Accessing public documents
Do you want to know where your municipality is spending its budget or analyze the public contract with the company building the road in your neighborhood? You should know that the Law on Access to Public Documents allows you to get access to official documents from public institutions, with some limitations. The limitations listed in the Law on Access to Public Documents are documents which may endanger security, hamper criminal investigations, violate privacy or commercial interests, etc. The law foresees that if public institutions do not provide citizens with access to documents as foreseen by law, they can be fined from 5,000 EUR to 10,000 EUR.The responsible public official can also be fined from 500 EUR to 1,000 EUR. The Law on Access to Public Documents also obliges public institutions to publish as many documents as they can online, including all organizational data, relevant legislation, strategies and policy documents, procedures, application forms, etc.
The Law on Access to Public Documents establishes clear procedures on how the right to accessing documents should be implemented. You should submit a request (which can be anonymous) to third parties. If the institution you sent the request to isn’t responsible for the information, then it must forward it to the relevant institution within five working days. The institution receives and registers the request and has seven days to issue a decision – either granting access or not. If the institution does not reply within the legal timeline, it is considered a negative reply and this gives the applicant the right to initiate a procedure before the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo institution or other relevant bodies
The Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo is the institution which is by law obliged to assist citizens in getting access to the documents which institutions refused to provide access to. The Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo’s services are free of charge. In case your right to access to official documents is violated, you can also address the matter to a competent court.