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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.
On 23 and 24 May 2019, the IRZ, in partnership with the Albanian School of Magistrates, organised a workshop for Albanian authors of legal commentaries. The objective of the event was to achieve a significant increase in the number and quality of commentaries on the platform for e-commentaries developed in 2017.
The workshop took place as part of a project organised by the IRZ, which is being financed by the German Foreign Office and has the objective of further developing the first legal commentary developed in Albania.
After all, a transparent, uniform jurisdiction under the rule of law is vital in view of the acceptance of the Albanian legal system by law professionals and citizens, as well as bringing the Balkan countries closer to the EU.
The project ties in with the work of national and international experts, who have developed an electronic platform as part of the EU action grant EURALIUS 2017 [LINK to EURALIUS], where several e-commentaries on Albanian legal standards can already be found.
To open the workshop, IRZ expert Prof. Dr. Bernd Heinrich (University of Tübingen) provided insights into the German tradition of writing commentaries. During the subsequent discussions, the following topics were addressed:
The advantages and disadvantages of online commentaries compared with print commentaries,
various citation systems,
international commentary standards and
a comparison between Albanian and German commentary methods.
Based on the outcome of these discussions, the participants worked on a standard methodology for drafting commentaries and agreed on the next steps to take. Under the guidance of the expert advisory board, which is made up of Prof. Dr. Heinrich, Prof. Dr. Jörg Kinzig (University of Tübingen), Prof. Dr. Martin Heger (Humboldt University in Berlin) and two Albanian experts, a total of seven authors will comment by the end of next year on articles of the Albanian criminal procedure law, as well as on the law on the status of judges and public prosecutors.
Afterwards, the project will be rounded off with events for the general public in Albania, during which the results of the project will be presented, raising awareness of this field amongst law professionals and public institutions.