Reform in Justice/ Results of KPK and KPA, vetting continues

2024-01-01 22:00:00, Vetingu CNA

Reform in Justice/ Results of KPK and KPA, vetting continues

Justice reform remains a key issue for Albania, and there was considerable attention throughout 2023. The actors involved spoke about the fruits of this reform, starting with the investigation and punishment of officials and former high officials of the Albanian state.

Costs of Justice Reform

This reform has cost hundreds of millions of euros to the state budget during these years, while the costs will continue to be very high until 2025.

The total cost of following the Justice Reform is expected to reach 11.8 billion ALL from 2023-2025. In the first steps of the Reform, in 2016, it was predicted that it would cost about 175 million by 2020. In the first years, the costs remained relatively low, due to delays in staffing the new justice bodies. But costs increased especially starting in 2019.

The new salaries of judges and prosecutors are one of the items that make the Justice Reform so expensive. This is because the salaries of magistrates for three years are at the average level of 2 to 3 thousand euros per month. While separate costs are also capital expenses, for offices, premises, which have cost not a little, but about 40 million euros in the last two or three years alone.

How many prosecutors and judges were "burned" by vetting

But what was the activity of the new institutions of justice throughout the year 2023? The vetting of judges and prosecutors continued in 2023. The Independent Qualification Commission dismissed a total of nine prosecutors and seven judges. Most of the dismissals came after prosecutors and judges did not justify the wealth.

After evaluating the three basic criteria, such as wealth, clean image and professionalism, four judges and prosecutors were confirmed in office. On the other hand, the Independent Appellate Panel dismissed two judges and one prosecutor from office, after finding inaccuracies in the main pillars of the assessment.

Balance of vetting in Justice

From February 8, 2018, when the vetting started, until November 2023, the Independent Qualification Commission has issued 712 decisions, of which:

311 confirmation decisions for 152 judges, 145 prosecutors, 2 former inspectors at the KLD, 2 inspectors at the KLJ and 10 assistants/legal advisors;

242 dismissal decisions for 139 judges, 1 ex-judge in the Supreme Court, 100 prosecutors, 1 inspector in the Supreme Court and 2 legal assistants;

101 process interruption decisions

48 decisions to end the process without a final decision for 25 judges

The start of the vetting process in March 2018 gave Albanians hope for a justice system cleansed of judges and prosecutors who are corrupt or connected to crime.

The most frequent "sin" of the departed was unjustified wealth. In some cases, the KPK has also found links with incriminated elements. None of them agreed with the decision, contesting it in the second instance, in the Special Appeals College, dozens of them failed.

As there is a shortage of judges in many of the courts in the country, the Supreme Judicial Council has decided to qualify 17 of them from the School of Magistrates. They are part of the Magistrate's school for the year 2023-2024.

The case of Alfred Balla

The head of the High Prosecution Council, Alfred Balla, was subject to vetting according to the legislation in force due to his work as a legal assistant in the High Court until July 31, 2017 and had to undergo the re-evaluation process.

The independent qualification commission was not able to give a decision confirming or dismissing the head of the High Prosecution Council, which is the government of the prosecution. For Alfred Balla, the reason for this decision was the previous position he held as a legal assistant at the Supreme Court.

Mentioning the judicial conflict that Balla opened in the administrative with the objections to the dismissal, KPK recalls that Alfred Balla finally lost the status of the subject of reassessment. On the other hand, the important official of the KLP turns out to have won a place in this institution as a member of civil society and not as voted by justice. This decision was given at a time when ONM requested the priority vetting of the head of the KLP.

The role of the EU and America in the Reform of Justice

The EU and the US aim to establish a judicial system with integrity, independence, stability and more results in Albania, which is why they have strongly supported this reform with expertise and funds. The EU sees this as fulfillment by Albania of an essential condition for progress in the process of its acceptance into the European family./ CNA

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