Public statement - The deceleration of the Justice Reform delays Albania’s European integration

Public statement - The deceleration of the Justice Reform delays Albania’s European integration

“Delayed justice – denied justice”

Tirana, 5th October 2018 - The coalition “Justice for All”[1] has supported the Justice reform since the beginning, aiming to establish an independent, responsible, transparent and efficient system. This reform was implemented in three main directions which include: (1) improvement of the legislation; (2) establishment of the new governing bodies of the justice system and (3) transitional re-evaluation of the judges and prosecutors (the vetting process).

The basis for Albania’s integration in the European family is the implementation and intensification of the reforms in the 5 key priorities that are: (1) justice reform; (2) public administration reform; (3) fight against organized crime; (4) fight against corruption and (5) respect of human rights. These priorities are tightly related with each-other, with the sustainable economic progress and with the integration of the country.

The first results of the reform are: the approval of the laws/legislative changes which regulate different aspects of the justice system and human rights, as well as the removal of some judges and prosecutors for being unsuitable. However, there is still a lot of work to be done for its full implementation through the approval of the other laws of the justice package and the establishment of the new institutions in the justice system.

The Coalition “Justice for All” expresses the concern that the justice reform has been decelerated and this delay is putting the country’s progress towards European integration in danger.

As it has happened in the past, the current behavior of the political parties shows a lack of will to give to the justice system, the necessary independence and autonomy, which is so essential for its operation in compliance with the mission that the Constitution and law imposes, as a separate power divided by the other powers.

This behavior impacts in a negative way and undermines the difficult fight against organized crime, corruption, and in a general way the efforts to guarantee the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the citizens and the operation of the rule of law. The recent events at the First Instance Serious Crimes Prosecution Office constitute a case that endangered not only the allocation of justice, but also the integrity and security of the justice employees that fight organized crime.

The delays in the implementation of the reform and the dysfunction in the right level of the responsible institutions has resulted in serious consequences in the defense and respect of the human rights, especially for the vulnerable groups and defenseless citizens. The last case of the girl from Fushë-Kruja is also shocking, as it demonstrates the impaired functioning of the institutions with regard to providing justice and guaranteeing equality before the law.

Political parties should rise above their political agendas, offer support, cooperation and consensus in order to provide an essentially independent, responsible and reliable justice system for the country.

The Coalition “Justice for All” estimates that the process for the transitional re-evaluation of the judges and prosecutors that are also candidates for the Judicial High Council and the High Council of the Prosecution, should be implemented as soon as possible, certainly by guaranteeing the principles of due legal process and equal standards of evaluation for all the subjects. The finalization of this process will make possible the establishment and formation of the new governing bodies of the justice system, as well as the operation of the Constitutional Court and High Court.

We are convinced that our justice system includes judges and prosecutors that are honest and professional, and that contribute to the new governing bodies of the justice system. By default, the Coalition “Justice for All” encourages the participation of as many prosecutors as possible in the competition opened in the Prosecutorial High Council for candidates from the Appeal Prosecution Offices.

Coalition “Justice for All” will continue to closely follow the developments of the justice reform and monitor every case that is related to the progress of its implementation, aiming for the creation of an independent, transparent and reliable justice system that guarantees the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the equality of citizens before the law.

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Coalition “Justice for All”, Tirana, 5th October 2018:

  1. Center for Legal Civic Initiatives ;
  2. Albanian Women Empowerment Network – AWEN;
  3. Tirana Legal Aid Society – TLAS;
  4. Children Rights Observatory;
  5. Meridia Albania;
  6. South East Social Contract Institute – SSCI;
  7. Foundation for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation of Disputes - FZKPM;
  8. “Vatra” Psycho-Social Center;
  9. Organization "Different and Equal";
  10. Albanian Legal and Territorial Research Institute – ALTRI Center;
  11. Women’s Democracy Network Albania – WDN Albania;
  12. Organization “People in Focus”;
  13. Association “Another Vision”;
  14. Institute for Roma Culture in Albania – IRCA;
  15. Society for Democratic Culture – SDC  ;
  16. Center of Integrated Legal Services and Practices – CILSP;
  17. “Together for Life" Association;
  18. Albanian Disability Rights Foundation – ADRF;

[1]The "Justice for All" Coalition consists of 24 non-profit organizations operating in the field of human rights and the justice system.

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