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Constitution of Kosovo (2008)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

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3Preamble

4We, the people of Kosovo,

5Determined to build a future of Kosovo as a free, democratic and peace-loving country that will be a homeland to all of its citizens;

6Committed to the creation of a state of free citizens that will guarantee the rights of every citizen, civil freedoms and equality of all citizens before the law;

7Committed to the state of Kosovo as a state of economic wellbeing and social prosperity;

8Convinced that the state of Kosovo will contribute to the stability of the region and entire Europe by creating relations of good neighborliness and cooperation with all neighboring countries;

9Convinced that the state of Kosovo will be a dignified member of the family of peace-loving states in the world;

10With the intention of having the state of Kosovo fully participating in the processes of Euro-Atlantic integration;

11In a solemn manner, we approve the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

12Chapter I. Basic Provisions

13ARTICLE 1. DEFINITION OF STATE

141. The Republic of Kosovo is an independent, sovereign, democratic, unique and indivisible state.

152. The Republic of Kosovo is a state of its citizens. The Republic of Kosovo exercises its authority based on the respect for human rights and freedoms of its citizens and all other individuals within its borders.

163. The Republic of Kosovo shall have no territorial claims against, and shall seek no union with, any State or part of any State.

17ARTICLE 2. SOVEREIGNTY

181. The sovereignty of the Republic of Kosovo stems from the people, belongs to the people and is exercised in compliance with the Constitution through elected representatives, referendum and other forms in compliance with the provisions of this Constitution.

192. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Kosovo is intact, inalienable, indivisible and protected by all means provided in this Constitution and the law.

203. The Republic of Kosovo, in order to maintain peace and to protect national interests, may participate in systems of international security.

21ARTICLE 3. EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

221. The Republic of Kosovo is a multi-ethnic society consisting of Albanian and other Communities, governed democratically with full respect for the rule of law through its legislative, executive and judicial institutions.

232. The exercise of public authority in the Republic of Kosovo shall be based upon the principles of equality of all individuals before the law and with full respect for internationally recognized fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as protection of the rights of and participation by all Communities and their members.

24ARTICLE 4. FORM OF GOVERNMENT AND SEPARATION OF POWER

251. Kosovo is a democratic Republic based on the principle of separation of powers and the checks and balances among them as provided in this Constitution.

262. The Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo exercises the legislative power.

273. The President of the Republic of Kosovo represents the unity of the people. The President of the Republic of Kosovo is the legitimate representative of the country, internally and externally, and is the guarantor of the democratic functioning of the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo, as provided in this Constitution.

284. The Government of the Republic of Kosovo is responsible for implementation of laws and state policies and is subject to parliamentarian control.

295. The judicial power is unique and independent and is exercised by courts.

306. The Constitutional Court is an independent organ in protecting the constitutionality and is the final interpreter of the Constitution.

317. The Republic of Kosovo has institutions for the protection of the constitutional order and territorial integrity, public order and safety, which operate under the constitutional authority of the democratic institutions of the Republic of Kosovo.

32ARTICLE 5. LANGUAGES

331. The official languages in the Republic of Kosovo are Albanian and Serbian.

342. Turkish, Bosnian and Roma languages have the status of official languages at the municipal level or will be in official use at all levels as provided by law.

35ARTICLE 6. SYMBOLS

361. The flag, the seal and the anthem are the state symbols of the Republic of Kosovo all of which reflect its multi-ethnic character.

372. The appearance, display and protection of the flag and other state symbols shall be regulated by law. The display and protection of the national symbols shall be regulated by law.

38ARTICLE 7. VALUES

391. The constitutional order of the Republic of Kosovo is based on the principles of freedom, peace, democracy, equality, respect for human rights and freedoms and the rule of law, non-discrimination, the right to property, the protection of environment, social justice, pluralism, separation of state powers, and a market economy.

402. The Republic of Kosovo ensures gender equality as a fundamental value for the democratic development of the society, providing equal opportunities for both female and male participation in the political, economic, social, cultural and other areas of societal life.

41ARTICLE 8. SECULAR STATE

42The Republic of Kosovo is a secular state and is neutral in matters of religious beliefs.

43ARTICLE 9. CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS HERITAGE

44The Republic of Kosovo ensures the preservation and protection of its cultural and religious heritage.

45ARTICLE 10. ECONOMY

46A market economy with free competition is the basis of the economic order of the Republic of Kosovo.

47ARTICLE 11. CURRENCY

481. The Republic of Kosovo uses as legal tender one single currency.

492. The Central Banking Authority of Kosovo is independent and is called the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo.

