Albania - annual report 2016

Visit to the Karlsruhe Regional Court by a delegation headed by Professor Xhezair Zaganjori (3rd from right), President of the Supreme Court of Albania

Visit to the Karlsruhe Regional Court by a delegation headed by Professor Xhezair Zaganjori (3rd from right), President of the Supreme Court of Albania

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The Republic of Albania was granted official EU-candidate status in June 2014. In July 2016, the Albanian Parliament ultimately accepted the long-debated draft legislation for amendments to the Constitution, which paves the way for numerous statutory amendments and a comprehensive judicial reform. The new Constitution will not only create new judicial institutions; the judicial reform is also designed to counteract the continued existence of corruption in the country. One important aspect of the reforms therefore also affects the project for strengthening the confidence of the population in the government and the judicial system, which has been damaged amongst other things by widespread corruption. The passing of the constitutional amendment by the Albanian Parliament was welcomed internationally and can be regarded as an important step by Albania on the path towards the EU. Amongst other things, the EU had pointed out to Albania that the judicial reform and other reform steps constitute a central precondition for the start of accession negotiations. The EU progress report for 2016 particularly welcomed the laws which have already been passed on the reorganisation of the judicial system and the project to introduce a vetting law to examine the reliability of judges and public prosecutors. This law introduces an examination of the personal suitability and income circumstances of the judicial officers and a finding of whether or not they have connections to organised crime. The first vetting examinations are expected to take place at the start of 2017.

On a regional policy level, the country has increased its endeavours towards good relations with neighbouring countries and constitutes an important partner in the establishment of joint security and economic structures in the region. Although Albania is still one of the poorest countries in Europe, the current prime minister Edi Rama is leading intensifying measures to promote foreign investment.

Overall Concept

The IRZ has worked together with the Republic of Albania since 2000 and has conducted events in this context in the fields of the organisation of the judiciary and of legislation, as well as basic and further training for lawyers. In this regard, support for the Albanian Ministry of Justice in the course of the EU-funded EURALIUS und EURALIUS II projects formed a focus of the IRZ’s work in Albania from 2005 to mid-2010. Following on from this, the IRZ has taken the lead in the Grant Project EURALIUS IV, likewise funded by the EU, in order to support and advise on the judicial reform (see report on this project) since September 2014. In addition, the IRZ was able to further develop numerous bilateral activities with important partners in Albania, including the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the School of Magistrates in recent years, whereas the basic and further training of lawyers forms a special focus here. Since administrative judges started work in Albania for the first time in 2013, support for the introduction of the administrative jurisdiction in Albania plays a special part in the IRZ’s bilateral work in Albania.

Foci of Activity 2016

Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Seminar in Tirana for staff of the Constitutional Court entitled “Joint European asylum system”
  • Participation by the President of the Supreme Court and an academic assistant of the Albanian Constitutional Court in the XVIIIth International Congress for European and Comparative Constitutional Law in Regensburg in cooperation with the University of Regensburg and the Graduate School for East and South-East European Studies
  • Information visit to Stuttgart by staff of the Constitutional Court entitled “Constitutional law in Baden-Württemberg and protection from corruption in German justice”

Administration of Justice

  • Study trip for Supreme Court judges to the German Federal Supreme Court and the Regional Court in Karlsruhe and to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

Public Law

  • Seminar in Tirana for administrative judges of all instances entitled “Introduction to administrative court procedure in Germany” in co-operation with the Supreme Court

EU Project

Outlook

In 2017, the IRZ will continue its cooperation with the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the School of Magistrates in Albania. En-quiries have already been submitted for seminars and a study trip which follow on from the events of previous years. The planned study trip for Supreme Court judges will take place after the seminar in 2016 entitled “Introduction to administrative court procedure in Germany” and will involve visits to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig and the Higher Administrative Court in Bautzen. In addition, the IRZ will concentrate on the further implementation of the EU Project EURALIUS IV in 2017.

Download the entire IRZ annual report in PDF format here: annual report 2016.

Albania - annual report 2015

Länderbericht Albanien 2015Seminar in Tirana on the law on constitutional procedure and on human rights protection: Kujtim Osmani, Secretary-General; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann, Presiding Judge at Stuttgart Administrative Court; Aleksander Toma, Chef de Cabinet (left to right)

Strategic framework

Legal policy starting point

The reform of the legal and economic systems poses a particular challenge for the Republic of Albania because of the country's political past. The reform has suffered several setbacks. In particular the civil war-like unrest in 1997 can be mentioned here. The reform process reached a new phase when the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU came into effect and Albania submitted its application for EU membership in April 2009. Even though Albania was granted official candidate status by the EU in June 2014, further progress needs to be made on important reforms. This is necessary regardless of the fact that successes have already been achieved in Albania in both economic and political terms. These reforms particularly relate to public administration and the judiciary. Further topics are corruption and organised crime, as well as safeguarding human rights.

