ECtHR seminar in Tirana

  • Dr. Stefan von der Beck, Presiding Judge at the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg

    Dr. Stefan von der Beck, Presiding Judge at the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg

  • Participants in the seminar

    Participants in the seminar

  • Elira Kokona, Dr. Stefan von der Beck, Dr. Idlir Peçi (from left to right)

    Elira Kokona, Dr. Stefan von der Beck, Dr. Idlir Peçi (from left to right)

  • During the seminar

    During the seminar

On 25 and 26 April 2017, a two-day seminar was held at the School of Magistrates in Tirana on “Finding, understanding and citing the case law of European Court of Human Rights – Practical instructions for helping judges, prosecutors and students of the School of Magistrates”.

The target groups for this event, which was financed by funds from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection were:

  • Students at the School of Magistrates,
  • Criminal court judges,
  • Civil court judges and
  • Public prosecutors.

Dr. Stefan von der Beck, Presiding Judge at the Higher Regional Court of Oldenburg, spoke on behalf of the IRZ. The speakers from the Albanian side were Dr. Idlir Peçi, a former Deputy Minister of Justice and acting Deputy Minister of Defence, and Elira Kokona, representing the Ministry of Culture.

Together they were able to give the participants a detailed overview of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Using selected cases, they discussed ECtHR case law, in which article 6 of the ECHR plays a significant role, with the law professionals.

The speakers also shed more light on research work with sources, in particular research on relevant ECHtR sites (“HUDOC”) and gave some practical tips for using these sources.

Delegation from the Supreme Court on a study visit to learn about “administrative jurisdiction in Germany”

Judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania visiting the German Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig: Xhezair Zaganjori, President of the Supreme Court (in the front, 2nd from right); Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Klaus Rennert, President of the Federal Administrative Court (centre)

Judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania visiting the German Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig: Xhezair Zaganjori, President of the Supreme Court (in the front, 2nd from right); Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Klaus Rennert, President of the Federal Administrative Court (centre)

The IRZ supports the Republic of Albania with the development of its administrative activities, which were established in 2013. As part of this cooperation, a delegation from the Supreme Court of Albania was hosted by the IRZ from 7 to 10 March 2017. Participants in this study visit on “administrative jurisdiction in Germany” included the President of the Supreme Court, Professor Xhezair Zaganjori, and five judges from the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court of Albania.

During expert talks with the President of the Higher Administrative Court of Saxony in Bautzen, Erich Künzler, the structure and tasks involved in administrative jurisdiction in Germany, as well as developments in personnel in view of the current asylum policy, were discussed. On the following day, the delegation was welcomed to the German Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig by the President of the German Federal Administrative Court, Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Klaus Rennert. Expert talks were held with Dr. Otto Mallmann, a former presiding judge at the German Federal Administrative Court, and Dr. Susanne Rublack and Martin Steinkühler, judges at the German Federal Administrative Court, on the position and duties of the German Federal Administrative Court, the particularities of the review process, current examples of case law and judicial decision-making with a view to the independence of the judge.

The participants benefited a great deal from the opportunity to exchange views with experienced practitioners at the German Federal Administrative Court and at the Higher Administrative Court of Saxony. They were also given an insight into the tasks and structure of administrative jurisdiction in Germany.

Seminar on the Common European Asylum System in Tirana

  • Anke Holstein, Deputy Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania; Aleksander Toma, Director of Cabinet; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg (left to right)

    Anke Holstein, Deputy Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania; Aleksander Toma, Director of Cabinet; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg (left to right)

  • Rainer Deville, IRZ team leader from EURALIUS IV; Aleksander Toma; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann (left to right)

    Rainer Deville, IRZ team leader from EURALIUS IV; Aleksander Toma; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann (left to right)

  • Employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania

    Employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania

  • Employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania

    Employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania

  • Prof. Dr. Bergmann is presented with a gift by Kujtim Osmani, Secretary General

    Prof. Dr. Bergmann is presented with a gift by Kujtim Osmani, Secretary General

  • Aleksander Toma; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann; Arta Vorpsi, academic employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania; Kujtim Osmani (left to right)

    Aleksander Toma; Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann; Arta Vorpsi, academic employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania; Kujtim Osmani (left to right)

  • Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann; Elke Wendland, IRZ; Koco Bendo, IRZ representative in Albania (left to right)

    Prof. Dr. Jan Bergmann; Elke Wendland, IRZ; Koco Bendo, IRZ representative in Albania (left to right)

From 21 to 22 April 2016, a seminar was held in Tirana by invitation of the IRZ on the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) for scientific employees of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania. This was the first seminar of its kind and it was led by Professor Dr. Jan Bergmann, Presiding Judge at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg.

In his opening speech, Aleksander Toma, Director of Cabinet for the President of the Constitutional Court of Albania, thanked the IRZ and Professor Dr. Bergmann for their long-term commitment. In her welcome address, the Deputy Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany in Albania, Anke Holstein, gave a brief overview of the current situation regarding the refugee problem, from the point of view of the German Embassy in Tirana. The topic of the seminar is also of special interest to the German Embassy, and the seminar was only made possible thanks to financial support from the German Federal Foreign Office.

Professor Bergmann, who has many years of experience as an asylum judge and is co-editor of a leading paper on immigration and asylum law, began his lecture with some current figures on the asylum process in Europe. He compared developments in Germany with those happening in the rest of Europe and referred to past European policies on asylum programmes, as well as the current primary legislation. Using highly illustrative examples from real-life situations, he explained the various stages of asylum law, from application for asylum to the residence permit or deportation, and the EU directives and regulations that form the basis of this process. During the rest of the seminar, the principles behind the Common European Asylum System were discussed, before the implementation of the default system according to the German example was explained to the participants in the seminar during a second stage. The seminar was rounded off with a demonstration of the options for solving the reform of the Dublin system and of the CEAS and with an overview of existing European initiatives for solving the Balkan and Mediterranean issue.

This seminar offered employees of the Constitutional Court of Albania a unique opportunity to learn about the European asylum system from the point of view of a German administrative lawyer with relevant practical experience. The Republic of Albania may not yet belong to the EU, but it might find itself confronted with similar problems in the foreseeable future, once the Balkan route has been closed. During the two-day seminar, plenty of interesting discussions took place between the speakers and the audience concerning the current refugee problem, in particular fellow Albanians, who as a general rule are not recognised as persecuted refugees in Germany, since most of them left their country for economic reasons. The issue of "blood feuds" and how they are dealt with in asylum law was also the subject of controversial and detailed debate.