ISSN 2330-717X

Albania Fires Justice Reform Commissioner


By Gjergj Erebara

Heral Saraci, the public commissioner responsible for overseeing the appeals process in the vetting of judges and prosecutors – a long-awaited reform in Albania – was fired for obstructing his own institution’s work and for illegal hiring practices.

Heral Saraci was sacked on Monday by Albania’s College of Appeals, which found that he had obstructed the the functioning of his institution and had hired staff without due process.

Saraci, who had not yet started his work on appeals resulting from the vetting of judges and prosecutors, had insisted he was not guilty.

Albania launched its much-awaited justice reform last year, which included a complex set of new institutions aimed at clearing the system of inept and corrupt judges and prosecutors, and giving judicial institutions independence from political influence.

Implementation has been slow, however. The vetting commission, which started work last October, has not yet delivered its first verdicts.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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