This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By Alfred Peza
Along with the spring, another season has started in Albania: the vetting season or the season when our justice system will be rid once and for all of all the judges and prosecutors who have installed a culture of impunity in our country. This will be a season for the renewal of the most rotten pillar of our justice system. Year after year and decade after decade, this culture of impunity turned the Albanian justice system into a power which did everything but deliver justice.
As spring is believed to “change the blood”, a very vital process this one, the season of vetting in the justice system is also believed that it will remove the infected troop from it and give way to those few ones who have managed to remain immune or youngsters who have completed the best law schools, in order to give life to a new justice system. A justice system which makes the system of a democratic and pluralist state a functional one; a justice system which offers a solution to all the problems of the citizens; one which punishes the guilty ones and fills people with confidence that in this country you can invest, live and have hope for your future and the future of your children.
In the recent days there have been several encouraging developments, which make us believe that the season of the vetting season can truly deserve to be considered as such, in order for it to help the justice system to take other important steps in order to be fully implemented in its closed cycle.
Last week, the Prosecution General appointed a team of prosecutors who launched a probe into former Attorney General Adriatik Llalla for “laundering the proceeds of crime” or if we want to speak in layman’s terms, “money laundering”. What encouraged this was a number of investigative articles published in the recent weeks in the media, shedding light on several unknown aspects of the former head of prosecution. On top of these, we also have the proofs that the US State Department had at the moment when it decided to introduce Llalla’s family in the list of those who are denied entry in the United States.
This week, the Independent Qualification Commission pressed charges against the former member of the Constitutional Court of Albania, Besnik Imeraj. Imeraj resigned from the justice system a few weeks ago, therefore, the vetting process for him, based on the law, was suspended. But this did not prevent the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK), which is the first instance of the vetting process, to send his case for criminal prosecution. The message in this case seems to be the following: Despite the maneuvers and gaps used to avoid audits, nobody has impunity from the investigation of his figure.
On the other hand, this week, another important process has started: the public hearings with judges and prosecutors who are undergoing the vetting process. The member of the Constitutional Court, Fatos Lulo offered explanations in front of one of the “judicial” troops of the Independent Qualification Commission in relation to his wealth, accusations and the allegations raised against him.
Besides many other things, this process has an extraordinary importance due to Albania’s ambitions to obtain a date for the start of accession talks with the European Union.
This way, the reform in justice is not only a very important criteria, which Albania had to meet to reach this milestone, but it is also an efficient weapon in the diplomatic battle, in presenting the progress that we have made in front of the neighbours, who have the same ambitions as us to become part of the European family.
Therefore, this season of “vetting”, like the season of spring, has started to produce its flowers, the fruits of which will soon be shed in the coming seasons.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy