The re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors, otherwise known as “Vettingu”, is expected to be accompanied by strong political clashes during the discussion at the Albanian Parliament’s Committee. The most important process of Justice Reform has put the parties in tough trenches. The Socialist Party claims it has found the best solution for clearing the justice system from corruption. While the opposition supports the idea that “vetingu” will be realized through institutions under the influence of the prime minister.
In its final bill on the bill, opposition experts oppose the role of the controllers of institutions under the direct dependence of the prime minister and the government; The Classified Information Security Directorate (CISD) and the Internal Affairs and Complaints Service (KSA). But in this era of institutions, the opposition lists an institution that is independent of law, but that does not turn out to be the case for the Democratic Party. He is the High Inspectorate for Declaration of Assets Control and Conflict of Interest (ILDKPKI), led by Shkëlqim Ganaj.
The election of the Ganaj Real Estate Inspectorate in February 2014, through a normal procedure, was contested at the top of the time by the right-wing opposition. Following, the Democratic Party has often highlighted the fact that this institution has become a kind of pressure gun in the hands of the prime minister to crack down on opposition representatives and judges who did not meet the demands of the majority.
But the allegation against Bodes was not the only one who persuaded the DP that Shkëlqim Ganaj was losing the game of government. Some of the quarrels on the main public figures and justice seemed to orient the positions of the prime minister. For Edi Rama, justice was a symbol of corruption in Tirana’s Appellate Judge and at the same time a member of the High Council of Justice, Gjin Gjon. The latter started a fierce media campaign. The Ganaj-controlled Inspectorate could also be absent, which soon filed a claim for concealment of property against Judge John. The latter, among his defense advocacy arguments, said in public that for completing property declarations was assisted over the years by Ganaj himself, who was in charge of the controlling inspector before becoming a leader, reports “Boldnews.al “.
Equally as a case of Bodes, the denunciation of Gjin Gjoni could not finish a court. The Elbasan Prosecutor’s Office closed the investigation, as it could not detect within the procedural deadlines the alleged violation by HIDAA. Again, Ganaj did not approve of appealing to the court the decision to dismiss the Prosecution. However, he expressed his revolt before the Law Commission, where he labeled a wholly off-institutional dictionary with prosecutors, prosecution and the court. As an experienced lawyer, he knew very well that the indispensable reaction was to appeal to the court. But he preferred to be presented with the revolt in front of the commission led by Fatmir Xhafa, who is also known as the “mentor” of Shkëlqim Ganaj. Most of the staff renovated with Ganaj’s arrival at the helm of HIDRKPK are “Xhafa Orders” and the latter has created the full space for Ganaj to become a factor. The close relationship between them is further confirmed when ILDKPKI meets another “order”, a criminal charge against Alaudin Malaj, chairman of the Tirana Court of Appeals. Malaj, an old acquaintance of Ganaj, moreover with family ties, was clear that the denunciation of “concealment of wealth” against him was part of the game being held for the race for the head of the Appeal of Tirana. Xhafa and his political force supported a different candidacy from Malaj to run the most important appeals court in Albania. For his part, Malaj had strong support in the ranks of the High Council of Justice. And, for this reason, an external force was required to strike Malaj. Ganaj was again found, who handed his name to the Prosecution. Likewise, as in most cases, ILDKPKI was also dismissed by the Prosecution in this case. The Durrës Prosecution did not find criminal elements in the denunciation submitted by Ganaj against Alaudin Malaj, but the latter was not reconfirmed at the top of the Appeal. Just as it failed to win or supported by Fatmir Xhafa.
All these movements of the head of the Assets Inspectorate have consolidated the opposition’s position that Shkëlqim Ganaj is a tool in the hands of the prime minister and the majority. For the opposition, the institution run by it should not have a primary role in the “vetingun” of judges and prosecutors. These attitudes, the Democratic Party has expressed in at least three cases, during the discussion on Justice Reform.
In December 2015, in the Second Opinion addressed to the Venice Commission, the Democratic Party states, inter alia: “… The fact that HIDAA will continue to exercise its activity is also laid down in the Appeal provisions annexed to these Amendments (see Article D). Here too must be reminded of the ruling majority movement in 2014 for the control of HIDRIP, by amending the law and by appointing a new General Inspector by force …
At the meeting of the Special Justice Reform Commission on May 23, 2016, Oerd Bylykbashi of the Democratic Party says that “… the most worrying is the involvement in the vetting process of institutions such as the ILDC or the data that will to deal with an inappropriate past in relation to problematic individuals, even criminal records that will be taken by the State Police. Both of these give the government access and dominate the process … .We know very well that HIDAA is a highly politicized body and unfortunately this is the majority that by an unconstitutional vote has made this possible. It happens. ….
A few days after the adoption of the Constitution, specifically at the beginning of August, the Democratic Party presented 10 objections to the draft law on “vetingun”. The concern for the politically controlled position of HIDAIPI by the majority ranks third by concerns. According to the opposition, “… the active and determining role of the organs controlled or subordinated to the Prime Minister (ILDKPKI and DSIK) follows the overall control of the prime minister in two of the three components of the re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors …”
So, it is obvious that for the opposition it is unacceptable that HIDAIPK and especially its current leader, Shkëlqim Ganaj, have a decisive role in the veting of judges and prosecutors. The leader of that independent institution seems to have no legitimacy to engage in the most important mechanism to ensure the impartiality of the justice system.