaster RTK, it remained underfunded, affecting its independence and programming. The organizations also identified such problematic issues as toxic rhetoric8 and smear campaigns9 by politicians against journalists as well as a lack of official transparency.
  • In December, many Kosovo journalists reporting from the Serb-majority north were attacked during the barricade protests on roads to the border with Serbia. According to the online database of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo, there were some 38 physical and verbal attacks against journalists in 2022, with 8 attacks occurring in December alone.10 Yet the Kosovo prosecution had yet to file any indictments in these cases by year’s end.
Local Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the decentralization of power; the responsibilities, election, and capacity of local governmental bodies; and the transparency and accountability of local authorities. 3.504 7.007
  • In late April, Kosovo opened alternative roads1 for citizens living in the Serb-majority north to be able to move freely without the need to move through Serbian territory. Roads were opened for traffic in collaboration with KFOR, NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, after authorities had closed various smuggling routes connecting Kosovo to Serbia in February and April.2 Ethnic Serbian members of the Assembly from the Belgrade-backed party Srpska Lista accused Kosovo of violating the right of movement to ethnic Serb citizens in the north. Between February and April, Kosovo border police reported being attacked six times by unknown individuals. The authorities described the attacks as acts of terrorism, which violated national security, and accused Serbia of stoking tensions and supporting criminal groups in Kosovo’s Serb-majority north.
  • On June 21, Kosovo and Serbia agreed on a road map for implementing energy agreements from 2013 and 2015, which allowed a subsidiary of the Serbian state-run energy company in Kosovo to take over electricity distribution in the Serb-majority municipalities.3 This meant that ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo would be billed for electricity for the first time since the end of the war. Three days after the agreement, Kosovo police confirmed that an explosive device was thrown at an electricity distribution facility in North Mitrovica.
  • Kosovo’s main point of contention in 2022 proved to be automobile license plates. On July 31, local Serbs in the north placed trucks loaded with gravel as barricades to block two border crossing points, protesting the Kosovo government’s so-called reciprocity measures against Serbia on the issue of license plates and IDs.4 In October, EULEX, the EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, expressed concern over the presence of armed persons at the barricades.5
  • On August 18, Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo prime minister Albin Kurti had a meeting in Brussels mediated by the EU, but yielding no results. Then, on August 27, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, announced on Twitter that a deal had been reached.6 The agreement involved Serbia abolishing entry/exit documents for Kosovo ID holders, while Kosovo agreed not to introduce them for Serbian ID holders. No agreement was reached on license plates.
  • In late October, PM Kurti announced that the government had decided on a phased implementation for changing over vehicle license plates from that point until April 2023.7 The decision confused Kosovo Serbs, and was not supported by Serbia. This difficulty in implementing decisions on license plates further highlighted the lack of rule of law in Kosovo’s Serb-majority north and the country’s struggle overall to control that part of its territory due to parallel structures with Serbia.8
  • On November 5, Kosovo Serbs staged mass resignations9 from the police, judiciary, and the parliament, thereby undermining the constitution’s principles of multi-ethnicity.10 Kosovo Serbs requested the formation of an Association of Serb-majority municipalities to represent the interests of the Serbian community in Kosovo.11 Along with protesting license plate implementation, they also protested the suspension of the regional director of the Kosovo police for the Serb-majority north, Nenad Djuric, who was suspected by authorities of calling for the resistance. At least six arson incidents were confirmed by the police against Kosovo Serbs who had switched to Kosovo-issued license plates.12
  • On December 10, locals in the Serb-majority north once again placed barricades blocking roads to the borders with Serbia. This time, the barricades were erected to protest the arrest of Dejan Pantic, a former local policeman accused of a terrorist attack on municipal election commission offices in North Mitrovica. The barricades remained in place for 20 days at 6 different roads compared to the first incident in August when 2 roads were blocked for several days. The borders were reopened on December 29 after President Vucic announced that the protesters’ conditions had been met.13 The barricade protests resulted in attacks against Kosovo and EULEX police forces and journalists alike.
