Ambassador Delawie’s Opening Remarks at the Bench-Bar/Civil Society Roundtable on Anti-Corruption Day, December 9, 2016
Thank you very much. Mr. Havolli, it is a pleasure to join you today with Ambassador Jan Braathu, Mr. Idrizi, Mr. Isufaj and Mr. Rexhaj. Welcome also to all of our guests from the courts, civil society organizations, and the media.
I’m pleased to be part of the launch of our new U.S. Embassy-supported project — the “Demand for Justice” program – which will be working on some innovative ideas to improve citizens’ access to justice. For example, I was excited to hear about the initiative for Kosovo law students – under the guidance and mentorship of experienced lawyers – to provide pro bono legal assistance to Kosovo citizens, who otherwise could not afford legal representation. The program also will reach out to Kosovo’s youth in different ways to involve them in the rule of law sector.
The Demand for Justice Program will also work to increase judicial transparency and accountability, in partnership with many of you here today. The Demand for Justice Program is being implemented by a U.S. NGO: the National Center for State Courts, which has a 40-year history doing this kind of work with court systems in the United States, so they bring good experience to Kosovo.
It goes without saying that effective Rule of Law is fundamental to every aspect of life in a democratic society and a free market economy. Citizens’ access to justice and the integrity and accountability of judicial institutions are each critical elements to delivering fully on the promise of Rule of Law here in Kosovo as much as anywhere else.
The United States is proud to support Kosovo’s civil society organizations, its Bar Association and its judicial institutions as you work together to build a more democratic Kosovo.
I can’t let this moment pass without addressing a few moments to the International Anti-Corruption Day, which is today. I will be engaging in many activities for the rest of the day related to our embassy’s programming on this important day. I should tell you, to demonstrate my commitment to getting here for this event as well as for the rest of the things I’m doing in the Anti-corruption Day, required me to leave central London at 4 a.m. this morning and come straight from the airport. I know my colleagues from the embassy are astounded that I actually managed to get up and to get here since I’m not a morning person.
Thank you very much everybody for your time, and I hope the roundtable is fruitful and engaging, and paves the way to effective action.