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News 30 Jun 14

Albanian Judiciary 'Prone to Political Interference'

A Council of Europe report said that the justice system in Albania lacks the public’s trust and remains prone to political influence.

Besar Likmeta

According to the report published on Friday by the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption, the Albanian judiciary is weaker than other branches of government.

“The judiciary in Albania lacks control over the selection of the High Court justices, while the right to initiate disciplinary proceedings against district and appeal court judges belongs exclusively to the Minister of Justice,” the report said.

“Moreover, the National Judicial Conference, the principal judicial self-governing body, was not fully operational for years and this has had a negative impact on the selection, career progression, training, disciplinary proceedings against judges,” it added.  

According to Transparency International, Albania is the most corrupt country in Balkans and one of the most corrupt in Europe.

The Berlin-based watchdog organization’s ‘Corruption Perception Index’ saw Albania drop in its rankings from 113th place out of 176 countries in 2012 to 116th position in 2013, the worst performer in the region for a third year in a row.

A 2012 survey of Albanian judges, published by the Centre for Transparency and Freedom of Information, shows that many admit the problem of corruption in the system.

According to the survey, which polled 58 per cent of Albania’s judicial contingent, only 18 per cent of respondents said the justice system was not corrupt, 58 per cent described corruption as a perception and 25 per cent believed it was corrupt. 

Those described as interfering in court cases included government officials, local politicians, lawyers, MPs and the president’s office.

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