After US Ambassador Donald Lu briefly met with the Temporal Prosecutor General, a large part of the media reminded him that he promised the Albanian public that the “big fish” would be arrested next year.
But even though we know little about what was discussed between them, one thing is certain. Lu will have it very difficult to fulfill the solemn promise he made. Because he currently finds himself at a crossroads between two paths, none of which brings him to his desired destination.
The first one is what Lu expressed is some form of guarantee to the two opposition leaders during a meeting on Wednesday, the day before the vote. He said more or less that Arta Marku will not have the kamikaze role that the PD and LSI claim she has, but that she’ll only fulfill a temporary role, without any earth-shattering new developments.
In brief, if we believe in this version of the facts, neither in January nor in later months are we to expect seismic shocks from the prosecution. And such a situation would make Lu’s declarations look like those of Adriatik Llalla, who once said on TV he would open dossiers previously unheard of.
The other road, or the second version, is that as promised by the US ambassador the prosecution headed by Arta Marku will lead in January a frontal assault on the untouchables. Such a thing would pose not a small problem, because this institution, ever since the last parliamentary session, from the way in which Marku was selected up to the shameful swearing in, has become thoroughly politicized.
Even if Marku would have no stake in any of the dossiers, as if she arrived at the prosecution from Mars, for all her subordinates the message of her nomination by a single party will be sufficient. In a country like Albania, where the greatest ability of officials is to bend to the winds of the party in power, politicization is inevitable. This predisposition will inevitably guide any case that an ordinary prosecutor would dare to pick up. And the entire judicial reform will not escape this curse either, as it will immediately be stained by the accusations of one of the parties that it has been captured.
This judicial reform has been in the works for a long time because it would start a third epoch of judiciary in relation to the people. The first epoch was from the 1990s to 2000, when the Berisha presidency and the Socialist governments after 1997 used the prosecutor and courts to eliminate their political opponents. The second epoch from 2000 onward was a balance in which no one was punished, thus creating the myth of “the untouchables,” whereas in the third the roles would be reversed.
But if the battle against corrupt politicians would start with a prosecutor clothed in the fuchsia of the Renaissance, everything would go back to zero rather than forward. The message for the public would be a tragical setback to the dark times when Berisha commandeered the judiciary.
This is the crossroads at which Donald Lu finds himself. On the one hand he wants to keep his promise of “big fish” in January, but on the other he understands that if this happens in the context of a Socialist prosecutor, everything would be lost.
So Arta Marku is not his blessing, but his demise. He will not be able to reap her golden eggs, with which he so seduced everyone else.
Translator’s note: Arta means “golden.”