Thursday, September 13, 2012


The Kanun (or Kanuni in its defined form in Albanian) is a set of traditional Albanian laws. The Kanun was primarily oral and only in the 20th century was it published in writing.[1] There is only one Kanun since the ancient times commonly referred to the "Kanun of Leke" from which six later variations eventually evolved, categorized according to the area, the personality and their time of origin: Kanun i vjetër (English: Old Kanun), Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit (English: The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini), Kanuni i Çermenikës (English: The Kanun of Çermenikë), Kanuni i Papa Zhulit (English: The Kanun of Papa Zhuli), Kanuni i Labërisë (English: The Kanun of Labëria)[2] and Kanuni i Skenderbeut (English: Kanun of Skanderbeg)[3][4] also known as Kanuni i Arbërisë (English: Kanun of Arbëria).

The Kanun of Skanderbeg is the closest in version to the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini, and the latter is usually the most known and is also regarded as a synonym of the word kanun. The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini was developed by Lekë Dukagjini, who codified the existing customary laws. It has been used mostly in northern Albania and Kosovo. It was first codified in the 15th century but the use of it has been outspread much earlier in time. It used under that form until the 20th century, and revived recently after the fall of the communist regime in the early 1990s.


The practice of the oral laws that Dukagjini codified in the Kanun may date back to the Bronze Age.[7] Some authors have conjectured that the Kanun may derive from Illyrian tribal laws.[8] Other authors have suggested that the Kanun has retained elements from Indo-European prehistoric eras.[9] Edith Durham, a British anthropologist[citation needed] suggested that the Kanun possibly dates back to the Bronze Age culture.[7] Some other authors[who?] have suggested that there are many similarities between the Kanun and the Manusmṛti, the earliest work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism, which indicate a common origin.[7]

However several stratifications can be easily observed in the code, beginning with pre-Indoeuropean, Indoeuropean, Ancient Greek, Roman, general Balkan and Osmanli.[10]

According to Serbian authors T. O. Oraovac[11] and S. S. Djuric, it is largely based on Dušan's Code, the constitution of the Serbian Empire (enacted 1349), which at the time held the whole of Albania.[12] Noel Malcolm speculates that an article in Dušan's Code was an early attempt to clamp down on the self-administered customary law of the mountains, as later codified in the Kanun of Lek Dukagjin, and if so, this would be the earliest evidence that such customary law were in effect.[13]


 This Kanun existed only in oral form, and was first codified by Lekë Dukagjini in the 15th century. The code was written down only in the 19th century by Shtjefën Gjeçovi and partially published in the Hylli i Drites periodical in 1913.[1] The full version appeared only in 1933 after Gjeçovi's death in 1926.[1] In 1989 a dual English-Albanian version was published.[1][14] and then replicated in a 1992 version.[15]

Although Kanuni is attributed to the Albanian prince Lekë Dukagjini, the rules evolved over time as a way to bring laws and rule to these lands. The code was divided into the following 12 books (or sections): Church, Family, Marriage, House, Livestock and Property, Work, Transfer of Property, Spoken Word, Honor, Damages, Law Regarding Crimes, Judicial Law, Exemptions and Exceptions.[16]

The Kanun has 1,262 articles which regulate all aspects of the mountainous life: economic organization of the household, hospitality, brotherhood, clan, boundaries, work, marriage, land, and so on.[1] The Besa (honour) is of prime importance throughout the code as the cornerstone of personal and social conduct.[1] The Kanun applies to both Catholic and Muslim Albanians.[1]

Some of the most controversial rules of the Kanun (in particular book 10 section 3) specify how murder is supposed to be handled, which often in the past and sometimes still now lead to blood feuds that last until all the men of the two involved families are killed. In some parts of the country, the Kanun resembles the Italian vendetta. These rules have resurfaced during the 1990s in Northern Albania, since people had no faith in the powerless local government and police. There are organizations that try to mediate between feuding families and try to get them to "pardon the blood" (Albanian: Falja e Gjakut), but often the only resort is for men of age to stay in their homes, which are considered a safe refuge by the Kanuni, or flee the country. The Albanian name for blood feud is Gjakmarrja.

Former communist Albania leader Enver Hoxha effectively stopped the practice of Kanun with hard repression and a very strong state police. However, after the fall of communism, some communities have tried to rediscover the old traditions, but some of their parts have been lost, leading to fears of misinterpretation.

Notably, the current Albanian Penal Code does not contain any provisions from the Kanun that deal with blood feuds, and no acknowledgment of this code is made in the contemporary Albanian legal system.


