On the national selection procedure for the position of the Albanian judge at the European Court of Human Rights
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will vote the candidacy for Albania's new judge to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by April 2017. The Council of Europe has invited the Albanian government to submit within March 20, 2017 the list of proposals for the three most suitable candidates for this position.
In order to have procedures carried out in line with the roadmap of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe CM (2012) 40-add dated 29.03.2012, the process has been preceded by a study on the best practices followed by other member countries, to select their national judges at the ECHR.
For the selection of the most appropriate candidates, an ad-hoc committee was set up by Order no. nr. 7044 dated 12.06.2016, for carrying out selection procedures of candidates for the position of judge at the ECHR Albania (Commission), the members of which have considerable integrity and professional experience in the field of law:
Chairman of the Committee:
-Mr Luan Omari, constitutionalist, a former member of the Venice Commission
Members of the Committee:
-Mr Kristaq Traja, a former judge at the ECHR
-Mr Bashkim Dedja, Chairman of the Constitutional Court
-Mr Artan Hoxha, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Tirana, a former Supreme Court judge
-Mr Artur Metani, Director of the department of Legislation and Anti-Corruption Monitoring Programs, Prime Ministry
Every step of the process was followed in full consultation with the Advisory Panel of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (Advisory Panel).
To ensure that the national procedures for the selection of Albanian judge at the ECHR would be realized in accordance with Council of Europe standards, the following steps were taken:
- By letter with prot. no. 6335 dated October 31, 2016, the Call for application was submitted for publication to: Centre of Official Publications, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, the High Council of Justice, General Prosecutor's Office, School of Magistrates, and to all law faculties of public universities, the National Bar, the National Chamber of Notaries, national newspapers with significant circulation, and media with high visibility.
- On November 1, 2016, the call for Application was published in almost all the above sources. Deadline for receipt of applications was 30 (thirty) days.
- According to the call for applications, applicants must meet the following criteria:
Be Albanian citizen;
Have a degree in law;
Have at least 15 years of experience as a judge, prosecutor, lawyer, professor or lecturer of law, high level public administration employee with a distinguished activity in the field of law, mainly in the field of human rights. Priority will be given to candidates with practical experience in the justice system;
The candidate should not have held political positions in public administration or management positions in a political party during the last 10 years before nomination;
The candidate must have strong moral principles in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 21 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
The candidate must be fluent in one of the official languages of the Council of Europe (English or French), and have at least basic knowledge of the other language. Priority will be given to candidates fluent in both official languages of the Council of Europe.
- 11 (elven) candidates applied for this position.
- List of candidates (in alphabetical order) who applied for the position of the Albanian judge at the ECHR:
1. Aleksandër Muskaj
2. Asllan Karaj
3. Aurela Anastas
4. Elira Kokona
5. Ermal Frashëri
6. Gent Ibrahimi
7. Marjana Semini Tutulani
8. Markeljan Koça
9. Oriona Muçollari
10. Sokol Berberi
11. Suela Mëneri
- Following the submission of complete application within the 1-month deadline made available, the Commission reviewed the files of applicants. Aware of the importance of integrity of the image of judges in the Albanian justice system, but also of the Albanian representatives in international judicial bodies, in carrying out selection procedures for candidates for the position of the judge of Albania at the ECHR, in addition to assessing candidates based upon professional criteria, the Commission applied also the constitutional principles underlying the Vetting process, which are related to the issue of verification of declarations of assets and integrity based on the legal framework governing these issues; the integrity of the figure of high functionaries; the integrity of the persons elected, appointed or exercising public functions; the declaration and audit of assets, financial obligations of elected officials and certain public employees; prevention of conflicts of interest in exercising public functions.
- After the assessment by each member of the Commission of the records of applicants based on the call for applications criteria, and on their characteristics, the candidates were interviewed according to a standardized format, where their language skills were also assessed.
After the completion of the two phases of the selection procedure based on the respective assessments, and after the implementation phase of consultation with the Advisory Panel of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Commission proposed the following list with 3 candidates for the position of judge of Albania at the ECHR:
1. Aleksandër Muskaj
2. Aurela Anastas
3. Sokol Berberi
This list was submitted to the Council of Ministers for review.
After being reviewed by the Council of Ministers, the list with the 3 candidates, along with the respective practice must be sent for further proceedings to the Parliamentary Assembly (CoE) within March 20, 2017.