New Criminal Code in Kosovo strengthens protections for LGBTI persons

The new Criminal Code of Kosovo, published in the Official Gazette on 14 January 2019 and entered into force on 14 April 2019 comes with stronger protections for LGBTI citizens. The Criminal Code, in the article 70 (General rules on mitigation or aggravation of punishment) for the first time has introduced the definition of “hate act” as a motivated crime committed against a person, group of persons, property or affinity with persons upon the numerous grounds including sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Also, sexual orientation and gender identity are included in precisely seven articles as protected grounds. 

LGBTI citizens in Kosovo enjoy now a greater legal protection from what are widely known as crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity or hate crimes. 

More specifically the articles where sexual orientation and gender identity are now explicitly mentioned are: 

Article 141: Inciting discord or intolerance

Article 173: Aggravated Murder

Article 184: Assault

Article 185: Light Bodily Injury

Article 186: Grievous Bodily Injury

Article 190: Violating equal status of citizens and residents of the Republic of Kosovo

Article 321: Destruction or Damage to Property

The LGBTI movement in Kosovo considers these changes “a great success of their two years of intensive work and advocacy, as they offer a concrete legal framework which makes it easier for the justice system to identify and address criminal offenses which target the LGBTI community”.