From: Alice Taylor
Enforcement of High Court Order Against Genr2 Due to Conclude Imminently

The enforcement of the High Court Decision against Genr2, which have constructed two hydropower plants in Valbona, is now being carried out according to the office of Tropoje bailing Eduart Mrishaj.

In July 2021, Albania’s High Court ruled that Gern2, who also owns a large media company, must suspend the construction of two hydropower plants in Valbona, pending the outcome of an administrative court case on whether the construction is legal. This was considered a victory in a long-running legal battle between the local community and the construction company.

Genr2 ignored the court decision and continued with the work. Meanwhile, TOKA, the organization that was involved in bringing the case against Genr2, tried to find a bailiff who would execute the decision.

When approached by TOKA, Mrishaj reportedly refused, claiming he feared bad media coverage and adding he had married someone related to the people building the HPPs.

Albanian Bailiff Refuses to Execute High Court Ruling Against Hydropower Company Genr2

TOKA then contacted the General Directorate of Bailiffs in Tirana, asking them how they should proceed. Meanwhile, they sent the decision to Mrishaj via recorded delivery and received confirmation it was signed for.

On 20 October, the General Directorate of Bailigs confirmed that tMrishaj would execute the court order TOKA visited his offices in Tropoje once again and was informed by his assistant that “you will e notified by post next week of the proceedings.”

Interestingly, during the initial visit to Mrishaj’s office, TOKA reported he asked for a “fee” to be paid before the order could be executed. When asked if this fee could be invoiced, he refused. Mrishaj’s assistant then claimed the fee had been “waived”, when asked by TOKA representative Catherine Bohne.

Meanwhile, both HPPs are still operating. Bohne reported that the Cerem River which is home to one of the two plants has been 100% dry since early summer 2021. Irrigation canals that supply vital water supplies to farmers in the village of Dragobia have been running with a kind of sludge-like substance since then.

TOKA also complained about the enforcement issue to the Ombudsman but is yet to receive a reply.

Exit contacted Genr2 and Mrishaj for comment, but no response was forthcoming by the time this article was published.

Bohne told Exit, “Is this access to justice in Albania today? That local authorities pick and choose how to administer their duties? That high court decision cannot be enforced because of regional corruption and laziness?” 

The Valbona River: A Rural Albanian Community’s Struggle for Survival in the Face of Hydropower Plant Construction

She also said she had sent information on the case and lack of enforcement to the EU delegation in Tirana and the European Commission.