Yesterday, the US Embassy in Tirana has released a video, misinforming Albanian citizens about the Justice Reform. The video, under the title “What is the Justice Reform?” explains the reform in Albanian, suggesting that it is being implemented to “transform the justice system so that it properly treats corruption, organized crime, and daily issues in the court.”
The video claims that the Constitution guarantees that new judges and prosecutors are “clean,” but omits that the Constitution has been violated time and again as regards the installation of the vetting institutions, the qualifications of the candidates for the justice governance institutions, the evaluation of the candidates for the Constitutional Court and High Court, and so on.
It explains the vetting as being based on the evaluation of assets, background, and professionalism, but fails to mention that the vetting institutions, again unconstitutionally, based their verdict solely on asset evaluations.
Perhaps the most problematic statement made in the propaganda video of the US Embassy is the claim that the vetting process is fair because of the presence of the International Monitoring Operation (ONM), which would “guarantee” that it is “correct.”
However, according to the Constitution, the ONM has merely an advisory function, and its advice has been ignored frequently, for example when Parliament elected several commissioners to the vetting institutions despite the negative evaluation of the ONM, or when the Independent Qualification Commission ignored the ONM’s doubts about Arta Marku.
The ONM therefore “guarantees” nothing at all—it merely monitors.
The video continues by stating that the vetting process makes sure “the bad [magistrates] go to jail.” In fact, the vetting process is not a criminal process, and those dismissed by the vetting do not have any criminal record afterward. Only a criminal court can decide if a magistrate goes to jail. So far, not a single magistrate has been imprisoned because of facts found during the vetting process.
Furthermore, the video claims that the High Judicial Council (KLGj) and the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) only elect judges and prosecutors that have “passed the vetting.”
In reality, the KLGj will nominate judges not based on the final verdict of the vetting institutions, but on the based on the first phase of vetting by the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK) only, while limiting this first phase – unconstitutionally – to three months. Meanwhile, the KLP intends to establish SPAK not with the 10 prosecutors demanded by the Constitution, but with “7 or 8.”
The video ends with a claim that no Albanian citizen except the most gullible will believe (as is perfectly clear from the great number of scathing comments beneath the video):
In the past, anyone who had money or power could influence the court system in their favor. With the new system, everyone must act according to the rules.
Except, of course, the vetting institutions, justice governance institutions, the courts, the prosecution office, parliament, and government, all of which have violated the Constitution and the law so many times in recent months that everyone has simply lost count.