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News 04 Mar 13

Albania President Blocks Ex-Prosecutor’s Court Appointment

President Bujar Nishani has blocked the nomination of Albania’s former general prosecutor, known for launching corruption cases against officials, to Tirana’s appeals court.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana
Albania former general prosecutor, Ina Rama. | photo by : Idlir Abazi/LSA

The president has used his power as head of the High Council of Justice to keep ex-general prosecutor Ina Rama’s nomination in limbo, avoiding a hearing in the collegial body for her application for nearly two months.

Nishani dismissed Rama as general prosecutor at the end of November, although most constitutional experts agreed that her five-year mandate did not end until April 2013.

Following her dismissal, Rama asked the High Council of Justice, HJC, in early January to return to her old profession as a judge, seeking a position in Tirana’s appeals court.

The law governing the prosecutor’s office guarantees that the general prosecutor “at the end of the mandate could choose to… return to her old job position or to an equivalent position”.

Rama, who before her appointment in 2007 was an appeals judge at the serious crimes court, has asked to be appointed to an equivalent position in the appeals court.

When she took office as general prosecutor, Rama instantly came under serious attack from the ruling majority, with which Nishani was an MP and a minister, and accused of everything from being a “witch” to a “conspirator in a coup d’état”.

The first woman to head the prosecutor’s office in Albania, she was consistently under fire for launching high-profile corruption cases against the government of Prime Minister Sali Berisha.

The law, which was approved in 2008, was intended to protect the general prosecutor from political persecution at the end of his or her mandate and strengthen the independence of the prosecutor while in office.  

However, more than a month and a half after Rama’s request for a new appointment, the HJC still has not considered the issue.   

As head of the HJC, the president has used his power to set the agenda of the collegial body’s hearings and to keep Rama’s application out the meetings.

But the president’s office told Balkan Insight that the law did not set any time limits for putting the application through a hearing.

Asked to explain the delay or to say if he had any plans to put through the application in the future, Nishani’s spokesperson declined to offer any comment.  

Elis Kuci, a spokesperson for the HJC, told Balkan Insight that he had no information if Rama’s request was scheduled for any upcoming meetings of the council.

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