Special anti-corruption unit established as judges take oath in front of President

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 20, 2019 10:08

Special anti-corruption unit established as judges take oath in front of President

Story Highlights

  • It is expected that the High Prosecutorial Council will also decide on the future head of this structure, which, together with the Special Court, will have as its object scrutinizing the work of senior officials, corruption and organized crime.

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TIRANA, Dec. 19 - Thursday marked the establishment of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit, also known as SPAK, with the first eight members swearing in during the day before President Ilir Meta. 

It is expected that the High Prosecutorial Council will also decide on the future head of this structure, which, together with the Special Court, will have as its object scrutinizing the work of senior officials, corruption and organized crime. The appointment of members of the Special Court were concluded yesterday by the High Judicial Council, with five members on the Appeals, and 13 interim judges in the first instance courts.

The selection of SPAK members was made after the candidates underwent the re-evaluation process. They have also agreed that their bank accounts and their electronic and telephone communications should be subject to periodic audits without the need for prior authorization, as is normally the case. Close relatives, children and spouse, or others living with them for a specified period of time will have to undergo the same procedure. 

These rules are also valid for members of the Special Court. 

With the establishment of the Special Prosecutor's Office and the Court of Justice, the path to the creation of the National Bureau of Investigation, which will operate according to the American FBI model, is opening.

Welcoming the establishment of the SPAK, the US Embassy in Tirana emphasized that "as of today, Albania has a body of prosecutors committed to identifying, investigating and bringing to justice past or current officials and crime bosses - individuals who have been previously considered as untouchable." 

In its statement, the US embassy reaffirmed its support for the new investigation structure. 

"As Albania embarks on a new phase of its democratic and legal development, the United States will remain an unwavering partner in support of the SPAK and all those who seek to end impunity and bring justice for the Albanian people."

The Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Tirana, Luigi Soreca, also welcomed the eight judges' oath. 

"They are now ready to start work," Ambassador Soreca wrote in a Twitter post referring to "another milestone in the implementation of the justice reform. Fighting corruption and organized crime is a top priority for Albania on its path to EU membership." 

The Democratic Party also welcomed the establishment of SPAK. 

"Starting work immediately and punishing organized crime and corruption must be done professionally, impartially and firmly. The DP, which has adopted the law on the establishment of the SPAK and the National Bureau of Investigation, is willing to give confidence and not judge any of the prosecutors within this structure, despite some of their decisions in the past," the opposition's statement underlines. 

"It is time for prosecutors to rise to the task and meet the expectations of Albanian citizens to end impunity for organized crime, promoters of criminal in politics and corrupt officials. Albania has a new and real chance to fight organized crime and corruption at the highest levels, from government-backed criminals to politicians and senior officials," the DP statement said, while thanking the US for its support in setting up this structure.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 20, 2019 10:08