USA is directly involved in the debates for the reform in justice in Albania

USA is directly involved in the debates for the reform in justice in Albania

Tirana, 28 June 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

United States of America are increasing their influence for the approval of the justice reform as soon as possible in Albania.

On one hand, the US ambassador to Tirana, Donald Lu, accuses the Albanian opposition of blocking the reform in justice, although according to him, the opposition was given three solutions which were fully compliant with recommendation 88 of the Venice Commission.

On the other hand, US congressmen, the head of the Committee for European in the US Congress Foreign Policy Committee, Dana Rohrabacher, David Jolly and Robert Aderholt have addressed a special letter to the US State Secretary, John Kerry. The letter for the reform in justice is seen by the opposition as a special contribution in order to offer Albanians an independent justice system based on the recommendations of the Venice Commission, which makes sure that the justice system will not be captured.

Lu: Basha  always found something to reject

In his public address called “An appeal for the young generation in Albania” (which you can find in full at the end of this report), Donald Lu says that since 4 May of this year, the United States of America and the European Union have offered reasonable compromise proposals in three occasions. According to Mr. Lu, the majority has accepted these proposals, while “Mr. Basha  always found something to reject”.

Lu says that Basha refused although USA offered three solutions which are fully compliant with sections 61 and 88 of the Final Opinion of the Venice Commission.

His stance becomes stern when Mr. Lu says that Albanian political leaders fear the reform in the justice system: “On the other hand, perhaps Albanian political leaders fear this reform and are not ready to make a deal”.

In this case, Lu calls on individual Members of Parliament to assume responsibility and vote in fabor of this reform.

“The voting has been scheduled to take place on 21 July. It is time to decide”.

He also addresses a question as to “who are these political leaders who are telling the Albanian people that they cannot have this reform?”

American congressmen address a letter for the Albanian justice system

A few hours before the US ambassador came up with his stance, a letter written by US congressmen arrived in the office of Mr. Lu’s superior, John Kerry. (you can find the full letter by clicking here)

The head of Committee for Europe in the US Congress Foreign Policy Committee, Dana Rohrabacher and congressmen David Jolly and Robert Aderholt demand for the request of the opposition regarding the reform in justice to be fulfilled.

The congressmen have suggested the adoption and implementation of recommendation 88 of the Venice Commission as the only solution, considering it as a guarantee for a successful reform in justice.

Opposition praises the congressmen, no comments on Lu

The opposition led by Basha says that the letter is a precious contribution to offer Albanians an independent justice system, based on the recommendations of the Venice Commission, which guarantees that the system will not be politically controlled.

“We hope that this engagement of the US congressmen will encourage the majority to unblock the reform in justice, by choosing the solution proposed by the Venice Commission in recommendation 88”, Mr. Basha comments.

“I hope that Edi Rama will give up on his efforts to control the judiciary system and give way to consensus for the reform in justice, as the only way to offer the citizens the justice that they want, the justice that doesn’t defend, but which punishes crime and corruption”, he hadds.

Meanwhile, Mr. Basha makes no comments on Mr. Lu’s repeated statements.

An Appeal to Albania’s Younger Generation

by Donald Lu

Albanians often ask me what the best and worst parts of my job are. The answer is easy. The best part of my job is meeting with bright, young students. The worst part of my job is experiencing Albanian politics up close.

Maybe the students can teach the politicians something. Many intelligent people have worked on judicial reform for almost two years. The majority and opposition have agreed on everything except for one last detail: the opposition demand for reserved seats. How would a young student suggest we solve this problem?

It’s simple. Any kid would tell you that both sides should stop insulting each other and calling each other bad names. They should sit down like adults and resolve the issue through compromise.

It’s true that Mr. Rama and Mr. Basha tried to do this on June 6. They failed to reach an agreement. Three times since May 4, the United States and the European Union offered reasonable compromise proposals. The majority accepted these proposals. Mr. Basha always found something to reject.

I think the Albanian people are tired of their politicians playing games. If the opposition and government want to make a deal, we have offered three compromise solutions that are fully consistent with paragraphs 61 and 88 of the Venice Commission Final Opinion. Politicians don’t need to take our ideas and suggestions, but they do need to find a compromise.

On the other hand, perhaps Albania’s political party leaders are afraid of this reform and are not ready to make any agreement. In that case, I ask the individual members of Parliament to take the responsibility to vote in favor of this reform. The vote is scheduled for July 21. It is time to decide.

Every political party leader, every member of Parliament and every young person knows that the people of Albania overwhelmingly support judicial reform. Who are these political party leaders to tell the Albanian people that they cannot have this reform?

I have a request for the younger generation of Albanians. I ask all of you to tell your elected leaders that you want this reform. Write a letter. Post to social media. Talk with your friends. The July 21 vote will determine the direction of this country. Let your leaders know that you want to grow up in a country free from corrupt judges and prosecutors. Tell them you want Albania to be a democracy where your voices will be heard and you will be treated fairly and with respect. /