From: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Did the KLP Illegally Lower the Bar for KED Candidates?

On November 15, the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP) published the list of candidates for the 2020 Justice Appointments Council (KED). The list contains 11 candidates from the General Prosecution Office and 16 from the prosecution offices attached to the Courts of Appeal.

What is remarkable, is that this KLP list of candidate prosecutors is much longer than the list provided in 2018 by the General Prosecution Office for the 2019 KED elections. The latter list contained only one candidate from the General Prosecution Office, Arta Marku, and one from the prosecution offices attached to the Courts of Appeal, Fatjona Memçaj.

The list with prosecutors who didn’t qualify was extensive, and what they all shared was that they hadn’t completed the School of Magistrates, while fulfilling all other criteria for KED membership set by the Governance Institutions Law.

On the list recently published by the KLP, 35 out of 37 qualifying candidates were disqualified last year. This means either all 35 prosecutors managed to finish the School of Magistrates program within a single year, or the KLP decided to ignore art. 221(1)(d) of the Governance Institutions Law, which clearly states that “The magistrate has completed the School of Magistrates.” The latter case is much more likely.

What this situation shows, once again, is that the justice reform legislation has been badly drafted, with little consideration for the reality on the ground in Albania. If the requirements of art. 221 would be followed correctly, again we would have only two candidates for the three positions reserved in the KED for the ranks of prosecutors: Marku and Memçaj.

That the KLP has enlarged the choice for next year’s KED is in itself something positive, but it comes at the expense of a violation of the criteria determined in the Governance Institutions Law. It is therefore an act that is at odds with a fundamental principle of the justice reform: to establish a strong rule of law.

The last few weeks, we have seen a cascade of violations of various justice reform laws and the Constitution, by nearly all actors involved. Accepting these as the new status quo means to accept the failure of the reform and a continuation of the same-old, same-old.

Exit has reached out the KLP to confirm whether the qualifying candidates have completed the School of Magistrature.