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Press Statement – Assembly approves important justice reform amendments in the absence of a consultation process and transparency

Civil society expresses its concern about the process of approval by the Assembly of Albania of ten draft laws linked with the justice reform package. The Assembly approved in its latest plenary session ten draft laws, in violation of procedures according to articles 26, 27, and 28 of the of the Assembly Rules of Procedure, for the conduct of plenary sessions and meetings of parliamentary committees, which are conducted according to a work program approved by the Conference of Chairmen.
Yesterday, with the proposal of the Socialist Party Parliamentary Group Chair, the Assembly decided to include in the plenary’s agenda the discussion and approval of ten draft laws that bring about 154 amendments and additions to the Criminal Code, the Criminal and Civil Procedure Codes, the material laws of the Constitutional Court and the Prosecution Office, the laws for the organization of the judicial system and new institutions against corruption and organized crime.
Civil society expresses the concern that the process pursued for the review and approval of these draft laws creates a negative precedent because it goes against the Constitution of the Republic of Albania and the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure.
Article 83, paragraph 3 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania prohibits the application of the accelerated procedure in reviewing draft laws that require a qualified majority of all members of the Assembly for approval.
Furthermore, the entire procedure pursued by the Committee of Laws until the approval of these draft laws in the plenary session was conducted in the absence of transparency with the public and consultation with all bodies of the justice system and civil society, as well as in circumstances of urgency, in less than 30 days from the submission to the Assembly on February 25, 2021. The absence of an inclusive consultation process creates an environment of mistrust toward this package of legal amendments to justice reform.
The history of frequent amendments to legislation, approved with urgency, has created to no shortage of problems, especially with regard to their long-term sustainability.
Civil society has expressed for a long time the need for a complete and careful analysis of the progress of justice reform, now that it has been four years since its approval. Our goal has been and remains the encouragement of quality and fast development of the justice system, increasing the efficiency of the judicial system and citizens’ access.
Any initiative undertaken toward this goal should be in accordance with the proper standards of lawmaking processes, in transparency and full consultation, in order to guarantee the increased trust of the public in the justice system.
Signatory organizations:
  1. Alliance Against Discrimination LGBT
  2. Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Albania, BIRN Albania
  3. Civil Rights Defenders
  4. Center for Bridging Communities
  5. CRCA / ECPAT Albania
  6. Down Syndrome Albania Foundation
  7. Mary Ward Loreto Foundation
  8. Albanian Foundation for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ADRF)
  9. Joscelyn Foundation
  10. Foundation Together
  11. Open Society Foundation Albania
  12. Foundation Raf
  13. Foundation “Partnerity for Development”
  14. Albanian Human Rights Group
  15. Women in the Focus on Development
  16. Institute of Political Studies (ISP)
  17. Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM)
  18. Institute of Roma Culture in Albania
  19. Institute for Legal and Public Studies
  20. Institute for Habitat Development (Co-Plan)
  21. Albanian Media Council
  22. Albanian Helsinki Committee
  23. Egyptian Youth Movement
  24. Observatory for the Rights of the Child and Youth
  25. Organization “Different and equal”
  26. Organization “Woman to Woman”
  27. Organization YMCA Tirana/Albania
  28. Organization “People in Focus”
  29. Organization “Well Point – Care for All”
  30. Organization “Help Life”
  31. Organization for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – MEDPAK
  32. Albania Partners for Change and Development
  33. National Platform for Women
  34. Gender Alliance for Development Center
  35. European Center
  36. Center Albanian Consumer
  37. Center “Treja”
  38. Center “Community Reporters Albania”
  39. Center for Community Development “Today for the Future”
  40. Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance
  41. Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER)
  42. Center for Integrated Legal Services and Practices
  43. Center for Transparency and Free Information
  44. Science and Innovation Development Center (SCiDEV)
  45. Center for Civic Legal Initiatives
  46. ALTRI Center
  47. Youth Center “Perspective”
  48. Center “Human Rights in Democracy”
  49. Albanian Center for Family Development
  50. Center for Mental Health – Mental Health Albania
  51. Center for the Promotion of Competitiveness
  52. Center “Res Publica”
  53. Roma Active Albania
  54. Women and Social Services Counseling Center (Kukës)
  55. Women’s Empowerment Network in Albania (AWEN)
  56. Women’s Democracy Network – WDN Albania
  57. Young Professionals Network
  58. Active Information and Citizenship Network
  59. Tirana Free Legal Service (TLAS)
  60. National Association of Professional, Business and Craft Women
  61. Association “For the benefit of Albanian women”
  62. Association “Parental Hand”
  63. Association “Young Intellectuals, Hope”
  64. Albanian Nurses Association
  65. Women’s Association “Reflections”
  66. Association “Voice of Rome in Albania”
  67. Association of Lushnja
  68. Association “Beyond Barriers”
  69. Association “Craftsmen of the North”
  70. Association “Movement for Tourism Development” Ksamil
  71. Physical Benefit Association in Korça