Despite repeated inquiries over the last two weeks, the International Monitoring Operation (ONM) has so far refused to answer to queries of Exit concerning the two complaints filed by former High Prosecutorial Council member Antoneta Sevdari against two judges of the Special Appeal Chamber (KPA) in May 2019 following the possibility allowed by art. 17(2) of the Vetting Law.
Previously we reported how the complaints by Sevdari, who was dismissed by the KPA, pose a serious challenge to the legitimacy of the KPA by providing possible evidence that two judges, Ardian Hajdari and Luan Daci, may have been appointed by Parliament in violation of the justice reform legislation.
Hajdari admitted during his hearing in Parliament on June 2, 2017 that he had no academic title:
Hysi: One of the requirements of the law is that in the selection of candidates, especially with these institutions, we not only need to take into account formal criteria, but also another list of criteria, such as: academic titles, special experience of the candidate in the field of law, seniority in the profession, qualifications at home and abroad. Can you tell us something about the second group of criteria envisioned in the the law?
Hajdari: In fact I have no defended [academic] title. I don’t have them… It’s not that I miss them, but I don’t have them. I have done some qualifications as a lawyer, but… that’s it.
Hajdari’s official CV on file in Parliament shows no mention of his education or average grade. According to Vetting Law Art. 6(1)(a), members of the KPA should have “completed the second level of university law studies with the degree ‘master of science’ in Albania or law studies abroad and has obtained an equivalent degree according to the rules on recognition of diplomas foreseen in the law.”
Daci was dismissed from his office as judge for “violation of the law and incompetence in office” on December 24, 1997 through decision no. 6 of the High Council of Justice. During his hearing in Parliament he denied this:
Daci: […] I started in September 1993, in the beginning I’ve been assistant judge, when we were examined in front of the state commission. Two days after I received my diploma I was nominated judge at the Court of Tirana, I was even nominated Deputy Chair at the Court of Tirana and the function was eliminated for economical reasons, I don’t, they’ve followed another model, I didn’t have any problem, and until December 24, 1997 I’ve been judge at the Court of Tirana. Just like the vetting law is coming out, then there was a law for the reorganization of the justice system. […]
Hysi: In the year 1997 you left, did you leave or did they fire you?
Daci: I left by resigning, because they didn’t allow me to register.
Daci’s official CV on file in Parliament does not mention either his work as judge, nor his dismissal from office. According to Vetting Law Art. 6(1)(dh), members of the KPA should not have been “subject to the disciplinary measures of dismissal or any other disciplinary measure in force under the law at the time of application.”
Yesterday, during a show on Top Channel, Sevdari declared:
I have erroneously left the system. The process has great flaws. The quality of the reform is shown by the people involved in it. The process is directed by people that previously violated the law.
Only by investigating the allegations of Sevdari by means of the procedure described in the Vetting Law can the ONM and KPA remove the appearance that the vetting is performed by unqualified judges, which, moreover, would pose a serious risk to the entire vetting procedure once Sevdari’s case is taken up by the European Court of Human Rights.
According to Vetting Law 17(1)(c), “Disciplinary investigation may be initiated against institutions members in case of sufficient evidence from reliable sources that they have committed a disciplinary offense” and can be initiated by “Every international observer against the Public Commissioner, the Commissioner and judges of the Appeal Chamber.” The evidence sent by Sevdari to the ONM appears to fulfill this requirement of “sufficient evidence.” All evidence provided by her is in the public domain and appears to be at odds with the necessary qualifications required for a KPA judge. This warrants an investigation.
Sevdari also complied with the requirement of Vetting Law 17(2), namely that “The request to initiate disciplinary investigation shall be made in writing to the General Secretary of the Commission or the Appeal Chamber, as the case may be. Denunciations by public members of disciplinary violations shall be submitted to the international observers.” Once the ONM has made a request to the KPA to initiate a disciplinary investigation, a Disciplinary Commission elected by lot of 3 KPA judges will have to issue a decision within 15 days.
As of today, there is no evidence that ONM has made any such request.