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On 24 July 2019, the third stakeholder committee meeting took place in Tirana within the framework of the EURALIUS V project, which is implemented by the IRZ as leading partner. At the biannual meeting, the expert team summed up the work of the past months and presented its plan for the next six months. The corresponding EURALIUS V progress report was adopted.
The participants were, amongst others:
Fjoralba Caka, Deputy Minister of Justice of Albania,
Xhezair Zaganjori, President of the Supreme Court,
Arta Marku, Public Prosecutor General,
representatives of the EU delegation in Albania, of the embassies representing the consortium and
representatives of the consortium and of all judicial institutions cooperating within the EURALIUS project, including the School of Magistrates and the newly established judicial institutions, the High Judicial Council and the High Council of Prosecution.
At the same time, the constitutional changes and the beginning of the judicial reform in Albania three years ago were commemorated, when work started on a comprehensive reform package comprising 40 laws. The IRZ contributed a major part to it within the predecessor project EURALIUS IV.
Despite the ongoing vetting procedure, i.e. the review of judges and public prosecutors, it was possible for some of the new judicial institutions to start work in early 2019. These are strongly supported by EURALIUS through capacity building and the drafting of internal regulations.
All participants appreciated the work of the EURALIUS team very much and requested further support measures.
The IRZ organised a seminar on 6 and 7 June 2019 in partnership with the Albanian School of Magistrates. The seminar focussed on reopening criminal proceedings in view of the legislation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the 2017 revision of the Albanian code of criminal procedure.
Spiro Spiro and Albana Boksi, lecturers from the School of Magistrates, opened the event by explaining the subject of reopening criminal proceedings to the 25 or so participating judges and public prosecutors and presenting the changes to the Albanian code of criminal procedure and two pending Albanian cases brought before the ECtHR. They then went on to report on the submission of new evidence for the case law of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court.
Anne Meier-Göring, an IRZ expert and Presiding Judge at the main criminal division for juvenile cases at the Regional Court of Hamburg, put forward the German point of view at various points during the seminar. She closed the first day with a lecture on the requirements of a proper trial in accordance with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the case law of the ECtHR and trials in absentia as a reason for breaches of the Article in question. She also explained the German Code of Criminal Procedure with respect to the obligations of the accused to attend the main trial.
On the second day, after the Albanian speakers had addressed the implementation of decisions taken by the ECtHR as a reason for reopening proceedings that have already been concluded by law, Anne Meier-Göring spoke about the implementation of decisions taken by the ECtHR on violations of the Convention due to reopening proceedings. She then went on to present the German system for retrials and drew a comparison with the Albanian provisions in this respect.
The participants were given plenty of opportunities to present their own cases and discuss these with the speakers before Spiro Spiro and Albana Boksi closed the seminar with a lecture on the litigation status of the accused, the Albanian system for retrials, the rulings of national courts and problems relating to the Constitution.
In partnership with the Bar Association of Albania and the German Federal Bar Association, represented by its Managing Director, Dr. Veronika Horrer, the IRZ organised a seminar on the code of criminal procedure for lawyers on 4 and 5 June 2019 in Tirana.
On the first day of the seminar, Albanian lawyer Arben Prifti gave an introduction to the 2017 reform of the code of criminal procedure in Albania. He explained that some uncertainties had arisen as a result of the reform. These concern, for example, onus of proof and appraising evidence, as well as the rights of the accused and the responsibilities of the judicial authorities. The explanations of Arben Prifti were followed by lively discussions involving the participants.
The German speakers, lawyers Anke Müller-Jacobsen and Stephan Schneider from Berlin, joined in the discussions and presented legal standards in Germany. They also gave lectures on the following topics:
Investigation proceedings in Germany,
court proceedings under criminal law and
appeals, reviews and the reopening of proceedings in Germany.
The second day of the seminar was opened by Maksim Haxhia, President of the Bar Association of Albania. After he had addressed the 80 or so participants, Albanian experts looked in more detail at topics that had already been discussed the previous day, as well as reporting on Albanian legal standards, which do not exist as such in Germany:
The preliminary meeting, including the role of judges,
alternative proceedings in Albania and
As had been the case the previous day, Anke Müller-Jacobsen and Stephan Schneider put forward the German point of view to mirror the Albanian contributions and thereby made a critical contribution towards the mutual understanding of the legal situation and the success of the event.