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"I will continue my duties at KLP", VOA: Alfred Balla challenges the exclusion from the system

"I will continue my duties at KLP", VOA: Alfred Balla challenges the

In Albania, the chairman of the High Council of Prosecution (KLP) Alfred Balla will no longer be part of the justice system for the next 15 years, and as a result "no judge or prosecutor of any level can be appointed as a member of the Council of the High Judicial Council or the High Prosecution Council, High Inspector of Justice or General Prosecutor". The decision was taken on Tuesday by the Special Appeal Board (KPA), the highest structure of the process of re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors, since until 2017, when the new laws of the Reform of Justice came into force, it had been working as a legal advisor in the Supreme Court. But Mr. Balla told the Voice of America in the evening that the decision, which he describes as "shameful", has nothing to do with his current position in the KLP, since he was elected as a member of the parliament as a representative of society. civil and not as a magistrate and as a result "I am still in office as chairman and member of the KLP", he declared adding that "if he wants, only the parliament can dismiss me".

Mr. Balla was elected in 2018 as a member of the KLP, and in March 2022, he was elected at the head of the "government of prosecutors" for a two-year term. Meanwhile, his mandate as a member has ended since December of last year, but the procedures for the selection of 3 non-magistrate candidates were extended beyond the deadlines.

Although due to his duty as a legal advisor at the Supreme Court he was considered subject to the transitional re-evaluation process, the Independent Qualification Commission (KPK) organized the lottery for the appointment of the panel for his case at the end of December 2021. The panel was it then took 1 and a half years to assess whether he enjoyed the status of a magistrate and consequently to determine whether or not he should undergo the so-called Vetting process. Finally, in June 2023, the KPK closed the re-evaluation process against Mr. Balla, without a final decision, finding that he had lost the status of a magistrate after being relieved of his duties by the decision of the President of the Supreme Court in July 2017 .

Mr. Balla himself strongly opposed the revaluation process, even at the beginning of 2023 he complained in Brussels to the international observer Theo Jacobs, accusing him of exerting pressure on the members of the KPK, that this institution to carry out the vetting against him.

The decision of the KPK was appealed to the Special Board of Appeal by the Public Commissioner Florian Ballhysa, according to which, despite the claims that with the release from office in the High Court, the status of the magistrate has also been lost, Mr. Balla himself had undertaken legal battles for him to be recognized with this status, both through a lawsuit in the Administrative Court and through a request addressed to the Supreme Judicial Council (HCJ).

According to the acts made public by the Public Commissioner, Mr. Balla was later withdrawn, both from the lawsuit in the courts and from the request made to the KLJ "when the KPK judicial body continued to send the questionnaires of the re-evaluation process".

According to the Special Board of Appeal, Mr. Balla "lost his status due to his actions and inactions, in the conditions where, while he did not contest the order (release from duty in the Supreme Court, note ed.) in a legal way, he showed the will to be elected to another constitutional body. This behavior was assessed as the determining cause for the termination of his employment relationship as a legal assistant and was assessed as fulfilling the conditions to be qualified as resignation from office". According to Article G of the Annex of the Constitution, the resignation of a subject of re-evaluation leads to the termination of the process and is followed by the impossibility to be part of the Justice system for a period of 15 years.

In his reaction in the evening, Mr. Balla states that "even though I hoped that it would not be affected, today the KPA (the majority) made a shameful decision to terminate without a final decision my vetting as a former legal advisor in the Court of High school where I worked 8 years ago, associating it with the prohibitions of Article "G" of the Annex to the Constitution, which are imposed only on those who resign or are dismissed from office, where there was no occasion for me".

As he confirmed to the Voice of America, Mr. Balla is of the opinion that the decision "has nothing to do with my current status in the KLP, as elected by the Parliament from the ranks of civil society and not as a magistrate. For clarification, this is not a dismissal decision, as no administrative investigation has been conducted against me. Based on this decision, in the future I cannot run for certain positions, of course, until the Court for Human Rights expresses itself", warning of an appeal in Strasbourg./ VOA

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