Is the process of decriminalization in Albania giving its effects?

Is the process of decriminalization in Albania giving its effects?

Tirana, April 24, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

The June 21 local government elections were a golden opportunity for the majority in order for the public attention to turn toward the candidates running for mayor.

This way, the Doshi-Frroku affair (photo) which lasted around two months, became pale and was even forgotten. General Attorney, Adriatik Llalla has brought back this alleged scandal to the public attention and today he has spoken about the intensive inquest which is taking place on this notorious file.

Llalla says that the prosecution investigated the claim of the socialist MP, Tom Doshi, former right wing of PM Edi Rama, according to whom a murder was planned by the speaker of Parliament, Ilir Meta who had allegedly paid 500 thousand Euros to have him killed. An investigation also took place on Doshi’s claim that for the first time he learnt about this plot by the other majority MP, Mark Frroku.

According to Attorney General, Llalla, at the end of the inquiry, nothing resulted to be true.

But why are the two MPs still being held under arrest? For the former, the prosecution demanded to be remanded on custody, while the court placed him under house arrest. For the latter, the prosecution failed to keep him in prison under the charge of foreswearing and charged him with a murder carried out in 1999 in Belgium, sending him back to prison after the court released him.

Llalla says that “MPs Tom Doshi and Mark Frroku, are being taken as defendants, because from the inquiry, it resulted that the plot for the murder of MP Doshi was a mere orchestration by the two lawmakers for motives which are expected to come out during the trial”.

The Doshi-Frroku case brought back in the political scene the demands articulated by the opposition for decriminalization in 2013 and 2014. DP boycotted parliament for six months, because its demand was not granted.

In December, the DP and the government signed an agreement monitored by the international community for decriminalization.

In the early months of 2015, this issue was forgotten, but it was brought back to the attention with the Doshi-Frroku affair.

The Attorney General says that this process is important. “The inclusion in the political and public arena of the topic of decriminalization, is a very important and necessary incentive. Albanian citizens need to elect and be governed by people with high ethical and moral qualities”.

But the debate and the challenge for decriminalization has just started and it requires time to achieve concrete results. Nobody can say how long this process will last.

Attorney General Llalla says that “it’s very important that the discussion on this topic has involved high state levels”. He also mentions that the two MPs are still under prosecution. “The prosecution is currently investigating an MP, who is under custody, as he is accused by Belgian authorities for a murder occurred in 1999. Another MP with criminal records is being tried for physically attacking another MP”.

Mentioning these two cases, Llalla claims that the “discussion on decriminalization has started to produce effects in high levels, but also in low levels, which are not always on the attention of public opinion”.

The opposition presented the platform

The Democratic Party has recently presented the platform for the decriminalization of parliament, institutions and public administration. Oerd Bylykbashi is vice chairman of the parliamentary law committee. He says that the objective of this platform is to draft and approve the constitutional and legal instruments for the verification, identification and the removal from duty of MPs, elected local government officials and every other official appointed in all levels of state institutions or public administration, of those who are in duty or those who in the future want to be elected or appointed.

“The platform for decriminalization will aim at establishing strong and tougher rules for this very big problem that Albanian society is facing, criminalization of politics and institutions”, says Mr. Bylykbashi.

He stresses the fact that there will be checks not only for convictions in Albania, but also abroad, “in order not to leave any chance for such people to penetrate in the administration and the highest institutions of the Albanian state, starting from now”.

The vice chairman of the democrat Parliamentary Group, Eduard Halimi says that “unfortunately, Albania is not following the EU’s path for the strengthening of institutions, but it’s only aiming to capture them in order to use them as a façade”.

According to him, the government doesn’t have the political will to approve the amendments.

Halimi warned that “if the government will not accept these amendments, it will face the opposition and the Albanian citizens”.

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In spite of the efforts, decriminalization of Parliament and Public Administration and the immediate removal of all individuals who are in Parliament or Administration, is not expected to take place at once and receive a final solution, because first and foremost, this fundamental process is not only a matter of norms and laws, but above all, a will which must exist within all political parties and especially from political parties’ leaders.

It remains to be seen if all political sides have the will to do this. So far, evidence has shown the contrary… /ibna/