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Albanian High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) Formed without Finishing Vetting of Candidates

In an anonymous conference room in the former Sheraton Hotel, the General Meeting of Prosecutors yesterday elected the six members of the High Prosecutorial Council. The election of the KLP comes after an intensive propaganda campaign of the international diplomatic missions in Tirana, led by the EU Delegation and US Embassy.

The haste and urgency felt both by the government and its international supporters, accompanied by a failure to draft consensual legislation that is in accordance with the provisions regarding the justice reform enshrined in the Constitution Annex, has once again to a situation in which the reform is pushed through to the detriment of the rule of law, rather than its reinforcement.

The justice reform has thus become an end in and of itself, rather than a means to arrive at an independent judiciary and the establishment of a stable rule of law. Both the government and its international cheerleaders have booked a short-term success while sacrificing long-term political stability. But who cares? The elections are next year, all our EU “friends” will have new jobs!

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So let’s see what has come out of the magic hat. The full KLP consists of 11 members, 6 from the prosecution and 5 lay members. The lay members had been elected by Parliament earlier this year.

Lawyers (2): Nurihan Seiti (Metaj); Tartar Bazaj
Professors (2): Gent Ibrahimi; Sandër Beci
Civil Society (1): Alfred Balla

Some of these members hardly qualified for the job, eking through with the “help” of Parliament:

Alfred Balla was elected even though he received the lowest score from the Civil Society Commission, and was disqualified by the International Monitoring Mission (ONM). In its evaluation of Balla’s platform, the ONM had found that it was “nearly completely plagiarized from the platform of another candidate (Plarent Ndreca).” According to the Constitution, art. 149(5), Secretary General of Parliament Genci Gjonçaj should have therefore disqualified him. Instead, Gjonçaj awarded Balla the highest score.

Also Gent Ibrahimi received the highest scores from the Parliamentary Commission, in spite of his poor academic involvement in the past. According to the ONM, Ibrahimi’s CV shows no teaching activity from 1998 to 2016, violating the requirement that candidates should have been teaching for at least 5 years. His CV is also unclear whether he has been engaged in any scholarly work at all. The Commission counters this disqualifying lack in experience by claiming that Ibrahimi has been involved as a trainer/expert in the Continuous Training Program of the School of Magistrates, “for which no academic title is required.”

Yesterday, the General Meeting of Prosecutors elected four additional members, while two others won their 9-year position by default, for lack of competitors.

Prosecutors at Court of First Instance (2/1 outside Tirana): Gentian Osmani, Antoneta Sevdari, Besnik Cani
Prosecutors at Appeals Court (1/1 outside Tirana): Bujar Sheshi, Arben Dollapaj
Prosecutor at General Prosecution Office (1): Kostaq Beluri

As I have explained before, the vetting of several of these KLP members has not been completed, in violation of the Constitution Annex and the Vetting Law.

The Public Commissioner has appealed at the Special Appeals Chamber the confirmation of Gentian Osmani and Antoneta Sevdari, while the verdict of Besnik Cani has not yet been made public. Furthermore Dritan Rreshka, Elsion Sadiku, and Adriatik Cama have appealed their dismissal by the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK).

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When the KPA will overturn either the confirmation of Osmani or Sevdari, or reinstate Rreshka, Sadiku, or Cama, we will enter (once again) unknown legal territory, as only the Constitutional Court can take disciplinary measures against KLP members. And there is no Constitutional Court.

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