Head of High Judicial Council Says Albanian Judicial System in Difficult State

High Judicial Council (KLGj) Chairwoman Naureda Llagami acknowledged that “the court system is in a difficult state” due to the absence of the High Court.

In a hearing before the parliamentary Committee of Laws, Llagami said that the forming of the High Court is a priority for the institution she leads, but that non-vetted judges could not become part of the judicial system.

We are aware that the system is in crisis and in a difficult state today, but we cannot allow [ourselves] to introduce non-vetted individuals into the system. The forming of the High Court has been our main concern.
This is the first time that High Court candidates will undergo vetting procedures.

Llagami said that the High Court will be functioning by September:

In autumn we will have new appointments. In September we will have a High Court.

She also mentioned the problems caused to the justice system by the vetting process:

The good functioning of the judiciary is not just the High Court, but [it is] also [depended on] the lack of judges in the cities, where many judges and prosecutors have been dismissed by the vetting.

Currently, the High Court has only two of its 19 members: Ardian Dvorani and Xhezair Zaganjori. The latter is still awaiting a final decision on his confirmation by the Special Appeals Chamber (KPA).

Since 2015, the backlog of cases at the High Court has tripled from 11,357 to 28,863 in 2018. In 2108, the court reviewed only 1,673 cases, while at least 8,563 new cases were filed.

This backlog poses a serious challenge to the justice system, as long processing times that are the result of this backlog could lead to violations of the fundamental human right to a speedy trial.