  • The 2022 European Commission country report14 on Kosovo acknowledged some key positive steps taken, including development of overarching strategies on public administration reform (PAR) and public finance management (PFM) for 2022–26. However, the report highlighted a lack of progress in implementing the existing framework on public administration reform as a significant issue.
Judicial Framework and Independence 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Assesses constitutional and human rights protections, judicial independence, the status of ethnic minority rights, guarantees of equality before the law, treatment of suspects and prisoners, and compliance with judicial decisions. 2.753 7.007
  • In February, the Venice Commission recommended a complete reformation of Kosovo’s justice system to fix the lack of public trust, judicial corruption, prolongation of trials, inefficient disciplinary mechanisms, and nepotism.1 In September, PM Kurti and Justice Minister Albulena Haxhiu submitted a draft strategy on the judiciary’s vetting process2 to Assembly Speaker Glauk Konjufca.
  • In mid-December, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a hybrid court that includes international staff located in the Hague, sentenced former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) unit commander Salih Mustafa to 26 years3 in prison for the war crimes of arbitrary detention, torture, and murder. Mustafa4 was the first KLA member to be arrested and sent to detention in the Hague, and the first to receive a war-crimes verdict from the court established for this particular reason in 2015.5
  • In 2022, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers confirmed a trial against former Kosovo president Hashim Thaci and three others accused of war crimes in the 1990s, which is expected to start in 2023.6
  • One of the biggest court cases in 2022 was for the 2018 murder of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanović.7 The court faced constant obstacles in contacting witnesses who lived in Serbia due to the non-collaboration from Serbian authorities. Serbian businessman Milan Radoičić,8 a suspect in the case with an arrest warrant for bribery for illegal construction in the Brezovica national park, managed to enter Kosovo territory, or attempted to, without being arrested by the police.9 Radoičić’s escape demonstrated the lack of rule of law in Kosovo’s north. His presence in official meetings with President Vucic and Serbs from northern Kosovo, with Kosovo police officers also present,10 revealed the impunity of individuals connected to Serbia and wanted for criminal violations in Kosovo. The situation showed that Kosovo police might not fully follow orders or implement arrest warrants in the country’s Serb-majority north.
  • In March, Kosovo’s judiciary went on strike demanding better conditions and pay until the law on salaries is implemented. Several months later, on November 23, the government decided to decrease salaries of prosecutors and judges, revoking a 2017 decision. As a result, on November 24, the Judicial Council suspended work in court, causing the failure of hundreds of court sessions.11 In response, a court suspended the government’s decision to decrease salaries.12
Corruption 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Looks at public perceptions of corruption, the business interests of top policymakers, laws on financial disclosure and conflict of interest, and the efficacy of anticorruption initiatives. 2.252 7.007
  • Kosovo authorities took multiple actions against corruption in 2022. In March, police arrested 48 border and 2 customs officers on suspicions of taking bribes. Chief Prosecutor Aleksander Lumezi told the media that the arrests came after a 10-month investigation starting in May 2021. In April, another 50 border officers were arrested for bribery in an Albania-Kosovo joint operation.1
  • In October, under orders of the Basic Prosecution of Ferizaj, police seized around 100 villas2 and other buildings in the mountain resort of Brezovica as part of a large-scale investigation3 against illegal construction projects and corrupt officials.4 In November, the Basic Court of Peja temporarily confiscated 75 holiday villas in Brezovica, which included properties of high-level politicians, judges, and relatives of political figures,5 including brothers of former president Hashim Thaci.
  • In February,6 the Commercial Court7 was established to improve efficiency, shorten proceedings, and reduce business opportunities for corruption. The Commercial Court will address issues of commercial, economic, and fiscal nature. By late August, it had received over 6,700 cases in the first instance from the basic courts of Kosovo and over 1,300 cases in the second instance chamber from the Court of Appeals. With only 30 cases ruled on in each instance through August 29, 2022, out of thousands pending, this court may encounter a backlog of cases similar to other courts in the country’s justice system.8
  • Kosovo has a strong legal framework to protect whistleblowers;9 however, some who come forward have suffered consequences. In January, an airport lighting engineer, Deme Elezaj, was suspended after whistleblowing about alleged defects in the facility’s recently extended runway10 despite the law protecting whistleblowers from “suspension from work or of one or more duties.”

On Kosovo

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  • Global Freedom Score

    60 100 partly free