Venice Commission Supports Albanian President on Appointment of Constitutional Judges

The Venice Commission has supported President Ilir Meta’s actions and arguments, and has refuted those of the Justice Appointment Council (KED) regarding the conflict over the appointment of Constitutional Court (CC) judges.

Following their draft opinion, on Friday the Commission published their final opinion on the matter. It states that “the KED should send the list(s) to the Assembly as soon as the President has proceeded with his/her appointment(s), or after 30 days if he/she fails to do so without justification.”

The KED sent the lists of CC candidates almost simultaneously to the Assembly and the President. 

The opinion further concludes that the nomination by default of a candidate to the Constitutional Court should not have been considered valid, as the President had raised a question relating to the interpretation of the relevant procedure. This is in contrast to the KED and Assembly’s decision to appoint one of the judges by default, according to their interpretation of the law.

The Commission justifies the President’s decision not to accept the oath by the said person, Arta Vorpsi, whom the KED and Assembly considered appointed: “It therefore seems justified that the President refused to accept the oath of the judge allegedly appointed by default.”

It has also slammed Vorpsi’s attempt to avoid taking an oath before the President by doing so before a notary: “The Albanian constitution makes it clear that taking the oath in front of the President is a precondition for taking up office.”

In the long term, the experts have recommended simplifying the constitutional model to appoint Constitutional Court judges.

The Commission has stressed the need for dialogue, co-operation and respect among state institutions.

They have recommended that additional efforts be made for the vetting process to be completed swiftly.