Overall concept

The IRZ has been operating in Albania since the spring of 2000 within the German contribution to the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Since then, the IRZ has been offering events and consultation on the organisation of the judiciary and in the field of legislation, as well as providing basic and further training for lawyers in various legal fields.

In this regard, support for the Albanian Ministry of Justice within the EU-funded EURALIUS and EURALIUS II projects formed a focus of the IRZ's project activities in Albania from 2005 until mid-2010. The large number of bilateral activities with important partners in Albania, including the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Office of the Public Prosecutor General and the Judicial Academy, should also be stressed, and the IRZ has been able to further expand these in recent years. The basic and further training of lawyers was a particular focus here. Finally, the IRZ continued implementing the EURALIUS IV project in 2015.

Foci of activity in 2015

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

  • Seminar in Tirana entitled "Constitutional law and public relations in Supreme Courts"

Civil and commercial law

  • Seminar in Tirana entitled "Family conflict and protection of the best interests of children in an international context"

Public law

  • Seminar in Durres entitled "Administrative law in Supreme Court practice"
  • Seminar in Tirana entitled "Administrative law"

EU project

Outlook

The IRZ will be concentrating in 2016 on the further implementation of the EU's EURALIUS IV project. It will also continue its cooperation with the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the Judicial Academy. These institutions have already submitted enquiries regarding seminars and workshops which build on the previous year's events.

Albania - annual report 2013

Länderbericht Albanien 2013Seminar "The principle of proportionality as well as social fundamental and human rights" in Tirana

General – Conceptual orientation

Legal policy starting point

The reform of the legal and economic systems poses a particular challenge for the Republic of Albania because of the country's political past. This process has undergone some setbacks. In particular the civil war-like unrest in 1997 can be mentioned here. The reform process reached a new phase when the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU came into effect and Albania submitted its application for EU membership in April 2009. However, further progress needs to be made on important reforms in Albania before the EU can grant Albania official candidate status. This must also take place regardless of the fact that Albania has now achieved success in both economic and political terms. These reforms particularly relate to the fields of public administration, the judiciary, corruption and organised crime as well as human rights.

Cooperation to date

The IRZ has been operating in Albania since the spring of 2000 within the German contribution to the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. Since then, the IRZ has been offering events and consultation on the organisation of the judiciary and in the field of legislation, as well as providing basic and further training for lawyers in various legal fields. In this regard, support for the Albanian Ministry of Justice within the EU funded EURALIUS and EURALIUS II projects formed a focus of the IRZ's activities in Albania from 2005 until mid-2010. The large number of bilateral activities with important partners in Albania, including the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Office of the Public Prosecutor General, the Judicial Academy and the Chamber of Notaries, should also be stressed. In 2013, the IRZ particularly emphasised continuing and intensifying cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Academy which has been in operation for more than ten years. 

Major partners

  • Constitutional Court
  • Judicial Academy

Strategy and method

Since the completion of the EU-funded EURALIUS II project in June 2010, the bilateral activities of the IRZ have been more important still, particular focus being placed on the basic and further training of legal experts. The IRZ particularly intensified cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Academy in 2013. Administrative law will be a topic of particular interest in 2014. This is because the Albanian Parliament adopted the Act on the Administrative Courts in 2012, and first-instance and second-instance administrative court judges have now been appointed, taking up their posts in 2013. The plans for 2014 also focus on events regarding the awarding of official candidate status by the EU. 

Foci of activity in 2013

Erik Tintrup, German Embassy, Tirana; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann, presiding judge at Stuttgart Administrative Court; Kujtim Osmani, Secretary-General at the Albanian Constitutional Court (left to right) as speakers at the seminarErik Tintrup, German Embassy, Tirana; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann, presiding judge at Stuttgart Administrative Court; Kujtim Osmani, Secretary-General at the Albanian Constitutional Court (left to right) as speakers at the seminar

Constitutional law / Human rights and their enforceability

  • Seminar on the topic of "Rights and freedoms under the European Convention on Human Rights" in Tirana in cooperation with the Judicial Academy of the Republic of Albania
  • Participation by the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania at the XV International Congress for European and Comparative Constitutional Law in Regensburg in cooperation with the University of Regensburg
  • Seminar on the topic of "The principle of proportionality / social fundamental and human rights" in Tirana in cooperation with the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania

Civil and commercial law

  • Participation by a department head of the Albanian Competition Authority at the 16th International Cartel Conference in Berlin in cooperation with the Federal Cartel Office Administration of justice
  • Seminar on the topic of "Transparency in judicial processes and awareness- creation for transparency among judges" in Tirana in cooperation with the Judicial Academy
  • Support for the Judicial Academy in the publication of their legal journal

Outlook

The IRZ would particularly like to continue its cooperation with the Constitutional Court and the Judicial Academy in 2014. Both institutions have already submitted concrete enquiries regarding, amongst other things, seminars and workshops, which build on the previous year’s activities. The IRZ is also planning to engage in cooperation with the Supreme Court, the Office of the Public Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Justice.