- The Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo today published the Judgment in Case KI 55/21, submitted by Muhamet Ademi, whereby was requested the constitutional review of Judgment [Rev. no. 387/2020] of the Supreme Court of Kosovo, of 13 January 2021.
The circumstances of the present case relate to a decision of 2004 of the Employer, namely the Correctional Service, Detention Center in Lipjan, on termination of the employment relationship with the Applicant, as a result of disciplinary violations during the working hours. The Applicant challenged this decision within the bodies of the Employer, whose second instance body rejected the Applicant’s complaint 6 (six) months later. The Applicant had initiated proceedings before the regular courts against this decision. The Municipal Court in Lipjan, had decided in favour of the respective Applicant, by obliging the Employer to reinstate the Applicant to his previous job position, and recognize all his rights deriving from this employment relationship.
However, as a result of the Employer’s appeals related to the Applicant’s statement of claim during the period between 2006 and 2015, proceedings were conducted before the District Court, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, in which this statement of claim was examined both from the procedural point of view and on the merits of the statement of claim. Finally, the case was remanded for reconsideration to the Basic Court, which again upheld the Applicant’s claim in its entirety. However, and deciding upon the appeal of the Employer, the Court of Appeals, had quashed the Judgment of the Basic Court, by rejecting the Applicant’s statement of claim, this time reasoning that the initial claim was filed out of the legal deadline as defined in the Law on Basic Rights from Employment Relationship of the SFRY, of 28 September 1989. Acting upon the request for revision, the Supreme Court upheld the stance of the Court of Appeals.
The Applicant challenged before the Court the above findings of the Supreme Court including those of the Court of Appeals, by alleging that they were issued in violation of his constitutional rights , namely the right to a legal remedy and judicial protection of rights as provided by Article 32 [Right to Legal Remedies] and Article 54 [Judicial Protection of Rights] of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, respectively.
When assessing the Applicant’s allegation, the Court initially noted that the factual and legal circumstances of the present case entail elements of the “right of access to a court”, as an integral part of the right to a fair and impartial trial, guaranteed by Article 31 [Right to Fair and Impartial trial] of the Constitution and Article 6 (Right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In this respect, the Court, after having elaborated on and applied the principles established through its case law and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, found, among others, that: (i) a highly formalistic interpretation and finding in respect of the applicability of the provisions of the Law on Basic Rights from Employment Relationship of the SFRY, of 28 September 1989 by the Supreme Court, resulting in the finding that the initial claim of the Applicant was filed out of time, because in essence, he should have not waited for the decision of the second instance, but should have acted based on its silence, following a decade of proceedings in which the Applicant’s claim was decided and re-decided on the merits, is not proportionate to the goal pursued to ensure legal certainty and the proper administration of justice, as one of the basic principles of the rule of law in a democratic society; and (ii) as a result of this interpretation and the finding of the Supreme Court, the Applicant has been denied his “right of access to a court”, a right which is embodied in the procedural guarantees established through the right to a fair and impartial trial guaranteed by the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Consequently and on the basis of the clarifications provided in the published Judgment, the Court found that the challenged Judgment [Rev.no.387/2020] of the Supreme Court, of 13 January 2021, was issued contrary to the procedural guarantees provided by Article 31 of the Constitution in conjunction with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and consequently, declared the same invalid, remanding it for reconsideration in accordance with the findings of the Constitutional Court.
This press release was prepared by the Secretariat of the Court for informational purposes only. The full text of the decision has been served to the parties involved in the case, is published on the Court’s website and will be published on the Official Gazette within set deadlines.
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