Vacancies at the High Court, High Judicial Council concerned over the low number of candidates

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The appointment of four special judges at the High Court has drained the First Instance and Appellate Court against Corruption and Organized Crime.

The situation was already aggravated by the discharges that ensued from the vetting process, while others resigned prior to undergoing the entire process.

This is also being admitted by the High Judicial Council, with the institution telling Euronews Albania that it has undertaken all the necessary steps for the court to function.

Out of the total of 27 judges required for courts dealing with high-level corruption and organized crime cases, there are currently only 9 judges, 5 at the First Instance Court and 4 at the Court of Appeal.

By April, another two judges are expected to join the Special Court of Appeal for Corruption and Organized Crime, confirmed the High Judicial Council for Euronews Albania, as well as one judge that will join the First Instance Court, while the other candidate failed at the vetting, despite a request to treat the case with priority.

For cases that have exceeded the deadlines prescribed by the law, the High Judicial Council has delegated regional judges to avoid collapse, meanwhile there is no interest whatsoever for the vacant posts.

Although becoming a special judge is ranked at the top of the judicial hierarchy, reflected also in their salaries, it appears that judges are afraid to take over and rule files investigated by SPAK.

Alike special prosecutors, the judges of the Special Court Against Corruption must agree to be surveilled, including their family members, in addition to periodic reviews of their bank accounts.

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