The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini is composed of 12 books and 1,262 articles. The books and their subdivisions are the following:
  1. Church;
    1. The Church
    2. Cemeteries
    3. Property of the Church
    4. The Priest
    5. Church workers
  2. Family;
    1. The family make-up
  3. Marriage;
    1. Engagement
    2. Wedding
    3. The Kanun of the groom
    4. In-laws
    5. Separation
    6. Inheritance
  4. House, Livestock and Property;
    1. The house and its surroundings
    2. Livestock
    3. Property
    4. The boundary
  5. Work;
    1. Work
    2. Hunting
    3. Commerce
  6. Transfer of Property;
    1. Borrowing
    2. Gifts
  7. Spoken Word;
  8. Honor;
    1. Individual honor
    2. Social honor
    3. 'Blood' and gender; brotherhood and godparents
  9. Damages;
  10. Law Regarding Crimes
    1. Criminals
    2. Stealing
    3. Murder (discussion of sanctioning of blood feuds)
  11. The kanun of the elderly
  12. Exemptions and Exceptions
    1. Types of exceptions
    2. Death

Kosovo's independence is legal, UN court rules

A 'Free Kosovo' banner in Tirana
Albanians ride past a banner that reads "Free Kosovo" in Tirana. Photograph: Hektor Pustina/AP

Decision in favour of Kosovo's independence could have far-reaching implications for other separatist movements

Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 did not violate international law, the international court of justice (ICJ) said today in a groundbreaking ruling that could have far-reaching implications for separatist movements around the world, as well as for Belgrade's stalled EU membership talks.
The long-awaited ruling - which the court took up after a complaint to the UN from Serbia - is now likely to lead to more countries recognising Kosovo's independence and move Pristina closer to entry into the UN. At present, Kosovo's statehood is backed by 69 countries but it requires more than 100 before it can join the UN.
Announcing the decision, the court of justice president, Hisashi Owada, said international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence".
Although both Belgrade and Pristina had said they were confident of a ruling in their favour, speculation began to emerge a few hours before today's announcement in the Hague that the decision - which is not legally binding - had gone Kosovo's way.
Prior to the judgment, the US vice-president, Joe Biden, had made it clear that the US would not contemplate a retreat from Kosovo's newly independent status.
Key considerations that the UN's top court examined - arising out of dozens of submissions by UN member states as well as by Kosovo's own leadership - have focused on issues of sovereignty, the slim volume of precedent in international law, and how formerly large states such as the USSR broke up along administrative borders.

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Legal Training by Kosovo Law Center

KLC has extensive experience in providing legal training for different institutions and/or groups of individuals in Kosovo. The main activities are as follows:
Practical Legal Clinics
In its efforts to support the Law Faculty of University of Pristina (LFUP) and the Law Faculty of University of Mitrovica (LFUM), KLC has organised and conducted a number of Practical Legal Clinics.

These clinics emphasize the application of theoretical legal knowledge to practical problems and legal questions. Students develop their practical legal skills through the drafting of legal memoranda, such as indictments, verdicts and appeals. Clinics have been organized in three main modules: Criminal Law, Civil Law and Administrative Law, with lectures held at both LFUP and LFUM. During these clinics, students conduct mock trials, under the supervision of legal experts.
KLC also plans to extend its previous experience in organizing Practical Legal Clinics for LFUP by moving beyond the classroom, and involving Kosovo's legal institutions directly in the educational process. In this regard, KLC hopes to conclude agreements with institutions such as Courts, Public Prosecutors Offices, Chamber of Advocates, and Prisons, to host LFUP and LFUM students. This would provide law students the opportunity to experience what it is like to practice law in these institutions.

Contact person:

Continuing Legal Education for Civil Servants
This project involves implementing legal education training for civil servants in Kosovo's municipalities, and assisting the municipalities in shaping and realizing their agenda for legislative local government reform. In order for good governance to take hold, it is crucial to foster more responsive, effective and efficient local administration. The CLE project is designed to provide a forum for discussing and addressing, and hopefully resolving some of the questions and difficulties that have arisen in the application of Kosovo's Administrative Law.
In implementing applicable administrative law the CLE project aims to focus on both an improvement of the theoretical legal knowledge of trainees and a development of their practical skills. The experts teaching the sessions were selected by KLC, and include Kosovar legal professionals such as law professors, layers and senior officers.
KLC plans to conduct approximately 96 sessions within ten modules on legal subjects such as Organization of Public Administration and Functions, Administrative Acts and Administrative Procedures, The Applicable Law on Civil Service in Kosovo, and Regulation No 36/2001and UNMIK/Regulation/2000/45 On Self-Government of Municipalities in Kosovo.
Currently, the project is being implemented with the active participation of the legal officers from 24 municipalities, and in close co-operation with The Kosovo Institute for Public Administration (KIPA) and the OSCE Democratisation Department.
Contact person:
Legal training for the Kosovo Protection Corps
The Legal Training for the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) project helped provide KPC legal officers with basic information of constitutional law, human rights, humanitarian law, as well as other basic principles of the legal system.
Interactive training sessions focused on the key legal and human rights issues applicable to the duties and functions of the KPS. This training focused on the applicable law in Kosovo, and also included discussions and explanations of international law and principles applicable to the topic areas.
This project concluded in Summer 2003.
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The Kosovo Law Centre (KLC)

