Hybrid Court System in Kosovo: Has EULEX proven to be the device to strengthen the independence and effectiveness of the judiciary?

In the twenty years since the end of the cold war, the European Union (EU) has gradually emerged as a prominent actor in state building, conflict management, and peacekeeping missions. Launched in 2008, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, or “EULEX”, is the largest civilian crisis-management mission under the EU Common Security and Defense Policy and the first fully integrated rule of law mission of the EU that balances executive functions with highly ambitious rule of law sector and capacity reforms. Under EULEX, the CSDP mission assists Kosovo judicial and law enforcement authorities as mixed or “hybrid” panels in the development of sustainable, accountable, and professional legal institutions. The EULEX justice component is one part of the mixed nationality or hybrid court approach that has operated in jurisdictions such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Timor-Leste, among others. Oftentimes, a direct consequence of conflict and mass social-trauma is the destruction, collapse, or compromising of legal and justice systems. The last two decades have seen a rise in ad hoc hybrid tribunal that signify a blend of national and international components in adjudicating war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other gross violations of human rights as part of wider peace-building and development efforts. In principle, the hybrid tribunal comprises foreign and domestic counterparts that apply a mixture of domestic law, international law or some combination of both. As neither a purely domestic or international tribunal, the hybrid courts, arguably, enhance legitimacy, domestic capacity building, and norm dissemination due to its unique blend of internationally supervised character and local location. You can download this policy report by clicking here.