Tirana, 10 May 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
The ad hoc commission for the reform in the justice system has approved in principle the draft for the reform in the judiciary system. This is the last draft submitted a week ago by international experts, as earlier drafts had been rejected by the sides.
The head of this Commission, Fatmir Xhafaj says that with today’s vote in principle, way is given to a discussion article by article of the process and then to the parliamentary debates.
“We have voted the reform in the justice system in principle. Very little work remains to be done. We have proposed an intense agenda and I hope that it will be deliberated step by step. If there’s a will, then the process may be finalized on time. Any compromise is possible if it preserves the essence of this project”, Xhafaj says.
Opposition MP and former Justice Minister, Eduard Halimi says that the opposition voted in favor of the start of discussions article by article of the draft revised by EURALIUS and OPDAT experts. Halimi says that “the vote in favor must not be interpreted as a vote in favor of political issues, which relate to new Constitutional institutions and the appointment of these institutions or the suspension of constitutional mandates”.
“They are political issues, for which the international expertise and the Venice Commission, address to politics in almost all of the paragraphs”, Mr. Halimi says.
The EU ambassador, Romana Vlahutin reacted by saying that the reforms that will be delivered in Albania will make life here better, adding that she hopes that this will happen as soon as possible. She also confirmed the fact that Albania has constantly lost time and chances: “Unfortunately, in all of this, Albania has wasted many chances. Now Albania has a chance that it must not waste. Today there was a meeting of the commission and the parties have voted in principle and I am happy for this”, Mrs. Vlahutin said.
Vlahutin confirmed that although this is a good move, “this is not finalized yet”.
Vlahutin also spoke about the possibility of launching talks within this year. “At the end of this year, with the work that we have done together, we are hoping that the European Union will issue a positive recommendation for the launch of talks between the EU and Albania. As of this moment, we have the chance to move forward. Things must get done and there are no more excuses”.
Ambassador Vlahutin also explains the two axes on which the reform in the judiciary system will become concrete.
“It has been projected to change the system in two ways. On one hand we have the legislative framework which will comply with European standards, but also with the best practices of other countries. The second thing, which is equally important, if not the most important, is the healing of the system, in order for those who have abused with the system, prosecutors or judges, to leave”.
An official reaction was also issued from the USA:
“The United States Embassy welcomes the decision by the Ad Hoc Committee on Judicial Reform to accept in principle the final draft of the constitutional changes prepared according to the recommendations of the Venice Commission Final Opinion.
The unanimous support for this decision should give the Albanian people hope that their political leaders are now committed to the passage of this reform. Unanimous support is unusual in Albania and we commend the Ad Hoc Committee for this important step forward in judicial reform”, – thuhet në qëndrimin që publikoi ambasada amerikane. /balkaneu.com/