From: Artan Rama
This Court Decision Serves as an Example for the Future

In a small court room, judge Avni Sejdi reads the Judicious Decision. The people present are standing up in silence. After thirty minutes the words are: “…We find the concessionary contract nr. 2174 absolutely illegal…for the construction of hydropower plant in Poçem…”

So simply put: the hydropower plant in Poçem, over the Vjosa river, will not be constructed!

We won! – Besjana Guri notifies.

While still inside the court room, the representative of EcoAlbania is quick to call professionals and other environmental organizations. It is a victory, of course. The losing side in front remains silent. The representatives from the Ministry of Energy and concessionary company Kovlu Energji couldn’t defend their declarations, orders and contracts of their bosses, all of which were deemed not in order from court.

Like never before, the construction of a dam that would have hindered the free flow of the river is stopped by court decision. The decision reached from the Administrative Court in Tirana, on Tuesday afternoon, has historical significance because of the circumstances.

Thanks to this court decision the citizens of Kutë village in Mallakastra region, of Sevaster and Shkozë in Labëria region, that lay around Vjosa river, risked being flooded from the construction of dam at 50 m height and 200 m width. The citizens of these villages and regions will continue to cultivate and produce using the same traditions as their ancestors have used for centuries.

This decision can be used as an example for other environmental organizations and their struggle to protect the National Park of Valbona that is at risk from a high number of construction concessionaires of hydropower plants!

The environmentalists can protect their lagoons and forests, abandoned from government and under pressure from developers!

This decision is a victory for justice, a victory for the Administrative Court that for the first time in history is making a decision in favor of the environment!

It is a victory for science and logic against the authorities and office bureaucrats that have allied with developers, their greed of exploiting rivers is not abating!

This decision is a double triumph: of the law and its order.

Therefore, loud applause in the court room no. 6, after the decision was announced, on Tuesday, in the Administrative Court in Tirana, was not solely congratulating the decision against the construction of the hydropower plant in Poçem over Vjosa river, but also setting an example of hope, and showing the way to protect the environment in the future.