By Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Vlahutin: Justice Reform Further Delayed, Mission Accomplished!

In her farewell interview for Top Channel, former EU Ambassador Romana Vlahutin has once again offered her reflections on the justice reform, showing yet again how little she appears to grasp of the chaos (she calls it “mission accomplished”) she is leaving in her wake.

Responding to a question of Top Channel regarding the paralysis of the Constitutional Court and High Court, Vlahutin claimed that “It was the mother of reforms, an almost constitutional reform. I think that within the year, all new institutions can start operating.”

The first part of statement is remarkable, because it the justice reform was not “almost” a constitutional reform. It in fact required the rewriting of a large part of the Constitution and was “fully” a constitutional reform. That she still is unclear about how radical this reform has actually been, and how scandalously the EU has neglected its obligation to provide proper and knowledgable legal assistance in the process while badmouthing the opposition, shows us the depths of her delusional “mission accomplished.”

The second part of this statement is even more baffling, as she promises (based on which evidence?) that “within the year, all new institutions can start operating.” In other words, she repeats her promise from September 2017, when she declared the “Formation of new institutions including special prosecution for corruption and organized crime [SPAK] hopefully by the end of this year.” This is still the “myth of a timely vetting,” which even the vetting institutions themselves are no longer able to uphold.

As we explained in a number of detailed reports, based on actual legislation and facts rather than wishful thinking, the timeframe to install the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP), High Judicial Council (KLGj), and Justice Appointments Council (KED), and thus Constitutional Court is fraught with difficulties, and has little chance of being completed before the end of the year, in spite of several highly dubious proposals that have come out of EU and US diplomatic circles.

At the end of the interview, Vlahutin promises us that Albania will remain on her “radar.” May this be a warning for all.