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04.5.2017

The Ombudsperson published Legal Opinion related to the lawsuits addressed towards Liquidation Authority which are being handled by the Special Chamber of Supreme Court of Kosovo

The Ombudsperson published today the Legal Opinion in the capacity of friend of the Court (Amicus Curiae) which has been addressed to the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kosovo related to the lawsuits addressed to Liquidation Authority, filed by former workers of Socially owned enterprise “Sharr Salloniti” from Hani i Elezit, which are being handled by this Court.

The Legal Opinion in the capacity of a friend of a court aims to provide a legal assistance on providing a possibility of effective solution as well as in compliance with international standards in these cases.

The Ombudsperson's assessments and findings concerning this issue are based on the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols (ECHR), and the practice of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

From the information and documents on Ombudsperson’s disposal, it results that former employees of the Socially Owned Enterprise "Sharr Salloniti" which entered into liquidation procedure in 2011, have filed their claims with the Privatization Agency of Kosovo (PAK) for obtaining compensation for health damages, suffered as a result of their exposure to asbestos during their work.

As per regarding the complaints against the decisions of Liquidation Authority lodged with the Special Chamber by former employees of Enterprise "Sharr-Salloniti" filed since 2014, the Ombudsperson considers that procedural delays have occurred, because of the fact that since submission, no any other action has been undertaken as per their handling.

Upon procedural delays for solving this case, the Ombudsperson expresses his concern over the fact that cases of the same nature are individually handled by the Special Chamber.

During the analysis conducted, the Ombudsperson emphasizes that the World Health Organization has estimated that exposure to asbestos is one of the key elements for causing occupational diseases. While a large number of states have adopted specific legislation to prevent causing of health damages by this material, including the criteria for remuneration of affected workers, this problematic has not been regulated with specific legislation in Kosovo nor has been regulated the manner of employees’ indemnification affected by this material.

At the end of this Legal Opinion, the Ombudsperson concludes that it would be appropriate that the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court, in the current case, demonstrate effective convenience in resolving the case of former employees of the Enterprise “Sharr Salloniti” by providing specific information to PAK, concerning the number and the value of the complaints filed against the decisions of the Liquidation Authority; to prevent further delays in handling of cases submitted by former workers and to practice fusion of cases related to the same issue and handle them jointly with one judgment. Similarly, due to the case sensitivity, the Ombudsperson suggests that the Special Chamber gives priority over handling of these cases, by evading structural obstacles that would cause delays and pay particular attention to ECtHR practice on their effective resolution.

The Legal Opinion in its full form has been delivered to the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kosovo and the same has been disseminated to media as well as published on the OI official website.
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