Must the Court of Serious Crimes be dissolved?

Must the Court of Serious Crimes be dissolved?

Tirana, 31 March 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

The package of reforms in the Albanian justice system includes the dissolution of the Court of Serious Crimes. This court was established ten years ago and it was considered as a very important court for the punishment of serious crimes.

The Court of Serious Crimes (photo) has had an impact in the fight against organized crime and traffics and has managed to send behind bars a considerable number of Albanian and foreign criminals.

With the approval of the constitutional amendments, which are part of the reform in the justice system, this court is dissolved.

Experts are against the dissolution of the Court of Serious Crimes. They say that this causes insecurities for the current judges. Above all, the Court of Serious Crimes damages ongoing trials.

Chief Justice of the Court of Serious Crimes, Sander Simoni is against the dissolution of the institution that he has been leading for many years and also against the change in the name of the court. On the contrary, Simoni says that more powers should be given to this court.

“The draft affects the Court of Serious Crimes. Why must it be dissolved when it can be given more powers?”, Simoni says.

Meanwhile, he sees a threat for the life of judges and their families, as they are trying dangerous criminals.

“This plan causes a lack of safety for current judges. These judges have tried criminal groups and organizations. Now they feel unsafe if the Court of Serious Crimes is dissolved”, Mr. Simoni says.

The chief justice of the Court of Appeal for Serious Crimes, Fehmi Petku shares the same opinion. He criticizes the plan of dissolving the Court of Serious Crimes and moving judges in district courts.

“The dissolution of this court is unfair. The judges of this court must be treated with a priority. By moving us to district courts, we feel threatened. This is unsuitable for judges of serious crimes who enjoy a special security status”, Mr. Petku says.

Minister of Justice, Ylli Manjani sees the concern which is raised by judges about their safety as a very serious thing.

Mr. Manjani expresses his readiness to amend the law which offers a solution on this issue.

“Judges must not be moved elsewhere, but they must be kept and try cases here. If the law needs to be amended, I am ready to start work for this”, Mr. Manjani says. /ibna/