The platform of the President of the Republic on the european integration of Albania

The platform of the President of the Republic on the european integration of Albania

Having in mind the national objective for a credible, sustainable and quick process of EU accession;

Considering that all-inclusive approach is indispensable to implementing all key priorities, pending the first inter-governmental conference of EU negotiations;

Recalling the serious shortcomings related to proper implementation of judicial reform and to establishment of new judicial institutions;

Noting with grave concern the non-functioning of the Constitutional Court for more than two years, which has undermined the protection of constitutional rights of individuals and left governmental and parliamentary activity free of constitutional checks;

Likewise, the non-functioning of the High Court has led to a significant backlog of cases (more than 36.000), denying citizens of access to justice, thus violating essential human rights;

Recalling the repercussions caused by the political blocking of Justice Appointment Council for two consecutive years, 2017-2018, and JAC’s questionable activity during 2019, most notably of JAC 2019 Chair;

Underscoring the immediate necessity for a fully functioning and efficient judicial system;

Noting the unacceptable level of representation in the Albanian Parliament, and its composition not in line with Constitutional provisions, (article 64/1);

Recalling the independent assessment and wise recommendations of the Venice Commission, in its draft-Opinion of 6 March 2020;

Welcoming the commitment of political forces in the framework of the Political Council, as a suitable mechanism to bring forward electoral reform;

All sides (herein after referred to as parties) must interact through a constructive dialogue, agree and undertake the following actions:

1. The majority and opposition (parliamentary and non-parliamentary) steadfastly commit to finalizing the Electoral Reform, addressing all OSCE/ODIHR recommendations and relevant conclusions of the 25 March 2020 General Affairs Council of the European Union;

2. Justice Appointment Council must continue functioning, including amending its bylaws, in line with Venice Commission recommendations of 6 March 2020 draft-Opinion. For the three vacancies under current examination (2 from the President and 1 from Parliament), JAC must continue with submitting the lists of candidates to each institution according to constitutional sequence – President – Parliament – President;

3. JAC must consent to participation of Ombudsman in the entire duration of its activity and discussions, in line with the Constitution and law;

4. The mandate of current JAC Chair is terminated in context of recent appointment of three new High Court Judges. Current JAC Chair immediately loses all rights to continue exercising his term, long overdue, as member of the High Court, and consequently as JAC Chair;

5. JAC continues functioning according to law, presided by the Deputy Chair;

6. The Albanian Parliament immediately tackles every legal vacuum, so that either President or Parliament draw the lot to fill in JAC vacancies within a calendar year;

7. The Albanian Parliament withdraws and refrains from any legal initiation changing the format and procedure of swearing in office of Constitutional Court members, and of other high members of judicial system;

8. The Albanian Parliament withdraws from its “anti-slander package”, and refrains from any similar legal initiative in the future;

9. Any legal or constitutional amendment related to judicial reform must be done only through unanimous consensus of the Political Council;

10. In the framework of the Political Council, the parties agree within June to appoint as Chief Negotiator for EU accession, a High Level Expert whose integrity, reliability and professionalism is mutually agreeable.

11. All High Court judges are appointed in line with constitutional and legal provisions, and as soon as possible;

12. High Judicial Council and High Prosecutor Council immediately adopt the new judicial map of redistributing human resources within the judicial system of the Court of Appeal and the Courts of First Instance, and proceed with filling in the vacancies created due to resignations or vetting process;

13. High Judicial Council must prioritize the overload assessment of the Administrative Court of Appeals, and propose necessary measures that allow for a due process within time limit (1 month) in this Court;

14. The Albanian Parliament must examine in a fair process, free of political interest, candidates proposed by the President of the Republic for Chairman of State Supreme Audit Institution.

Constructive suggestions to improve this platform are welcome.

Tirana, on 08.04.2020