From: the Editors
What Is Actually the Role of the Public Commissioner?

The last few days, the Public Commissioner has announced that the International Monitoring Mission (ONM) has filed written recommendations to the Public Commissioner, asking them to appeal several decisions of the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK).

The Constitutional Annex art. B(c) gives the ONM the right to

submit a written recommendation to the Public Commissioners to file an appeal. If the latter decides not to follow this recommendation, the Public Commissioner is required to issue a written report giving the reasons for the refusal.

The ONM has exercised this right as regards the confirmations of Constitutional Judge Bashkim Dedja, High Court judge Xhezair Zaganjori, and judges Gentian Medja and Artur Malaj, and prosecutor Gentjan Osmani.

Only in the case of Constitutional Judge Dedja has the KPK published its verdict from June 13, 2018, which was published on July 13, within the deadline of 30 days mandated by Vetting Law 84/2016 art. 55(7).

According to art. 63(1), the Public Commissioner has 15 days to file an appeal at the Special Appeals Chamber (KPA). This deadline passed on July 28, but so far the KPA has not yet registered the appeal, even though it usually publishes request for appeals on its website within 4 days. In previous cases, the Public Commissioner passed the deadline for an appeal without publicly posting a request for extension.

If the Public Commissioner decided not to file an appeal in the case of Constitutional Judge Dedja, it should have prepared a written report detailing the reasons, but the vetting legislation appears to give no deadline for such a report.

The role of the Public Commissioner in the vetting process is to represent the interests of the Albanian public. However, so far it appears that the Public Commissioner has not lived up to those standards. Early on, Public Commissioner Heral Saraçi was accused of sabotaging the vetting process and a disciplinary commission from the KPA was installed to review his case. He was subsequently dismissed from his function.

So far, the Public Commissioner has only filed appeals against the decisions for former General Prosecutor Adriatik Llalla, prosecutor Sulejman Tola, and judge Mirela Fana. The KPA has published its decision so far only in one case, of Llalla, rejecting the appeal of the Public Commissioner.

In none of the cases in which a magistrate was confirmed, the Public Commissioner has filed an appeal to the KPA on its own, without the recommendation of the ONM. This raises the important question: is the Public Commissioner capable of defending the interests of the Albanian people on their own, or do they fully depend on the support of international experts, whose role would be merely “advisory”?