50ARTICLE 12. LOCAL GOVERNMENT

511. Municipalities are the basic territorial unit of local self-governance in the Republic of Kosovo.

522. The organization and powers of units of local self-government are provided by law.

53ARTICLE 13. CAPITAL CITY

541. The capital city of the Republic of Kosovo is Pristina.

552. The status and organization of the capital city is provided by law.

56ARTICLE 14. CITIZENSHIP

57The acquisition and termination of the right of citizenship of the Republic of Kosovo are provided by law.

58ARTICLE 15. CITIZENS LIVING ABROAD

59The Republic of Kosovo protects the interests of its citizens abroad as provided by law.

60ARTICLE 16. SUPREMACY OF THE CONSTITUTION

611. The Constitution is the highest legal act of the Republic of Kosovo. Laws and other legal acts shall be in accordance with this Constitution.

622. The power to govern stems from the Constitution.

633. The Republic of Kosovo shall respect international law.

644. Every person and entity in the Republic of Kosovo is subject to the provisions of the Constitution.

65ARTICLE 17. INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

661. The Republic of Kosovo concludes international agreements and becomes a member of international organizations.

672. The Republic of Kosovo participates in international cooperation for promotion and protection of peace, security and human rights.

68ARTICLE 18. RATIFICATION OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

691. International agreements relating to the following subjects are ratified by two thirds (2/3) vote of all deputies of the Assembly:

701.territory, peace, alliances, political and military issues;

712.fundamental rights and freedoms;

723.membership of the Republic of Kosovo in international organizations;

734.the undertaking of financial obligations by the Republic of Kosovo;

742. International agreements other than those in paragraph 1 are ratified upon signature of the President of the Republic of Kosovo.

753. The President of the Republic of Kosovo or the Prime Minister notifies the Assembly whenever an international agreement is signed.

764. Amendment of or withdrawal from international agreements follows the same decision making process as the ratification of such international agreements.

775. The principles and procedures for ratifying and contesting international agreements are set forth by law.

78ARTICLE 19. APPLICABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

791. International agreements ratified by the Republic of Kosovo become part of the internal legal system after their publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo. They are directly applied except for cases when they are not self-applicable and the application requires the promulgation of a law.

802. Ratified international agreements and legally binding norms of international law have superiority over the laws of the Republic of Kosovo.

81ARTICLE 20. DELEGATION OF SOVEREIGNTY

821. The Republic of Kosovo may on the basis of ratified international agreements delegate state powers for specific matters to international organizations.

832. If a membership agreement ratified by the Republic of Kosovo for its participation in an international organization explicitly contemplates the direct applicability of the norms of that organization, then the law ratifying the international agreement must be adopted by two thirds (2/3) vote of all deputies of the Assembly, and those norms have superiority over the laws of the Republic of Kosovo.

84Chapter II. Fundamental Rights and Freedoms

85ARTICLE 21. GENERAL PRINCIPLES

861. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are indivisible, inalienable and inviolable and are the basis of the legal order of the Republic of Kosovo.

872. The Republic of Kosovo protects and guarantees human rights and fundamental freedoms as provided by this Constitution.

883. Everyone must respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others.

894. Fundamental rights and freedoms set forth in the Constitution are also valid for legal persons to the extent applicable.

90ARTICLE 22. DIRECT APPLICABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS AND INSTRUMENTS

91Human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the following international agreements and instruments are guaranteed by this Constitution, are directly applicable in the Republic of Kosovo and, in the case of conflict, have priority over provisions of laws and other acts of public institutions:

921.Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

932.European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols;

943.International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Protocols;

954.Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities;

965.Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;

976.Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;

987.Convention on the Rights of the Child;

998.Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

100ARTICLE 23. HUMAN DIGNITY

101Human dignity is inviolable and is the basis of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

102ARTICLE 24. EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

1031. All are equal before the law. Everyone enjoys the right to equal legal protection without discrimination.

1042. No one shall be discriminated against on grounds of race, color, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, relation to any community, property, economic and social condition, sexual orientation, birth, disability or other personal status.

1053. Principles of equal legal protection shall not prevent the imposition of measures necessary to protect and advance the rights of individuals and groups who are in unequal positions. Such measures shall be applied only until the purposes for which they are imposed have been fulfilled.

106ARTICLE 25. RIGHT TO LIFE

1071. Every individual enjoys the right to life.

1082. Capital punishment is forbidden.

109ARTICLE 26. RIGHT TO PERSONAL INTEGRITY

110Every person enjoys the right to have his/her physical and psychological integrity respected, which includes:

1111.the right to make decisions in relation to reproduction in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth by law;

1122.the right to have control over her/his body in accordance with law;

1133.the right not to undergo medical treatment against his/her will as provided by law;

1144.the right not to participate in medical or scientific experiments without her/his prior consent.

