The slow vetting process and the numerous dismissals resulting from it are causing an increasing number of problems for the Prosecution Office’s human resources department and are hindering its capacity to function normally.
General Prosecutor Olsian Çela raised the concern yesterday during a conference on the challenges faced by the Prosecution Office in light of the Justice Reform, attended by, among others, US ambassador Yuri Kim, EU ambassador Luigi Soreca, and Minister of Justice Etilda Gjonaj.
Çela said that an increase in work volume for every prosecutor has lead to a state of emergency as, four years into the implementation of the Justice Reform, there is still no clear view of when the system will begin to function normally.
“Though less than half of the people that are planned to be vetted have undergone this process, judicial organs are facing significant human resources gaps, due to magistrates leaving as a result of the vetting process, combined with the fact that a large number of magistrates are still undergoing or have yet to undergo this process,” Çela said.
Exit has explained a number of times how the Justice Reform has caused, in practice, serious concerns to the judiciary system, especially with regards to a dearth in human resources.
One of the main causes is the slow pace of the vetting process, as well as the large gaps it is leaving among magistrate ranks, both issues that have not been resolved by the institutions in charge.
Since the beginning of the vetting process in December 2017, the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK) has held, on average, 1.6 vetting sessions per week, that is, less than two magistrates per week.
According to Exit’s calculations, if the KPK keeps this pace, even discounting appeals at the Special Appeal Chamber (KPA) the initial phase of vetting process will only be completed after 7 years.
Meanwhile, the appealing process has thus far shown that it would add another number of years to the time needed to complete the entire vetting process.
Another issue that has made itself obvious thus far is the high dismissal and resignation rate for judges and prosecutors. At the end of the vetting process, about half of the magistrates will no longer be part of the judiciary.
If this rate continues to reign, once the vetting process is complete, around 400 judges and prosecutors will have left the justice system.
This number should have provoked an instant reaction on the part of the institutions and requires immediate measures be taken to increase the number of law students attending the School of Magistrates.
A simple calculation reveals that, since 2019, the School of Magistrates should be providing at least 50 graduates per year to make up for this en masse exodus
Upon closer inspection, this number should be much higher to make up for the length of the period of study and the significant number of case files that await judgement in the Courts and have been abandoned as a result of the slow and chaotic Justice Reform process. Currently, in the High Court alone, there is a backlog of around 29 thousand files, while the Court itself currently only has one member, Ardian Dvorani.