Vetting Picks Up Steam Progress of the vetting of the judiciary (absolute numbers).

After a slow start, the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK) has picked up steam with several hearings held per week. After an initially slow pace of 1–2 hearings per week and a break of more than two weeks in May, the KPK has scheduled in recent weeks 3–5 sessions per week.

Last week Admir Thanza, Kostaq Beluri, Adriatik Cama, Gani Dizdari, and Tom Ndreca appeared before the vetting body, while this week hearings of Artan Zeneli, Nertina Kosova, Antoneta Sevdari, Arben Nela, and Ervin Metalla have already been scheduled.

The progress of the KPK is also visible in the number of announced verdicts, which follows the increased pace of the hearings.

Note, however, that several of the assessees have appealed their rulings at the Special Appeals Chamber (KPA), which means that these are not the definitive numbers. So far, the KPA has only confirmed the KPK’s verdict in the cases of Adriatik Llalla, whose vetting was interrupted, and Sulejman Tola, who resigned before the vetting started. In both cases, the appeal was made by the Public Commissioner.

Constitutional Court judges Fatmir Hoxha and Fatos Lulo and Appeals Court judge Besim Trezhnjeva have in the meantime appealed their dismissals at the KPA.

Progress of the vetting of the judiciary (proportional).

Currently, the KPK has opened 175 dossiers, of which 36 have been closed. 39% of the magistrates passed their vetting, while 28% were dismissed.

Based on these very preliminary numbers, it seems likely that a sufficient number of qualified candidates will be found for both the High Judicial Council (KLGj) and the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP).

This seems, however, much less likely for the Justice Appointments Council (KED). 8 candidates remain to be vetted, and only one more may be dismissed before a new round of applications needs to be announced, which will lead to further delays in reestablishing the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court is currently dysfunctional, with only two members left. Unless the KPA overturns several of KPK’s verdicts, it will remain without quorum until the KED is fully vetted and selects new candidates.

As a way out of this legal vacuum, the EU Delegation in Tirana proposed to skip the vetting of the KED members. Such a move would undo the logic of the entire vetting procedure, which works from the top down, guaranteeing that the highest levels of the judiciary (KLP, KLGj, KED) are vetted before they appoint any new magistrates.