Last week, Chair of the Justice Appointments Council (KED) Ardian Dvorani confirmed to news outlet Reporter that candidates for the Constitutional Court and the High Justice Inspectorate (ILD) will not be vetted. Responding to questions concerning the first four candidates for the Constitutional Court announced by the KED, Dvorani declared:
We have not verified anything about the assets and background of the candidate magistrates, because the decision on them will be made by the vetting institutions. But the Council has legal deadlines to finish the process and different from SPAK, the provisions for the two posts do not anticipate a final decision by the vetting.
This statement is remarkable, because it has been the KED itself that has approved the bylaws that “do not anticipate a final decision by the vetting.” In doing so, the KED has itself created the current contradictory situation in which candidates for the Constitutional Court and the ILD can be elected without their assets and backgrounds being evaluated.
Furthermore, it appears that the KED, contrary to the statements of Dvorani, actually engaged in asset verification, as required by the Law on Governance Institutions of the Justice System, through the reports of the High Inspectorate of the Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflict of Interest (ILDKPKI). For example, the candidacy of the current Central Election Commission (KQZ) deputy chair Denar Biba was denied in part because of a missing asset declaration.
Dvorani admitted that it “wouldn’t honor the process” if Constitutional Court judges approved by the KED would later by dismissed by the vetting institutions and therefore forced to vacate their position. This is not at all an unrealistic scenario.
Bashkim Dedja was removed from the KED after the Special Appeal Chamber (KPA) overturned him confirmation, and the same happened to Antoneta Sevdari, who was removed from the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) after being elected to it. In the latter case, Sevdari had already participated in decision making of the KLP.
A similar scenario would be disastrous for the Constitutional Court. There are several very urgent cases that will demand the new court’s attention, including the Special Law for the National Theater, the local elections of June 30, and the possible dismissal of President Ilir Meta. A situation in which unvetted judges would take these decisions would not only fatally compromise the highest court of Albania, but also further deepen a political and constitutional crisis in which only an independent, apolitical, and fully vetted Constitution Court could make a difference.