The Kosovo Law Centre (KLC) was established in June 2000, as an independent, nonprofit, non-governmental organisation (NGO). It was founded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Mission in Kosovo (OSCE/OMIK), Department of Human Rights and Rule of Law, The goal in creating KLC was to cultivate the professional skills of local legal talent in order to establish a locally run, independent and sustainable NGO that embodies, develops and promotes democratic principals, multiculturalism, high ethical standards, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Since its founding, KLC has served as a legal think-tank devoted to the implementation of these principles.
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Human rights protection in Kosovo

Bernadett Csapo, OSCE Human Dimension Officer, encourages women from Prishtine/Pristina and Gjilan/Gnjilane regions, Kosovo, to discuss issues of concern, Gjilan/Gnjilane, 4 November 2010. (OSCE/Hasan Sopa)
Bernadett Csapo, OSCE Human Dimension Officer, encourages women from Prishtine/Pristina and Gjilan/Gnjilane regions, Kosovo, to discuss issues of concern, Gjilan/Gnjilane, 4 November 2010. (OSCE/Hasan Sopa)
Human rights violations still occur in Kosovo. Responsibility lies with the executive, but also with the legislative and judicial institutions, be it in providing services or drafting and implementing legislation.
The OSCE Mission, which plays a significant role in the protection and promotion of human and communities rights, engages in a number of activities to help ensure that adequate mechanisms for human rights protection and public accountability are in place, and that the central and municipal governments fulfil their human rights obligations towards all Kosovo inhabitants.

The Mission monitors and supports institutions in Kosovo in their obligation to comply with international human rights, community rights and democratic standards. Monitoring in municipalities allows the Mission to issue regular reports and use these reports as an advocacy tool for positive change.
Special attention is paid to the rights of non-majority communities, displaced persons, returnees, as well as other vulnerable groups, such as women, youth and persons with disabilities.


The Mission analyses existing legislation, comments on draft laws, and proactively monitors the policies and activities of central and local level institutions in the field of human and communities rights. It promotes and protects the rights of communities in Kosovo through interventions in the areas of participation and representation in public life, decision making, access to education and other services, use of languages, as well as return and reintegration of displaced persons, security and freedom of movement.
The Mission issues specific reports to inform Kosovo institutions and international stakeholders about failures to protect the rights of communities at the municipal and central levels, and to recommend necessary improvements in performance.
The Mission’s five regional community teams serve as a bridge between different ethnic groups and facilitate dialogue between the communities and the institutions.

Property rights

Property, housing and land management issues remain a challenge in Kosovo. The failure to protect property rights hinders the return process and impedes economic development and the rule of law. The Mission, therefore, supports Kosovo institutions at both central and municipal levels in their efforts to strengthen compliance with housing and property related legislation and policies. Particular attention is paid to issues of resolution of conflict-related property claims, regularization of informal settlements and illegal construction issues. Further, the Mission monitors the protection of cultural and religious heritage objects.

Human rights compliance

In an effort to prevent human rights violations at an early stage, the Mission reviews selected draft legislation and subsidiary acts for compliance with human rights standards and rule of law principles. For example, the Mission has reviewed and commented on draft laws related to readmission, civil status registry, domestic violence, the Ombudsperson and access to official documents. The Mission also reports on systematic concerns regarding adherence to human rights standards and rule of law principles in drafting legislation. Moreover, it promotes the publication and accessibility of normative acts.

Ombudsperson institution

The Mission supports the work of the Ombudsperson institution as the key guarantor of human rights. The Ombudsperson institution represents the final legal remedy and its decisions are binding. The Mission's special adviser provides technical expertise and advises the institution on monitoring and investigating potential human rights violations. In addition, the adviser provides analysis and recommendations concerning the compatibility of legislation with human rights standards.

