Balkans News

In Albania, Illegitimate Justice Appointment Council (KED) Appears from Magical Hat

As if from a magical hat, Parliament has elected 8 out of 9 members of the Justice Appointments Council (KED) for 2019.

Constitutional Court (2): Bashkim Dedja, Vitore Tusha
High Court (1): Ardian Dvorani, Medi Bici (replacement)
General Prosecution (1): Arta Marku
Appeals Courts (2): Fatri Islamaj, Margarita Mahuli, Gurali Braimllari (replacement)
Prosecution at Appeals Courts (2): Fatjona Memçaj, [vacancy]
Administrative Courts (1): Eriol Roshi, Klodiana Veizi Mema (replacement)

The procedure for the KED election was marred by several violations of art. 221 of Law 115/2016 On the Governance Institutions of the Justice System, which was passed through Parliament of the votes of only the Socialist majority.

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First of all, the High Court violated art. 221(4) by failing to publish a list of qualified and unqualified of candidates on its website.

Second, the High Council of Justice (KLD) violated both art. 221(4) and 221(3) by additionally violating the deadline of November 15 for the Appeals and Administrative Courts candidates, who are – to this day – still unknown, except those that were elected today. In other words, we don’t know whether Fatri Islamaj, Margarita Mahuli, Gurali Braimllari, Eriol Roshi, and Klodiana Veizi Mema actually qualify for the KED, nor whether who the other qualifying candidates were, nor who was disqualified. As their CVs were not published, it is unclear whether any of the KLD-nominated candidates actually qualify.

Third, the High Court violated art. 221(1)(d) by qualifying three candidates, Edmond Islamaj, Ardian Dvorani, and Medi Bici, none of whom have finished the School of Magistrates.

Ironically, the four candidates that did qualify were in fact not elected at all, as they were the sole candidates for their respective positions. So 4 out of 9 KED positions were predetermined, rather than decided by means of the lottery. This, together with the other violations of Albanian law, seriously undermines the credibility of the 2019 KED.

This, of course, is only of concern if the KED would actually be able to do anything in 2019. Despite the suggestion of the EU’s proposal to skip the vetting of KED members, and the Albanian Helsinki Commission’s urgent advice to give very first priority to the vetting of KED members, there is still one member of the 2017 KED, Kastriot Selita, and one member of the 2018 KED, Fatos Qato, who have not been vetted so far.

Of the 2019 KED members, only Bashkim Dedja, Vitore Tusha, Ardian Dvorani, Medi Bici, Arta Marku, and Fatjona Memçaj have been vetted by the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK). An appeal at the Special Appeals Chamber (KPA) against the confirmation of Dedja is still pending, with a hearing scheduled on December 12.

The others have not been vetted yet. The dossier of Eriol Roshi was opened on May 15, while Fatri Islamaj’s was opened only recently, only on November 15. The dossiers of Margarita Mahuli, Gurali Braimllari, and Klodiana Veizi Mema have not yet been opened.

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In all of this, the role of the international community has again been non-constructive and opaque. Speaker of Parliament today invoked EURALIUS and OPDAT as weighing in on his decision to hold the KED lottery in spite of the abovementioned legal violations. Contacted by Exit, EURALIUS V has so far failed to answer any questions regarding their “advisory” role in this illegitimate process, and different from its predecessor, EURALIUS IV, it has removed the names of the legal experts it employs from the website. Also removed from the website is the justice reform legislation it helped draft and is partially responsible for.

Moreover, EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca touted the procedure, marred by illegitimacy, as “an important step forward.” This shows that once again the EU is not on the side of the rule of law – even if they drafted the law themselves! – but on the side of “pragmatic” or “technical” solutions, that will only, once again, lead to the informality, abuse, and corruption that it claims to combat.

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