The judicial vetting process in Albania on Wednesday claimed the scalp of Elizabeta Imeraj, chief prosecutor of Tirana – closing a case that was widely deemed a test of the Justice Reform process in the country.

Tirana Prosecutor Fired Under Albania’s Vetting Process

Former Tirana’s Chief Prosecutor Elizabeta Imeraj and her lawyer, Gregory Thuan Dit Dieudonne, in Tirana, April 27 2022. Photo: LSA

The Appeals Chamber of the Vetting Process in Albania announced on Wednesday that Tirana’s Chief Prosecutor, Elizabeta Imeraj, had been fired for causing loss of trust in the justice system and for having been unable to justify or explain her assets.

Imeraj told journalists she considered the firing unjust and said she plans to seek remedy at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg.

Her lawyer, Gregory Thuan Dit Dieudonne, called the firing “a sad day for Albania” and “proof that the [vetting] system has gone wrong.”

Imeraj was confirmed in post in July last year by the Independent Qualifying Commission, the first instance of Albania’s vetting process.

This process aims to vet judges and prosecutors found either in possession of unjustified wealth, or suspected of connections with organized crime groups, or of inadequate professional abilities.

Imeraj said her husband’s wealth was not her responsibility.

The International Monitoring Operation, IMO, a corpus of foreign judges and prosecutors engaged in supervising the vetting process, earlier accused her of tracking their movements, while the US Ambassador in Tirana, Yuri Kim, accused the Albanian media of not reporting honestly about the issue.

The Appeals Chamber’s decision is final and has immediate effect.

Before Wednesday’s decision, Albanian media published several stories that claimed she was being targeted because she was a “maloke” – a pejorative term for people coming from mountainous rural northern Albania.

Since the times of the Communist regime, which drew mostly on officials from southern Albania, people from northern Albania have tended to be looked down on.

Earlier this month, the EU’s Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement, on Twitter, slated what it called “unfounded allegations and disinformation directed against the vetting bodies and international monitoring operation”.

“This orchestrated campaign aims to create mistrust and undermine justice reform. EU strongly supports IMO International Observers and the vetting process,” it stated.

Hours before the decision, there were also claims that the decision to fire her was politically motivated.

Source link: