No Hope for BKH and SPAK before Summer

In spite of the wishful thinking displayed by US Ambassador Donald Lu in a recent interview with Blendi Fevziu, in which he expressed the belief that “the Special Prosecution Office (SPAK) and the National Bureau of Investigation (BKH) will be installed this summer,” there is little chance of such a thing actually happening.

The BKH falls under the responsibility of the SPAK, which in turn consists of at least 10 prosecutors appointed by the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) for 9 years (Const. art. 148/dh(1)).

Although the KLP members from the ranks of advocates, professors, and civil society were approved by Parliament in January after three rounds of elections, the 19 candidates from the ranks of the prosecutors need to pass the vetting first. So far, no KLP candidate has been scheduled to appear before the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK).

So far, the KPK has held three hearings, of Constitutional Judges Fatos Lulo (fired) on March 21 and Vitore Tusha (confirmed) on April 4, and Trezhnjeva, judge at the Court of Appeals in Durrës and candidate for the High Judicial Council (KLGj) today.

If the KPK continues in the pace it has set since last week, with one hearing per week, and assuming they give from now on precedence to KLP candidates (which is unlikely) and take no summer holiday, they would all be vetted in mid August. If they double their efforts they would finish in mid June, assuming of course that there will be no appeals by either the assessees of the Public Commissioners (which is unlikely).

On top of that, except for the KLP candidates, at least 10 additional prosecutors will need to vetted before the SPAK can be appointed, which then has to populate the BKH with qualified staff members.

Another result of this situation is that it seems likely that Temporary Prosecutor General Arta Marku will stay in power until at least the end of 2018, if not much longer; the KLP is also responsible for the proposal of a new and legitimate Prosecutor General, which then has to be approved by Parliament.

So even in the ideal (and very unlikely) scenario sketched out above, chances are very slim that the SPAK and BKH will be operational before the summer, as Ambassador Lu suggested. It’s perhaps as unrealistic as his claim that Klement Balili will be arrested “in the coming days.”