As time passes by, an increasing amount of inconsistencies are coming to light in the justice reform, which further erode the credibility of the “new” judiciary. These inconsistencies were baked into the justice reform legislation advised by the EURALIUS and OPDAT legal assistance missions and passed by the votes of only Socialist majority in Parliament.
One of such inconsistencies has led to the current paradoxical situation that two candidates for the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the country, were barred from entering the trajectory to become judges by training at the School of Magistrates because of their insufficient test scores.
According to the Status Law, art. 165(3), councillors to the Constitutional Court could take a so-called proficiency test at the School of Magistrates, which allowed them to enter to the program to become a full judge or prosecutor. The proficiency test consists of two components, logical (100 points) and professional (200 points). In both components, candidates should score at least 60% to pass the test.
Out of 47 participants to the test, only 10 councillors to the Constitutional or High Court and legal assistants to the Appeal courts passed.
Art. 165(2) of the Status Law allowed councillors to undergo the vetting process in order to become eligible as a candidate for the Constitutional Court.
Three councillors who took the proficiency test were also vetted and deemed electablefor the Constitutional Court by the Justice Appointments Council: Arta Vorpsi, Fiona Papajorgji, and Elsa Toska.
However, as their vetting dossiers show, only Fiona Papajorgji passed the proficiency test. She scored 63 points for the logical component and 146 for the professional component. As a result, she qualified to enter the School of Magistrates. She rejected the offer and instead applied to become a Constitutional Court judge.
Vorpsi scored 0(?)/145 (the points of the first component were omitted from her vetting dossier), whereas Toska scored 57/153. According to their respective vetting dossiers, neither was invited to enter the School of Magistrates to become a judge or prosecutor.
So we are now faced with the paradoxical and unfortunate situation that two of the candidates for the highest court of the country failed the School of Magistrates proficiency test to become a magistrate, while being allowed to be appointed to the Constitutional Court. This leaves us with three possible scenarios:
- The proficiency test of the School of Magistrates was not conducted fairly
- The vetting commissions and KED did not properly assess the candidates’ professional proficiency
- The justice reform legislation does not set equal and fair standards throughout the judiciary
Although 1 and 2 are certainly a possibility, we already know that large parts of the justice reform legislation were passed with minimal input or debate, with Prime Minister Edi Rama even claiming that he “didn’t read” it. Furthermore, the contradictions between the different definitions of “vetting” used by the judicial governance institutions have already shown the absurd inequalities and contradictions introduced into the legal system.
This faulty legislation has now created a situation in which candidates to the Constitutional Court, and most likely future judges, have a record that includes a failure to enter the School of Magistrates, the grand “filter” designed by the justice reform to mold future members of the judiciary. Will this inspire trust among the Albanian citizens, as promised insistently by both the EU and US? Unlikely so.
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