The OSCE Mission in Kosovo concluded a one-week training course on witness protection for 20 Kosovo police officers on 15 June 2012 in Vushtrri/Vučitrn. The training focused on legal provisions and appropriate procedures and protection programmes that can be offered to witnesses.
“Police investigators are the first to meet the witnesses, build trust and negotiate suitable protection measures and programmes. If the investigators do not succeed in persuading the witness to co-operate, then the prosecutor or the judge cannot do much and cases get dropped,” said Temur Shengelia from the OSCE’s Security and Public Safety Department.
“We believe that the insight gained during the training will help investigators to establish this trust,” he added.
The trainees examined internal legal instruments and lines of communication and co-operation between different actors, internationally accepted procedures that can be applied to better protect witnesses, as well as types of protective and security measures, associated expenses, and the fair trial concept.
The course, which followed on from training provided by the OSCE in March, was also used to introduce a human-rights approach to witness protection, whereby the safety of witnesses and their human rights play a central role and witnesses are not perceived as mere evidence providers.
The OSCE Mission is mandated with human rights protection and promotion, democracy building and public safety sector development. It provides advanced police training and helps build training capacities in the public safety agencies.