Judge Who Convicted 8 Students Has History of Questionable Verdicts

Arben Miçko, the judge who convicted eights students to two months imprisonment commuted into 60 hours of community service for throwing eggs to the Prime Minister appears to have a history of questionable trials.

During the trial, as documented by Artan Rama, Miçko first allowed and then rejected the testimony of the defense’s most important witness, Prime Minister Edi Rama himself. He also decided, for unclear reasons and against the established protocols, to ban the media from attending the final session, in which he pronounced his sentence, which bases itself on a leftover in the Criminal Code from the communist period.

Miçko is closely connected to the Socialist Party. His son, Artur Miçko, is Deputy Chairman of the Youth Party of the PS, FRESSh, and several of his more controversial convictions relate directly to people close to or part of the PS.

On January 29, 2015, Miçko was one of the judges who accepted an “expedited trial” for Konstandin Xhuvani, son of former PS Deputy Luiza Xhuvani, for the murder of four people in a nightclub in Tirana and illegal arms possession. This meant that he would avoid the sentence of life imprisonment as demanded by the Prosecution. He was finally sentenced to 35 years.

Miçko also led the trial against the former Socialist Mayor of Vlora, Shpëtim Gjika, who had been accused of falsification of documents after selling of public property of the municipality. Gjika was declared innocent on February 29, 2016.

Besides securing lower sentences for those affiliated with the Socialist Party, Miçko also has a tradition of leniency against criminals:

Recently, Muhamet Lici, accused for leading a criminal group that extorted business owner in Shkodra was arrested in spite of the fact that he should have been in prison since 2014 for 7 years. Although the court, including Arben Miçko had decided that the demand of the Prosecution was just, they finally argued that he should time to “rehabilitate” in society, and thus let him free. Rather than being reeducated, Lici was arrested on March 6 as leader of a criminal organization

Another example occurred in 2015, when two drug dealers were arrested for a double murder. One of them, Vasiel Çavo had been declared innocent from drug dealing in 2012 by, yet again, Arben Miçko.

So a judge with close connections to the ruling Socialist Party and with a history of leniency to dangerous criminals is the one who thought it proper to deny eight students protesting for the right of education their main witness, remove the media from the courtroom, and sentence them collectively to two months imprisonment.

Prime Minister Edi Rama consistently uses the argument that the judiciary is corrupt and that the vetting of judges is needed to establish the independence of the juridical system. But if we look at Arben Miçko’s CV, his “friendly attitude” has definitely helped Prime Minister Rama and the members of his party.

This leaves us with two burning questions: Will Arben Miçko pass the “inevitable” vetting process and will Prime Minister Rama, in a post-vetting world, testify in court about how the egg missed him completely?