The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Kosovo, Europe’s newest country, continues the process of developing the institutional, legislative, and regulatory foundation for a democratic, multi-ethnic society. The key challenges of particular interest to the international community that remain include integration of police and judicial structures throughout the country, and in particular in the majority ethnic Serb provinces north of the Ibar river, the countering of endemic corruption and impunity for the well-connected, and the development of a criminal justice sector capable of handling the most complex and sensitive cases remain key challenges of particular interest to the international community.
Goals: INL has prioritized the development of Kosovo law enforcement and justice sector institutions since 1999. INL established a corrections reform program in 2019, aimed at strengthening this critical rule of law function in Kosovo. INL has also previously contributed to multilateral initiatives in Kosovo, including the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX). Through these bilateral and multilateral assistance strategies, INL contributes to Kosovo’s long term stability and participation in regional security and law enforcement organizations. INL will continue to assist Kosovo develop law enforcement and justice sector programs that meet European and international standards in line with aspirations for European integration.
- INL, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice and the OSCE, developed Kosovo’s first national police force and training academy following the 1999 conflict. The Kosovo Police are now one of the most trusted public institutions in Kosovo, and among the most professional police forces in the Western Balkan region.
- INL’s law enforcement development program funded a communications network that modernized the network and server capacity of the Kosovo Police and has the capacity to be utilized by other parts of the Kosovo government. It also connected remote villages to the electricity grid after years of isolation.
- INL also funded the Police Resource Information Management System (PRIMS), which greatly facilitates police administrative functions and allows for greater accountability in procurement and human resources.
- INL provided the Kosovo Forensics Agency with an automated fingerprint identification system and other equipment to enable more thorough and faster investigation of crimes.
- INL supported the founding and development of the Association of Women in Kosovo Police (AWKP), which helps prepare female police officers for leadership positions as Kosovo creates a police force that better reflects the broader society.
- INL’s rule of law program contributed to full scale reform of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code. The new codes allow for the confiscation of assets acquired through criminal activity and the establishment of a victim compensation fund (both new concepts in Kosovo).
- INL has strengthened civil society capacity by providing local organizations with the tools to advocate on behalf of crime victims through strategic litigation to increase their access to justice, to monitor court proceedings to ensure that the system is responsive to the public it is intended to serve, and to educate young people about their rights and responsibilities as citizens of Kosovo.