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More About Princeton Case Review - Judge Malcolm Simmons

Many judges had begun their careers in the communist Yugoslav era, when public scrutiny was a nonissue. “You have judges that think everything they do should be private,” said Furtuna Sheremeti, who began managing the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) court-monitoring program in 2014. “Not because they are afraid or they don’t know better, but because that’s the way they have been used to doing things.”
Media generally did a poor job of reporting on the court system. Few media outlets had reporters with significant knowledge and experience in the courts and legal proceedings, said Selvije Bajrami, a reporter for the Zeri newspaper.
Tristan Dreisbach
Innovations for Successful Societies
In addition, the court system kept few records of what happened during judicial sessions, and courts usually did not even publish verdicts. “The only verdicts that get published are the verdicts of the constitutional court,” Sheremeti said in 2014. “By law, all the courts have to publish thei…

Judge Malcolm Simmons - Princeton case review

AN EYE ON JUSTICE: MONITORING COURTS, 2008–2014
As prepared to declare independence in February 2008, it still lacked a court system that was efficient, trusted, and open to public scrutiny. Most judges had trained under the communist government of the former Yugoslavia and were unaccustomed to public observation of their work. Procedural errors were common, and cases often languished in the judicial system for years. In response, the leaders of two Kosovar nongovernmental organizations decided to train and dispatch recent law school graduates to observe court sessions, report on whether proper procedures were followed, and assess the conduct of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. Gradually, the program overcame initial hostility within the court system and gained the trust of judges and others working in the courts. By 2014, monitors had covered more than 8,000 sessions, and their reports documented improvements in the openness of court proceedings and in adherence to proper judicial p…