Human rights and the police

The Mission proactively monitors the work of the police with the aim of fostering an effective, accountable and human rights compliant police force.
The OSCE human rights advisors, who are deployed to all six police regions in Kosovo, report on identified human rights concerns and advise on how to improve performance. The Mission provides the police with confidential reports on human rights issues, such as the rights of arrested persons, conditions in holding cells, the use of force, or child abuse, which enable the police to address shortcomings.
The Mission monitors detention facilities and supports the creation of a sustainable local detention monitoring mechanism which would help prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Mission field teams

The Mission has deployed over 30 field teams and five specialised community teams to work with municipalities and monitor their adherence to human and communities rights and good governance standards. When an issue is observed, the teams analyse it, report on it and recommend remedial actions. In co-operation with civil society and local institutions, the teams implement projects aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of all communities in Kosovo. Their work is supported by the Mission staff working in the five regional centres and at headquarters.

Legal system development in Kosovo

The OSCE Deputy Head of Mission Edward P. Joseph (l), President of the Supreme Court Fejzulla Hasani (c) and Lavdim Krasniqi, Director of Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI) at the launch of a compilation of decisions on property-related issues sponsored by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Prishtinë/Priština, 6 June 2011. (OSCE/Hasan Sopa)

A functioning legal system is instrumental for human rights protection. Working to protect and promote human rights in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission helps build the professional capacities of judges, prosecutors and lawyers through monitoring and advising. It also supports the work of the Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI), which provides legal education for judges and prosecutors, and emphasizes the application of human rights standards in judicial practices.
The Mission continues to support the KJI in its transition from a continuous legal education centre into a magistrate school. All future candidates for judges and prosecutors, in addition to completing the law faculty and the bar exam, will also have to pass a preparatory exam and undergo a fifteen-month training programme at the KJI.

Legal system monitoring

The Mission proactively monitors the justice system to help ensure its compliance with applicable human rights and legal standards in Kosovo. The Mission's work focuses on monitoring, reporting and making recommendations to address identified shortcomings. It also includes advising and training judges, prosecutors and lawyers, as well as judicial and prosecutorial bodies.
The Mission monitors cases of inter-ethnic crime; war crimes; organised crime including corruption and trafficking in persons; property disputes; labour and family disputes; and cases involving vulnerable persons.
The Mission's monitoring reports examine judicial and prosecutorial practices, identify human rights concerns and suggest remedial actions for observed shortcomings. The reports cover diverse areas of the law such as: legal representation; independence and impartiality of the courts; detention issues; juveniles in the justice system; victims' rights; witness protection; property transactions; family law cases and other human rights and rule of law areas.
Once the reports are published, the Mission organizes meetings with actors in the justice sector to analyse the findings presented in the reports and discuss recommendations and their implementation. These recommendations are also used for further curricula development at the KJI.
Similarly, the Mission proactively monitors the work of the police service. Reports on both the legal system and police conducted jointly provide a comprehensive overview of human rights compliance from the moment of arrest to the final adjudication of a case.
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Law on Public Procurement in Kosovo

Law on Public Procurement in Kosovo

The new Law on Public Procurement in Republic of Kosovo, Nr.04/L-042
, is approved by the Assembly of Kosovo on August 29th, 2011, is promulgated by the President of Republic of Kosovo with decree No.DL-032-2011, on August 31st, 2011 and is published in the official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo No.18, on September 19th, 2011. According to the section 135 of this Law, it is foreseen that this law enters into force fifteen (15) days after the publication in the official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo, which means that from October 05th, 2011, the new law on public procurement No. 04/L-042 enters into force. Contracting Authorities of Kosovo are obliged that from this date for all procurement activities to implement the Law on Public Procurement No. 04/L-042.(Download )

The Law on Public Procurement No. 03/L-241 is approved by the Assembly of Kosovo on 30 September 2010 and it was announced by the acting President of Republic of Kosovo with Decree No. DL- 057-2010, on 25 October 2010, and is published in Official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo No.87, on 16 November 2010. Based on the Article 134 of this Law, it is foreseen that this Law enters into force 15 days after publication in Official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo, which means that from 01 December 2010, is in force. Kosovo Contract Authorities are obliged that from this date all procurement activities to implement by the Public Procurement Law No.03/L-241. ( Download )

Law on Amendments and Additions to Law 2003/17 on Public Procurement
Remark: This Law Amending no. 2003/17 on Public Procurement is applicable together with the UNMIK Regulation no. 2007/20 of 06.06.2007. (

Law on amendment and supplementation of law no. 2003/17 for public procurement amended with law no. 02/L-99  (Download)
Remark: Law is approved by Assembly, date 24. 07. 2009 and promulgated by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kosovo No. DL-023-2009, date 31.07.2009.