Fighting Judicial Corruption with Constitutional Measures: the Albanian Case

On 22 July 2016, during the early morning hours, Albania’s parliament adopted a long-awaited judicial reform, after 18 months of technical work and days of tense and political negotiations. Changing 46 articles of the 1998’s constitution, the judicial reform package adopted by Albania’s parliament on Friday is one of the most radical changes in legislation that the country has seen in 25 years.

The Albanian Constitution was approved in 1998. Since then it has been amended three times: first in 2007 in order to extend the office mandate of the local government bodies. The second amendment, which is more significant, occurred in 2008, to the effect of changing the way of election of the President of the Republic, the procedure for the vote of confidence of the government, and the office mandate of the Prosecutor General. The third amendment in 2012 reduced the immunity of senior state officials against criminal prosecution.

In the 18-year period of its application, the Constitution has generally managed to ensure the functioning of a democratic state in Albania, although failures have not been missing. Thus, for instance, the ‘98 Constitution did not manage to insulate independent institutions against political majorities and to ensure a true and effective supervision by the Parliament over the Government. Its most significant failure, however, was its inability to establish an independent, accountable, and efficient justice system ...

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