Albanian Government Misinforms the Council of Europe, Claims ECtHR Candidates Were “Vetted”

After first trying to illegally influence the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg to suspend cases concerning property restitution, it now appears that the Albanian government is openly misleading the Parliamentary Assembly in its third list of applications for the Albanian judge at the ECtHR.

In her letter from July 23, 2018, Albana Dautllari, Ambassador of Albanian to the Council of Europe, to the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, claims that all applicants have been vetted:

Considering the importance of the professional and moral integrity, the control of figure of judges and prosecutors in the Albanian justice system, as well of Albanian representatives in international judicial bodies, under the implementation of justice reform in Albania, in accordance with the Constitution and the legislation in force, applicants for the position of the new judge of Albania in the ECHR had undergone the process of reevaluation (vetting).

This is incorrect. Of the three final candidates, none have passed the vetting procedure of the Independent Qualification Commission. Sokol Berberi resigned from the Constitutional Court before he could be vetted, and neither Darian Pavli nor Mariana Semini have had functions that required vetting.

However, Dautllari claims in the next paragraph that:

Other legal professionals who were not included in the categories mentioned in the Constitution were subject to the principles underlying the reevaluation process, which was conducted through investigation and evaluation of skills, competencies, personality, assets and other aspects, in co-operation with the responsible institutions. An applicant was excluded from the process, due to the reevaluation process (vetting).

In other words, those who were not vetted because of their function (all three final candidates) were instead evaluated “in co-operation with the responsible institutions.” To be vetted is to go through the entire process of reassessment. None of the Albanian ECtHR candidates did so – so none of them were vetting.

For the Albanian government to claim that “applicants for the position of the new judge of Albania in the ECHR had undergone the process of reevaluation (vetting)” is therefore grossly misleading.