Glen  Lavy

Worse, this new constitution – on which the people of Kosovo had no vote and no input – makes no provision for the balance of powers. The president is chosen not by the people, but by the Assembly. While Kosovars elect the members of that Assembly, the constitution is clearly designed to support a system that places a maximum of power in the hands of a minimum of leaders.

The new constitution is not only inconsistent with democracy, it is inconsistent with independence. This is best evidenced by Article 53 of the constitution they’ve ratified – a passage which cedes all interpretations of Kosovo human rights to the European Court of Human Rights (the court of the Council of Europe). No truly independent country asks an international tribunal to interpret its internal, national laws.

Instead of an independent nation, the new constitution subjects Kosovo to the edicts of the European Union, with no voice in the choices the EU makes. In effect, Kosovo has decided to solidify its independence by sacrificing its national autonomy.

Despite the precipitous ceremonial signing of the constitution by Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu in April, and its near-unanimous approval by the Assembly, observers from several Western organizations met with Kosovar political leaders shortly afterward to urge crucial revisions in the document. The President, Speaker of the Assembly, and the leaders of the major political parties listened politely but made no commitment to make the changes necessary to provide true freedom for their people.

Those meetings sought to refine a document that is, in so many respects, a beautiful culmination of the hard work of countless thoughtful Kosovars to balance the rights of all individuals and ethnic groups within this often volatile region. The hope is that the seeds of oppression – sown so slyly by outsiders from the far Left – can be uprooted swiftly, and that, in their place, true freedom can finally bloom and grow in the lives of all the people of Kosovo.

Glen Lavy

Glen Lavy is a senior vice president and senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (
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