115ARTICLE 27. PROHIBITION OF TORTURE, CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT

116No one shall be subject to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

117ARTICLE 28. PROHIBITION OF SLAVERY AND FORCED LABOR

1181. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

1192. No one shall be required to perform forced labor. Labor or services provided by law by persons convicted by a final court decision while serving their sentence or during a State of Emergency declared in compliance with the rules set forth in this Constitution shall not be considered as forced labor.

1203. Trafficking in persons is forbidden.

121ARTICLE 29. RIGHT TO LIBERTY AND SECURITY

1221. Everyone is guaranteed the right to liberty and security. No one shall be deprived of liberty except in the cases foreseen by law and after a decision of a competent court as follows:

1231.pursuant to a sentence of imprisonment for committing a criminal act;

1242.for reasonable suspicion of having committed a criminal act, only when deprivation of liberty is reasonably considered necessary to prevent commission of another criminal act, and only for a limited time before trial as provided by law;

1253.for the purpose of educational supervision of a minor or for the purpose of bringing the minor before a competent institution in accordance with a lawful order;

1264.for the purpose of medical supervision of a person who because of disease represents a danger to society;

1275.for illegal entry into the Republic of Kosovo or pursuant to a lawful order of expulsion or extradition.

1282. Everyone who is deprived of liberty shall be promptly informed, in a language he/she understands, of the reasons of deprivation. The written notice on the reasons of deprivation shall be provided as soon as possible. Everyone who is deprived of liberty without a court order shall be brought within forty-eight (48) hours before a judge who decides on her/his detention or release not later than forty-eight (48) hours from the moment the detained person is brought before the court. Everyone who is arrested shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time and to release pending trial, unless the judge concludes that the person is a danger to the community or presents a substantial risk of fleeing before trial.

1293. Everyone who is deprived of liberty shall be promptly informed of his/her right not to make any statements, right to defense counsel of her/his choosing, and the right to promptly communicate with a person of his/her choosing.

1304. Everyone who is deprived of liberty by arrest or detention enjoys the right to use legal remedies to challenge the lawfulness of the arrest or detention. The case shall be speedily decided by a court and release shall be ordered if the arrest or detention is determined to be unlawful.

1315. Everyone who has been detained or arrested in contradiction with the provisions of this article has a right to compensation in a manner provided by law.

1326. An individual who is sentenced has the right to challenge the conditions of detention in a manner provided by law.

133ARTICLE 30. RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED

134Everyone charged with a criminal offense shall enjoy the following minimum rights:

1351.to be promptly informed, in a language that she/he understands, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him/her;

1362.to be promptly informed of her/his rights according to law;

1373.to have adequate time, facilities and remedies for the preparation of his/her defense;

1384.to have free assistance of an interpreter if she/he cannot understand or speak the language used in court;

1395.to have assistance of legal counsel of his/her choosing, to freely communicate with counsel and if she/he does not have sufficient means, to be provided free counsel;

1406.to not be forced to testify against oneself or admit one’s guilt.

141ARTICLE 31. RIGHT TO FAIR AND IMPARTIAL TRIAL

1421. Everyone shall be guaranteed equal protection of rights in the proceedings before courts, other state authorities and holders of public powers.

1432. Everyone is entitled to a fair and impartial public hearing as to the determination of one’s rights and obligations or as to any criminal charges within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

1443. Trials shall be open to the public except in limited circumstances in which the court determines that in the interest of justice the public or the media should be excluded because their presence would endanger public order, national security, the interests of minors or the privacy of parties in the process in accordance with law.

1454. Everyone charged with a criminal offense has the right to examine witnesses and to obtain the obligatory attendance of witnesses, experts and other persons who may clarify the evidence.

1465. Everyone charged with a criminal offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law.

1476. Free legal assistance shall be provided to those without sufficient financial means if such assistance is necessary to ensure effective access to justice.

1487. Judicial proceedings involving minors shall be regulated by law respecting special rules and procedures for juveniles.

149ARTICLE 32. RIGHT TO LEGAL REMEDIES

150Every person has the right to pursue legal remedies against judicial and administrative decisions which infringe on his/her rights or interests, in the manner provided by law.

151ARTICLE 33. THE PRINCIPLE OF LEGALITY AND PROPORTIONALITY IN CRIMINAL CASES

1521. No one shall be charged or punished for any act which did not constitute a penal offense under law at the time it was committed, except acts that at the time they were committed constituted genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity according to international law.

1532. No punishment for a criminal act shall exceed the penalty provided by law at the time the criminal act was committed.

1543. The degree of punishment cannot be disproportional to the criminal offense.

1554. Punishments shall be administered in accordance with the law in force at the time a criminal act was committed, unless the penalties in a subsequent applicable law are more favorable to the perpetrator.

156ARTICLE 34. RIGHT NOT TO BE TRIED TWICE FOR THE SAME CRIMINAL ACT

157No one shall be tried more than once for the same criminal act.

