„Thorbjørn Jagland, the former Norwegian prime minister and Council of Europe secretary general has urged the Assembly President Pedro Agramunt to ensure „an independent external investigation body without any further delay.““
Albanian Judicial Reform Faces New Court Challenge
Two judges‘ associations have launched a fresh Constitutional Court challenge to parts of Albania’s judicial reform package – including the key law on vetting judges and prosecutors – threatening to derail the process.
|Albania’s Constitutional Court. Photo: LSA|
The National Association of Judges and the Union of Albanian Judges have filed a lawsuit with the Albanian Constitutional Court, challenging the legality of the Law on the Governing Institutions of the Justice System, the Law on the Status of Judges and Prosecutors and the Law on the Reassessment of Judges and Prosecutors, known as the ‘vetting’ law.
The lawsuit was filed on June 1 and BIRN has now obtained a copy of the document, which has not been made public.
The three pieces of legislation are part of a comprehensive judicial reform package, which is a prerequisite for Tirana to open accession negotiations with the European Union.
The lawsuit comes amid a hotly-contested campaign for the June 25 parliamentary elections, and at a point when an ad hoc parliamentary commission is selecting the lawyers that will be part of the vetting bodies.
In their request filed with the Constitutional Court, jusdes’ associations seek the disqualification of a number of articles of the vetting law which regulate the vetting of the integrity of judges and prosecutors in regards to their ties with organised crime.
The associations oppose as unconstitutional the scrutiny over ties between the judges, prosecutors and organised crime in the period going back to January 1, 2012.
Another provision of the law they reject relates to possible ties their relatives and people close to them might have or had with organised crime.
The lawsuit in particular challenges the procedure on which the vetting of the integrity of judges and prosecutors will be based and the way evidence will be collected by the Independent Qualification Commission and the Appels College – the two vetting bodies that are currently being created.
The associations argue that the vetting law’s provision on the way evidence will be collected by the ‘control groups’ during the reassessment period goes beyond what the constitution intended.
The judges oppose the use of evidence during the reassessment of testimony provided by protected witnesses of the prosecution, when their ties to organised crime might have been recorded.
They also reject the use as evidence in the vetting process of confidential information, like preventive wiretaps carried out by security services and information collected by police agents.
Another contested article of the vetting law regards the right of prosecutors and judges to resign in order to stop the reassessment process.
The law prescribes that the judges and prosecutors can make use of this right no later than three months after the law entered in force.
According to the judges’ associations, the article is unconstitutional and the subjects of the law should have the right to resign and stop the vetting at any given time of their choice.
This is not the first time the two associations that represent the powerful judges’ lobby in Albania, have appealed the Constitutional Court in order to challenge the judicial reform package.
In autumn 2016, they joined the opposition Democratic Party, in its court appeal against the law on vetting judges and prosecutors, which is a key component of the reform passed by parliament in July 2016.
Although the Constitutional Court, following a recommendation by the Venice Commission, refused to strike down the vetting law, the decision did not discourage the judges associations, which in April through another case managed to abolish some articles of the law on the Status of Judges and Prosecutors.
The ruling in favour seems to have buoyed the judges to seek a partial annulment of the other three laws.
The Constitutional Court is expected to convene on June 22 in order to hear the arguments on the new case.
Vlachudin under investigation
Romana Vlachudin, the ambassador of the European Union in Albania, is under OLAF investigation for purchasing a 350-square-metre house in Tirana for €1,6m. This is rather crazy since local experts say this specific house is not worth even a third of the selling price.
At the time of the sale, similar houses in the same area and bigger ones were priced at least €1m less than what the Commission paid.
This investigation is of particular significance because it was opened four weeks ahead of Albania’s general election on June 23.
On more than one occasion, Vlachudin has openly supported Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s ruling socialists. The fact, however, that the Rama-friendly EU Ambassador was placed under investigation before the election, may signify that given the circumstances, the European Commission does not wish to take sides in the electoral process of Albania.
Nevertheless, the good ambassador’s pick has few chances of winning the election – and no one wants to be associated with a loser, especially not the European Commission.
Cecilia Malmström “I do not take my mandate from the European people.”
Die Justiz wurde beerdigt, jede Ansatz einer Rechtsstaatlichkeit erneut mit den korrupten EU und IRZ Banden gestoppt, welche in Tradition schlimmer wie die „Camorra“ ist, sogar „Nghradeta“ Milliarden Projekte in Albanien direkt finanzieren, wie die TAP Pipeline. Die Banden werden sogar für Gelddiebstahl in Milliarden Höhe und Bauschrott noch belohnt, mit Phantom Projekten ohne Kontrollen.
Sinn und Zweck ausländischer Botschaften, Institutionen, Geldgeber kann die Albanische Bevölkerung schon lange nicht mehr verstehen, wandert aus. Die korrupte und aufgeblähte EU Botschaft, OSCE Botschaft zeigen ein Langzeit Desaster.
7 Millionen € Reisespesen in wenigen Monaten, um private Bilder Galerien zu besuchen, eigene Bilder zu promoten und fast nie in Tirana zu sein. Verfassungsbruch, man hat das Reise Betrugs System der EU, Berlin kopiert und übernommen.