Former Minister of European Integration, Marko Bello, who has served as an MP in several legislatures of the parliament of Albania, talks in this analysis for IBNA, about the latest developments which relate to the reform in justice. Several years ambassador to Romania, vice minister of Defense and Minister of State, Mr. Bello has a long political and professional career. He is known to be as one of the most moderated voices of the Socialist Party and politics in general. Therefore in this article, he explains the fact that one of the main reasons that delays Albania’s integration in Europe is the poor culture of the application of the law, impunity of those that violate the law and the failure to respect the principle of legitimacy or hierarchy of laws.
Below you can read the editorial comment that Mr. Bello wrote for IBNA readers:
By Marko Bello
Everyone is and should be equal in front of the law
The constitutional amendments and the legal package that will soon be passed for the reform in the judiciary system, have offered optimism that at last, a credible, fair, independent and professional justice system can be formed.
Without a doubt, a justice system with these characteristics is a real premise for the consolidation of the rule of law, respect of human rights and liberties, equality of the citizens in front of the law, economic and social progress of the country and its integration in the structures of the European Union.
Today, in a modern era, a consolidated state is a state where laws and legal norms are respected and where citizens truly protected by the excessive force of the state.
A strong state is a state where there’s rule of law, which on one hand protects its citizens against possible abuses of state authorities and on the other, it is represented by an efficient public administration, which strictly complies with the general principles of the rule of law, such as: provision of legal norms, legal security and legitimate confidence.
In spite of the efforts and engagement to undertake necessary reforms to build a democratic state, even today, 25 years since the overthrow of the totalitarian communist regime, we’re still far from the creation of a rule of law. If today there’s a reason that delays the integration of our country in Europe is the poor culture that exists in terms of the application of the law, the impunity of those that violate the law and the failure to respect the principle of legitimacy or hierarchy of laws.
Above all, unlawfulness or the breaking of the law is what differs us from Europe today, more than race, language or religion.
In organized and modern societies, the individual accepts a certain level of restriction of his freedom, for the sake of more order and security, while in societies with flaws in applying the law, the law is made by the “strong” one and the one with power, by the one who considers the law as an obligation of only the poor, the weak and unprotected one.
Referring to societies with a poor culture and tradition in the application of the law, the law philosopher, Eugeniu Speranta has pointed out that “when fear from punishment is the only thing that obliges people to apply the law, society may be enraptured in a vicious circle”.
Thus, when the frequency of punishment grows, fear grows too. When fear grows, respect of the law grows too. When respect for the law grows, frequency of punishment drops. When frequency of punishment drops, fear drops. When fear drops, respect for the law drops too and when respect for the law drops, frequency of punishments grows.
When we say that everyone is and should be equal in front of the law, it means that nobody is above the law and nobody is and can be exempt from the law. This makes the difference from a legal democratic state from an authoritarian, theocratic state and from an oligarchy or dictatorship.
Contrary to this elementary principle, we’re witness of the fact that in Albania, in the majority of cases, laws are applied in a differentiated way, discriminating the less powerful ones and favoring and defending from punishment those who have more money, power or ties to the powerful ones.
To justify this failure, Albanian politicians rush to blame the system, which according to them, corrupts people and creates premises for the deformation of the system.
In fact, it’s the political leaders the ones that corrupt the system, speculating with the poor culture of the citizens, exploiting the proverbial Albanian impunity and by putting justice at the service of politics.
If this vicious circle is breached, if the threads linking politics with the justice system are cut, if everyone is equal in front of the law and when the culture of the citizens to respect the law dominates over the fear of punishment, then Albania will significantly reduce its path toward Europe.
* The opinion of the author doesn’t necessarily represent IBNA’s editorial line