Also Xhoxhaj Files Case against Vetting Institutions at ECtHR

After Rovena Gashi, Dritan Gina, and Besa Nikëhasani, also former Constitutional Court judge Altina Hoxha has filed a lawsuit against the Albanian State over her dismissal by the vetting institutions. Xhoxhaj has dismissed on May 3, 2018 by the Independent Qualification Commission. On October 24, the Special Appeal Chamber confirmed Xhoxhaj’s dismissal.

In an application filed on March 8, 2019 at the European Court of Human Rights, Xhoxhaj alleges that her trial was unfair, that her right to respect for private life was breached, and that there was a lack of an effective remedy.

As with the cases filed by Gashi, Gina, and Nikëhasani, the core of the case is once again the question whether the vetting institutions can be considered a “tribunal established by law” that are “independent and impartial.”

Moreover, in Xhoxhaj’s case the ECtHR questions the Albanian government on the conditions for shifting the burden of proof onto the vetting subjects, particularly in relation to facts and circumstances that occurred many years prior to their vetting. It also demands for clarifications on key concepts such “lawful income” and “lawful assets”, as well as the methodology used by the vetting bodies for estimating living expenses of subjects and their families.

The court questions the government whether Xhoxhaj had a fair trial, her right to respect for private life was breached, and whether she had at her disposal an effective domestic remedy for her complaints.

Furthermore, specific to this case is the decision of vetting institutions to ban Xhoxhaj from the private practice of law. The court questions whether this is prescribed by the law, if the measure was proportionate, and if so, for how long is Xhoxhaj actually banned?

Questions raised by the court cover some core concerns raised from the beginning of the justice reform and during its implementation. The verdicts of the ECtHR will be of fundamental importance to the success of the vetting and judicial reform as a whole.