Albania loses two European Court of Human Rights cases

Petrit Bara and Eduard Kola filed separate suits with the ECHR against the Albanian government in 2019 and 2019 respectively.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in favour of two people who sued the Albanian government for significantly and unreasonably delaying their court cases.

Petrit Bara and Eduard Kola filed separate suits with the ECHR against the Albanian government in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The former’s case related to his attempt to overturn a decision of the Faculty of Medicine to elect someone else as dean. The latter was regarding a decision that sentenced him to life imprisonment for premeditated murder.

On Tuesday, the ECHR ruled in favour of both applicants, awarding the Albanian government to pay €4,700 to each individual. The court stated the Albanian courts had violated article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which entitles everyone to a fair and public hearing “within a reasonable time”.

The judging panel argued that significant delays were unacceptable, despite “the context of the far-reaching reform of the justice system.”

Albania is currently five years into an EU-led justice reform that has seen over half of serving judicial staff resign or be fired and led to the country’s High Court and Constitutional Court not functioning for several years.

While both courts are now in session again, Albania’s High Court had a backlog of 36,609 cases as of February 2021.

(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)

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