The US Embassy in Albania has reinstated its commitment to the country’s ongoing justice reform.
In a press release the embassy advises that “reform is painful, slow, and imperfect, but it is necessary.”
“We must not get distracted, we must not get confused – the goal is clear, the Albanian people have spoken, and Justice Reform must move forward, step by step,” they
On May 21, the US embassy warned Albanian politicians against derailing the justice reform, after the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office suspended vetting judge Luan Daci.
Today’s message can be seen as a follow-up in this issue, and be decoded as follows: though members of vetting bodies may have been appointed in contradiction with the law, the vetting process must continue. They can be replaced, but the reform mustn’t be impinged upon.
On Sunday, the Special Anti-Corruption Court upheld Special Appeal Chamber (KPA) judge Luan Daci’s suspension. Daci is accused of falsifying documentation to conceal his 1997 dismissal.
Alongside Daci, another KPA judge, Ardian Hajdari is currently being investigated by the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution (SPAK). Hajdari stands accused of having claimed he worked as a lawyer in order to meet the criteria to be appointed to the KPA, but not having the tax records to prove it, which means he either lied on his application or is guilty of tax evasion. He is also accused of not knowing English, another KPA member requirement, as he has presented no documentation that proves this.
In the coming days, another vetting commissioner is expected to be reported to the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution (SPAK). Alma Faskaj, a member of the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK) has been dismissed as judge in 1996, by the High Judicial Council (KLD) on grounds of violating the law and incompetence, something she has concealed in her application to become a KPK member.
If Daci, or any of the other vetting commissioners, are convicted, then all the vetting rulings from bodies they have been part of become null, and the vetting processes will have to be repeated, seeing as the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the legality of a process is compromised if the judge who ruled in it has been appointed illegally.
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