158ARTICLE 35. FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

1591. Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo and foreigners who are legal residents of Kosovo have the right to move freely throughout the Republic of Kosovo and choose their location of residence.

1602. Each person has the right to leave the country. Limitations on this right may be regulated by law if they are necessary for legal proceedings, enforcement of a court decision or the performance of a national defense obligation.

1613. Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo shall not be deprived the right of entry into Kosovo.

1624. Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo shall not be extradited from Kosovo against their will except for cases when otherwise required by international law and agreements.

1635. The right of foreigners to enter the Republic of Kosovo and reside in the country shall be defined by law.

164ARTICLE 36. RIGHT TO PRIVACY

1651. Everyone enjoys the right to have her/his private and family life respected, the inviolability of residence, and the confidentiality of correspondence, telecommunication and other communication.

1662. Searches of any private dwelling or establishment that are deemed necessary for the investigation of a crime may be conducted only to the extent necessary and only after approval by a court after a showing of the reasons why such a search is necessary. Derogation from this rule is permitted if it is necessary for a lawful arrest, to collect evidence which might be in danger of loss or to avoid direct and serious risk to humans and property as defined by law. A court must retroactively approve such actions.

1673. Secrecy of correspondence, telephony and other communication is an inviolable right. This right may only be limited temporarily by court decision if it is necessary for criminal proceedings or defense of the country as defined by law.

1684. Every person enjoys the right of protection of personal data. Collection, preservation, access, correction and use of personal data are regulated by law.

169ARTICLE 37. RIGHT TO MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

1701. Based on free will, everyone enjoys the right to marry and the right to have a family as provided by law.

1712. Marriage and divorce are regulated by law and are based on the equality of spouses.

1723. Family enjoys special protection by the state in a manner provided by law.

173ARTICLE 38. FREEDOM OF BELIEF, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION

1741. Freedom of belief, conscience and religion is guaranteed.

1752. Freedom of belief, conscience and religion includes the right to accept and manifest religion, the right to express personal beliefs and the right to accept or refuse membership in a religious community or group.

1763. No one shall be required to practice or be prevented from practicing religion nor shall anyone be required to make his/her opinions and beliefs public.

1774. Freedom of manifesting religion, beliefs and conscience may be limited by law if it is necessary to protect public safety and order or the health or rights of other persons.

178ARTICLE 39. RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS

1791. The Republic of Kosovo ensures and protects religious autonomy and religious monuments within its territory.

1802. Religious denominations are free to independently regulate their internal organization, religious activities and religious ceremonies.

1813. Religious denominations have the right to establish religious schools and charity institutions in accordance with this Constitution and the law.

182ARTICLE 40. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

1831. Freedom of expression is guaranteed. Freedom of expression includes the right to express oneself, to disseminate and receive information, opinions and other messages without impediment.

1842. The freedom of expression can be limited by law in cases when it is necessary to prevent encouragement or provocation of violence and hostility on grounds of race, nationality, ethnicity or religion.

185ARTICLE 41. RIGHT OF ACCESS TO PUBLIC DOCUMENTS

1861. Every person enjoys the right of access to public documents.

1872. Documents of public institutions and organs of state authorities are public, except for information that is limited by law due to privacy, business trade secrets or security classification.

188ARTICLE 42. FREEDOM OF MEDIA

1891. Freedom and pluralism of media is guaranteed.

1902. Censorship is forbidden. No one shall prevent the dissemination of information or ideas through media, except if it is necessary to prevent encouragement or provocation of violence and hostility on grounds of race, nationality, ethnicity or religion.

1913. Everyone has the right to correct untrue, incomplete and inaccurate published information, if it violates her/his rights and interests in accordance with the law.

192ARTICLE 43. FREEDOM OF GATHERING

193Freedom of peaceful gathering is guaranteed. Every person has the right to organize gatherings, protests and demonstrations and the right to participate in them. These rights may be limited by law, if it is necessary to safeguard public order, public health, national security or the protection of the rights of others.

194ARTICLE 44. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION

1951. The freedom of association is guaranteed. The freedom of association includes the right of everyone to establish an organization without obtaining any permission, to be or not to be a member of any organization and to participate in the activities of an organization.

1962. The freedom to establish trade unions and to organize with the intent to protect interests is guaranteed. This right may be limited by law for specific categories of employees.

1973. Organizations or activities that infringe on the constitutional order, violate human rights and freedoms or encourage racial, national, ethnic or religious hatred may be prohibited by a decision of a competent court.

198ARTICLE 45. FREEDOM OF ELECTION AND PARTICIPATION

1991. Every citizen of the Republic of Kosovo who has reached the age of eighteen, even if on the day of elections, has the right to elect and be elected, unless this right is limited by a court decision.

2002. The vote is personal, equal, free and secret.

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