Deputy Chief of Mission Hyland’s Remarks at the Human Rights Violation Conference

Deputy Chief of Mission Hyland’s Remarks at the Human Rights Violation Conference, March 21, 2019

State Liability for Human Rights Violations

Thank you Ombudsman Jashari, Minister of Justice Tahiri, honored guests, thank you for the opportunity to say a few words at this important event.

In the last few years since I have been here, Kosovo has established itself as a leader in the region when it comes to the treatment of victims of crime.

With U.S. Government assistance, through OPDAT and our other mechanisms, you have well trained victim advocates, who provide support in and outside the courtroom. You have an established victim compensation fund providing financial support to victims who qualify for that assistance.  And you are moving forward with plans to amend that law so more victims have access to the help that they need.

The next logical step is to ensure State Liability becomes a practical reality.  Passing the State Liability Law would be a strong indicator that when it commits human rights violations, it has an obligation to provide for effective legal remedies and compensation for damages.

Adoption of the law, as proposed, would send a strong message that human rights violations do have consequences, and underline that the human rights so clearly outlined in the Kosovo Constitution are more than words on a page, and the Constitution’s core values guide and restrain state action.

Like other laws, State Liability will serve as a deterrent to those who otherwise might not give their actions much thought.

But ultimately, when states begin acknowledging that legal immunity for their actions towards citizens, regardless of the result, is counterproductive and breeds distrust, it represents a new level of maturity.

It also shows the Euro-Atlantic community Kosovo is ready and able to be a responsible partner in the region.  I do believe Kosovo is ready for this next step. And all of you present here today is confirmation of that, and I am glad that we were able to help and support you to achieve this goal.

I wish you the best in this endeavor and know that the U.S. Government, and particularly my colleagues from the Department of Justice, are ready to support your efforts.