Fatmir Xhafaj will be the new Minister of Interior Affairs of Albania. Waiting for the President’s decree, the “star” of the judicial reform has raised the public’s interest for a photo that has been circulating for a long time, showing him on the side of the former dictator Enver Hoxha.
Like a brilliant student and with a good biography for the time when the photo was taken, the new Minister of Interior shows himself with an eternal youth on the highest stage of the dictatorial system. But maybe, because of his age, this was not at all a personal choice. However, the photo has no doubt helped him during his education as lawyer, just like many other young people from that period who used the possibilities to be educated.
Similarly, his nomination as investigator in the beginning of the 1980s is something that has left traces in his formation as lawyer. Not anyone is nominated to such a delicate and important post in the dictatorial system.
Opinion has secured facsimiles of one of the verdicts given by Xhafaj when he was a prosecutor in the city of Kruja. The papers show clearly that the investigation of the saleswoman started after a control which brought out financial abuse. Without taking about numbers and the start of the investigation with Xhafaj’s signature in the remote year of 1985, this issue would without a doubt put the saleswoman in question in jail, turning her life and that of her family members into hell. Many may pretend that such was the system, that theft is punished all around the world, and that Xhafaj just did his duty. However, if you look closely at the facts, something isn’t right.
First, Fatmir Xhafaj has been prosecutor in the final years of the regime, when after the death of the dictator it seemed as if things would calm down a bit. But until today, neither Xhafaj nor anyone else has publicly declared whether they had politically investigated people or had taken decisions that could have thrown people in jail or internment camps.
The papers that we secured are only a small part of the many verdict or investigations made by Xhafaj during his period as investigator in Kruja. It is the duty of the media, but especially of the new minister, who is simultaneously the chairman of the parliamentary committee for legal issues, to further investigate this, in order to explain to us when and where he has exercised an office under the dictatorship.
Second, Xhafa may no doubt be an able lawyer. This I cannot judge easily, even though the judicial reform that he led turned out to be a failure in every single detail. In fact, this is not surprising for those who have followed the reform from up close, during which Xhafa showed a remarkably strong opposition against his coalition partner, the LSI, to find consensus about the reform, without which it wouldn’t exist.
Today, the LSI looks just the PD to be unhappy with this nomination, because in several cases it as held Xhafaj publicly responsible for secretly drafted articles that weren’t officially approved by the committee.
But neither this ought to prevent Xhafa from executing the office of minister. Even the much discussed criminal dossier of his brother, whose court case has been going on for years in Italy, where he is accused of being a member of an international drug trafficking organization.
Not even the doubt that his brother’s criminal file was “lost” by the Court of Vlora ought to punish Xhafaj more than his service as former investigator during the communist period.
There is only one thing that would legitimate his directorship of the Ministry of Interior Affairs: a public apology for his past as investigator! Unfortunately, we have seen no such guilt. On the contrary! The minister nominated at Interior Affairs has hidden this part of his career from his CV, and just like the Prime Minister voted in favor of the opposition’s proposal that the judicial reform would exclude investigators of the dictatorship and functionaries of the State Security Services from the judicial system.
Are we justified to call this hypocrisy? I think so. Because it was the Socialist Party which complained at the Constitutional Court about the lustration law implemented by the PD government. A law that, would it have been accepted by the Constitutional Court, would immediately remove from the system not only the judges and prosecutors who served under the communist regime, but also those who collaborated with the Security Services, high officials of the dictatorship, and investigators, those who nowadays have put on the outfit of reformed politicians. Probably Xhafaj as well.
Meanwhile, the sensitivities of those who have been killed and persecuted during the communist regime remain in the hand of President Nishani, depending on whether or not he will decree the nomination of an investigator at the communist Ministry of Interior Affairs to the head of the Ministry of Interior Affairs of a NATO country.