18 July 2023

Judges and Organized Crime

Scandalous arrests of judges taking millions in bribes continue to make headlines. For purging the judiciary from corruption, vetting the integrity of judges through internationally supported commissions has become one of the most promising tools. In July 2023, the ECtHR has upheld the dismissal of yet another prominent judge – who had served, both, at the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Albania (Thanza v. Albania). While it is obvious that a judge should be dismissed for engaging in organised crime, this case may be the first in the world to raise another, rather unusual question: Can a judge be dismissed simply for having contact with organised crime, even if he has never committed any offence?

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05 March 2021

Money Talks

One of the judges of the Constitutional Court of Albania was dismissed after the country introduced radical judicial vetting measures. She challenged her dismissal before the ECtHR, claiming her rights to a fair trial and respect for private and family life were violated. In its decision in Xhoxhaj v Albania published on 2 February 2021, the ECtHR rejected her application and gave clear priority to the need for cleaning up a corrupt judiciary. It denied protection under the ECHR to those who seek to abuse human rights for protecting a status quo of corruption.

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17 May 2020

Albania – Some Exceptional Extraordinary Measures

Albania was hit the by Covid-19 pandemic, although it seems not as gravely as some of its neighbours. Starting from 10 March 2020 the Albanian Government adopted several measures aiming to limit the spread of the pandemic in the country. Most of those measures have been continuously reviewed, following the development of the pandemic.

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19 October 2019

The Law Can’t Always Fix It

On 14 October, the Venice Commission released an opinion on the scope of the power of the President of Albania to set the dates of elections. In Albania, the President is facing impeachment due to his postponement of the local elections, and the Albanian Assembly’s Speaker requested the Venice Commission to issue its opinion on the President’s actions. While the Commission was clear in its legal conclusions, the reactions of the Albanian public to the report illustrate that a reasoned legal opinion was not suited to calm the ongoing political battles in Albania.

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14 September 2016

Fighting Judicial Corruption with Constitutional Measures: the Albanian Case

No state can thrive with corrupt political and legal elites. But if lawmakers and judges are corrupt themselves, fighting corruption with legal means is all but impossible. As a step towards membership in the European Union, Albania has embedded a comprehensive reform of its anti-corruption law directly into its constitution.

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