Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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President Begaj’s Address on National Justice Day

Ladies and gentlemen,

On National Justice Day, it is my pleasure to address you, the new justice bodies, particularly SPAK and GJKKO, to extend my support for your commitment, sacrifices, and high professionalism.

111 years ago, under the leadership of Ismail Qemali, the first government of the Albanian state adopted the “Kanuni i Zhurisë,” a significant legal act that marked the beginning of our efforts to build a justice system.

The road has been difficult and the mission sometimes seemed impossible, but we have persisted and today we find ourselves in another equally crucial stage of our journey.

Ten years ago, with the valued support of our friends and partners, the United States of America and the European Union, we initiated a historic justice reform.

This reform was not just a structural change but a clear commitment to combat organized crime and corruption and to build a society where the rule of law is a cornerstone.

This reform arose from a timely necessity and the long-standing aspiration of our citizens for an independent, impartial, and effective judiciary.

Such a judiciary is also a prerequisite for Albania’s accession to the European Union.

Standards have been set within the framework of constitutional and legal changes brought about by the justice reform.

Now, our primary issue is the full and comprehensive implementation of these standards with responsibility and priority.

The results of the reform are tangible.

Never before has the perception that justice has the strength, courage, and energy to work, confront, and triumph over crime been so strong.

For the first time in decades, the culture of impunity has been deeply shaken. This deserves commendation and support.

When discussing justice reform, attention has often focused on the vetting process and its results.

Vetting is undoubtedly a very important component of the reform, but it is not the entirety of it.

Cleansing the justice system is a prerequisite for reformed justice.

Equally important is the rejuvenation of the corps with judges and prosecutors who are professionally capable and of high integrity, so the system is immune to interference.

We can build systems and undertake various reforms, but success is guaranteed only if the transformation is demonstrated through the daily work and results of the professionals.

Our judges and prosecutors, entrusted with this transformation, must be symbols of honesty and justice.

They bear a heavy responsibility to earn the trust of the Albanians.

Their work is not just a duty but also a mission to ensure that every citizen is equal before the law.

Increasing the professional capacity of magistrates must be a focus and a long-term, sustainable objective for justice bodies.

In this regard, the High Judicial Council, the High Council of Prosecutors, and the School of Magistracy must work to ensure the professional and ethical standards of magistrates, to secure a regular and competitive process, raised on the basis of values and merit during recruitment, appointments, or promotions.

The High Judicial Council, the High Council of Prosecutors, and the High Inspector of Justice play a key role in the continuous quality control of decision-making, accountability, efficiency, and transparency of magistrates’ work.

Together, you guarantee the rapid renewal of the system with professional and highly integral magistrates.

In particular, you, ladies and gentlemen, as leaders of justice bodies, must be aware that the new justice is not anonymous!

It bears the face, impartiality, moral cleanliness, and professional integrity of each of you.

The system is yours. Keep it clean!

Distinguished attendees,

The vetting process and the restructuring of the courts also had the side effect of delaying justice.

The calendar for reviewing judicial cases is overloaded, and citizens await the resolution of problems, as each decision affects their lives and their trust in our judicial system.

This is not just a statistical issue but vital for the well-being and functioning of a fair and democratic society.

Ensuring quick and effective access to justice, as well as securing a proper legal process, are fundamental constitutional rights of every citizen.

We must not forget that the true perception of citizens about the independence and efficiency of justice is measured by each individual’s personal experience.

Therefore, independence must be accompanied by transparency and accountability.

Justice must be functional in practice and not just anticipated in legal instruments.

If you need help or support from other institutions to fulfill your mission, do not hesitate to seek it!

Justice is not just a legal concept.

It is the assurance of equality for every citizen before the law, as much as it is a philosophical and moral ideal that must be achieved.

I reiterate my full support for all justice bodies and magistrates for their daily contribution to protecting the rights of citizens and the public interest.

I also reaffirm my full, unconditional support for the Special Structure Against Corruption and Organized Crime, SPAK, and the First Instance Special Court for Corruption and Organized Crime, GJKKO, for their contributions to the fight against corruption and organized crime.

I understand the numerous difficulties, constant pressure, and high responsibility, but this is the challenge.

Rest assured, all Albanians support you.

Thank you for your attention!