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The Ombudsperson of Republic of Kosovo has published the Report regarding KEDS unauthorized controls conducted within private properties and customers’ residential places, which was based on citizens’ complaints on this issue

The scope of this Report is notification of the State Prosecution on allegations regarding unauthorized controls conducted within private properties and customers’ residential places by KEDS, as well as drawing attention to KEDS, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Energy Regulatory Office regarding possible violation of human rights.

Ombudsperson’s competency is based on Article 16, paragraph 5 of the Law on Ombudsperson, which stipulates that: “If the Ombudsperson during the investigation conducted observes the presence of criminal offence, than he/she informs competent body for initiation of investigation.”

Furthermore, based on Article 18, paragraph 1.2 of the Law on Ombudsperson No. 05/L-019, the Ombudsperson has the responsibility “to draw attention to cases when the institutions violate human rights and to make recommendation to stop such cases and when necessary to express his/her opinion on attitudes and reactions of the relevant institutions relating to such cases;”

After admission of the first complaint on 29 January 2016, the Ombudsperson has immediately, requested from KEDS setting of interim measures through which suspension of KEDS activities in searching of residential premises has been recommended, due to the fact that unauthorized search of residential places can cause violation of the right to privacy.

Furthermore, Minister of Economic Development as well as the Presiding of the Energy Regulatory Board have been informed about this problem since they have been copied in the communication occurred between Ombudsperson and KEDS General Director, but the Ombudsperson received no response by them.

The Ombudsperson has analyzed provisions of law, rules and procedures to which KEDS refers and has ascertained that, despite counter allegations - of the complainant on one side and KEDS on other, as a responsible party, it remains within the competency of respective prosecution offices to conduct an investigation about the manner how has KEDS conducted searching of customers’ properties.

The Ombudsperson reiterated that searches within private properties on suspicion of criminal actions can be done only with a court order by the police, with full respect of Provisions of Criminal Procedure Code, No. 04/L-123, respectively in compliance with Article 105 and 108 of the Code. The Ombudsperson also recalls that unauthorized controls are sanctioned by Article 201, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Republic of Kosovo No.04/L-082

The Ombudsperson draws attention to KEDS, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Energy Regulatory Office that possible unauthorized controls denote breach of the right to privacy; guaranteed by Article 36, paragraph 1 and 2 of the Constitution of Republic of Kosovo.

European Convention on Human Rights also guarantees the right on the respect of family and private life.

The Ombudsperson draws attention of the Ministry of Economic Development and the Energy Regulatory Office on Article 3, paragraph 2 of the Constitution, which reads: “The exercise of public authority in the Republic of Kosovo shall be based upon the principles of equality of all individuals before the law and with full respect for internationally recognized fundamental human rights and freedoms, as well as protection of the rights of and participation by all Communities and their members”

Furthermore, based on principle of application of legality and with the aim to improve and increase authorities’ effectiveness, the Ombudsperson, in compliance with Article 135, paragraph 3 of the Constitution of Republic of Kosovo as well as Article 16, paragraph 5 and Article 18 paragraph 1.2 of the Law on Ombudsperson recommends that:

1. State Prosecution Office to request initiation of investigations by competent Basic Prosecution Offices against responsible officials of the Kosovo Company for Distribution and Supply of Electricity- KEDS regarding unauthorized inspections within residential premises and the electrical appliances that are customers’ property.

2. Kosovo Company for Distribution and Supply of Electricity:

a. to terminate unauthorized entrances within flats or any other private residential places, for possible inspection of electrical appliances, that are customers’ private properties.

b. to further improve distribution network and the installations in order to be able to control electricity losses avoiding completely in this way inspections within customers’ properties, specifically inspections within customers’ living premises, and

c. in cases when there are suspicions for misappropriation or electricity loss to request initiation of investigations from relevant institutions.

2. Ministry of Economic Development and Energy Regulatory Office to protect rights of Kosovo Republic citizens, as foreseen by the Constitution, in relation with Kosovo Company for Distribution and Supply of Electricity, which as private company, exercises public authorization in Republic of Kosovo.

Full Ombudsperson’s Report regarding the Complaint No: 6/2016 and Complaint No: 120/2016, related to KEDS unauthorized controls within private properties and customers’ residential places has been forwarded to Mr. Aleksander Lumezi, Chief State Prosecutor; z. George Karagutoff- KEDS  General Director; Mr. Blerand Stavileci, Minister of Economic Development; Mt. Enver Halimi, Energy Regulatory Office on 14 of July 2016. It is to be mentioned as well that Mr. Habit Hajredini, Office of Good Governance, within the scope of the Office of Prime Minister and Mrs. Lirije Kajtazi, President of the Commission on Human Rights, Gender Equality, Missing Persons and Petitions have been notified about this Report as well.

Pursuant to Article 132, paragraph 3 of the Constitution of Republic of Kosovo and Article 28 of the Law on Ombudsperson No.05/L-019, the Ombudsperson awaits to be informed on the actions to be undertaken in response to the preceding Recommendations of this Report, within a reasonable time limit but no later than 15 August 2016.

The full Report with Recommendations, as it has been delivered to the responsible institutions, is published on OI web page (HERE) and is disseminated to media as well.

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