In a decision from May 7, 2019, the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK) has decided to cancel the opening of new dossiers in May, July, and September. In January and March 2019, the KPK opened, it now appears, 72 new dossiers including those of the candidates for SPAK and the Constitutional Court. These decisions only became visible to the public after the KPK website added a new menu item “Shorti” (“Lottery”), which had not been available before.
The KPK argues that the current case load, as well as the expedited procedures necessary for SPAK and Constitutional Court candidates, do not allow it to take on more cases.
It should be mentioned that the current composition of the KPK, consisting of 4 teams of 3 judges, was originally designed to work through a much higher case load. Nevertheless, the KPK has currently a standing average of less than 1.87 verdicts per week, which means it will take 8 more years to complete the vetting of the entire judiciary system.
The fact that the KPK is unable to handle the workload of actually vetting the judiciary at a reasonable pace can mean two things: 1) the initial estimates of the experts at OPDAT and EURALIUS were completely unrealistic, painting a much too rosy picture about the implementation of the justice reform; 2) the budget cuts on the justice reform enacted by the Socialist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama have had a deteriorating effect on the capability of the justice reform institutions to do their work properly. Most likely, it is a combination of both.