The Ombudsperson of Republic of Kosovo has published today the Opinion addressed to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding non execution of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Grudic v. Serbia, number 31925/08 (2012).
In the introductory statement of this Opinion, Kosovo Republic Ombudsperson exposes his grave concern regarding the failure of Republic of Serbia to fulfil its obligations towards Kosovo pensioners, according to the judgment of European Court of Human Rights in 2012, in case Grudic v. Serbia.
The judgment of European Court of Human Rights in case Grudic v. Serbia is principal judgement, through which Serbia is obliged to compensate equally, according to above given judgment, age contribution- payer pensions, work disability pensions and family pensions for Kosovo citizens who have enjoyed their pensions until 1999, when they have been abruptly discontinued by Serbia.
Serbia has continuously provided justifications in order to evade implementation of this ECHR judgment despite the liability that it has to respect European Convention on Human Rights and due to this obligation to implement ECHR decisions.
On the other hand, given that until present Kosovo Republic Institutions have not raised this issue to the instances through which implementation of ECHR judgement will be requested and accordingly of all cases of this nature, the Ombudsperson deemed as necessary to give this Opinion, grounding it on Regulation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe which deals with overseeing of judgment implementation.
Ombudsperson’s Opinion provides detailed description of chronologic and legal background regarding the case subject of this issue and ascertains that, Republic of Serbia, in order to be fully in compliance with the judgment of European Court of Human Rights in case Grudic versus Serbia, Serbian authorities ought to:
(1) reassess all applications from Kosovo residents for the resumption of pension payments in cases in which the applications were rejected on the basis of the applicants’ having received the Basic Pension provided for by UNMIK Regulation 2001/35;
(2) publicly announce, for the benefit of Kosovo residents who have not yet applied for resumption of pension payments, that their having received the Basic Pension provided for by UNMIK Regulation 2001/35 will no longer be considered as a disqualifying factor;
(3) publicly announce that current recipients of the age contribution-payer pension from the Republic of Kosovo, even if they would not be eligible for resumption of pension payments from the Republic of Serbia, may nonetheless be eligible for the payment of arrears, including statutory interest, for the period of time prior to their receiving pension payments from the Republic of Kosovo;
(4) render positive decisions for the resumption of pension payments in the case of all Kosovo residents who fulfill the original statutory requirements for receiving pension payments under the Pensions and Disability Insurance Fund and who are not presently receiving the age contribution-payer pension from the Republic of Kosovo;
(5) pay arrears in full, including statutory interest, to Kosovo residents whose pensions were unlawfully suspended, from the date on which payments were suspended until the date on which (a) those pension payments were resumed by the Republic of Serbia, or (b) the applicants began receiving the age contribution-payer pension from the Republic of Kosovo;
(6) clarify precisely what missing documentation is responsible for the Republic of Serbia’s rejection of 84.3% of applications from Kosovo residents as incomplete, and if necessary, accept documentation from the Republic of Kosovo as valid for the purposes of executing the Grudić judgment in full; and
(7) take all necessary measures to transfer to the Republic of Kosovo all contributions that were paid by Kosovo residents prior to 1999 and that remain in the possession of SPDIF, as a long-term solution for ensuring the sustainability of pension payments to Kosovo residents who made contributions to SPDIF in accordance with law.
This Opinion of Kosovo Republic Ombudsperson represents the first case when national institution of human rights addresses Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe , based on Regulation 9 of the Regulation which deals with monitoring of enforcement of judgment, on implementation of a ECHR judgement towards a third party.
Full Opinion, as has been sent to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, was distributed to media and published on Institution’s official webpage as well (click here for full version of the Opinion).
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