On 15 July 2021 EURALIUS organized a certificate awarding event for the HJI staff who have contributed in several joint activities during 2021. The Team Leader of EURALIUS Dr. Agnes Bernhard highlighted the fruitful cooperation between EURALIUS and the HJI and awarded those staff member who had engaged as trainers in EURALIUS training activities respectively have contributed as co-authors to the Manual on Disciplinary Investigation recognition certificates.
On 7 July 2021, EURALIUS organized and moderated a Round Table for the High Justice Inspector, High Judicial Council and High Prosecutorial Council. The objective of the Round Table was to provide a platform to the institutions competent for the disciplinary liability of magistrates to discuss issues of common concern, establish a common understanding on the uniform interpretation of the law and ensure uniform standards. This event also aimed to kick off the establishment of institutionalized cooperation mechanism, facilitate fruitful discussions and raise awareness of common challenges, questions and concerns.
The participants urged EURALIUS to follow up this good initiative and identified further topics to be discussed in upcoming events, which are envisaged for September.
EURALIUS attended and contributed to the Workshop organized by the HJI with all staff members for discussing the Draft internal regulation of the High Justice Inspector. Thus every staff member and all organisational units had the possibility to contribute to the regulatory framework.
The workshop was concluded with an agreement on the issues that shall still be addressed in order to finalize this fundamental act of the institution. OPDAT also attended the Workshop.
EURALIUS congratulates the HJI for the participatory approach, the high quality of the product and is confident that this will boost the well-functioning of the institution.
EURALIUS continued the collaboration with the Directorate General of Codification and Harmonisation of Legislation to deliver a series of specialisation trainings for the staff of the Directorate, focusing on hands-on presentation and discussion of topics of interest for the process of drafting and approximation of legislation.
Continuing from the previous topics, EURALIUS organized the training on Interpretation of national law on 2 June 2021, which introduced the participants with the formal rules for the interpretation of legislation and the specifics in legislative technique and interpretation in fiscal and budgetary legislation, followed on practical exercises of implementing the different methods.
On 25 June 2021 EURALIUS participated in a workshop organized by OPDAT and the High Prosecutorial Council on the Code of Ethics of Prosecutors. The Code of Ethics is an important instrument to uphold the ethical and professional standards as emanating from the justice reform laws. The participants discussed intensively several aspects of the draft Code of Ethics and agreed on the necessary steps needed to finalize and approve this fundamental act.
EURALIUS continues to assist the High Judicial Council (HJC) to the increase of efficiency in first instance courts. To this end, EURALIUS in cooperation with Tirana District Court (Civil Chamber) is piloting activities regarding execution orders and the standardization of judicial administration activities in the preliminary phase.
On 10 and 11 June 2021, EURALIUS facilitated a two-days ‘Workshop on the Performance Evaluation of Prosecutor for the High Prosecutorial Council. The main object of the Workshop was the finalization of the Regulation on the Performance Evaluation of Prosecutors.
EURALIUS in collaboration with the Directorate General of Codification and Harmonisation of Legislation is delivering a series of specialisation trainings for the staff of the Directorate, which focus on the following topics:
- Constitutionality Checking – Constitutional Court Case Law
- Legislative Technique
- Interpretation of national law, with focus on fiscal law
- Interpretation of EU law
- Sublegal and other Administrative Acts
- Constitutionality Checking – Fundamental Rights
- Compliance of National Law with International Agreements
EURALIUS in cooperation with the High Justice Inspector (HJI), elaborated and published a Manual on Disciplinary Investigations against Judges and Prosecutors. It is a joint product of EURALIUS and of the HJI, a long attended and advantageous tool.
The Manual is a comprehensive instrument designed to facilitate the challenging work of the HJI during disciplinary investigation of alleged misconducts of judges, prosecutors and members of the Councils.
EURALIUS and the High Justice Inspector (HJI) organized a two day capacity and team building retreat on 20 and 21 May 2021 in Korca. Representatives of OPDAT also participated.
The scope of the training was the elaboration of a Methodology for Thematic and Institutional Inspections. The training included presentations and discussions on:
- Legal Framework for thematic and institutional inspections of Courts and Prosecution Offices
- Lessons learned from inspections of predecessor inspection services in Albania
- Best practices and international standards on thematic and institutional inspections
- Proposals for the scope of concrete thematic and institutional inspections
EURALIUS, an EU funded project has completed the setup of the required equipment for remote hearings for SPAK Court of First Instance. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the press as well as general public are not able to participate in court hearings. As such SPAK Court of First instance is currently facing issues in handling a significant number of enquires received from members of the press.
A respective Normative Act provides the necessary legal foundation for remote hearings.
The next set of trainings on disciplinary investigations with the Office of the High Justice Inspector
On 15 and 16 April 2021 EURALIUS, in cooperation with the Office of the High Justice Inspector (HJI), organized further training sessions for inspectors, legal advisers and legal assistants.
These activities aimed at establishing common standards in the preparatory phase of the disciplinary investigation and after opening the investigation. The training was the opportunity to exchange views regarding the interpretation and implementation of the legal provisions and to agree on the joint approaches and on lines of action.
Based on the findings and conclusions of both training sessions the HJI will formalize the agreed standards which shall be followed by all members of the HJI staff.
On 12-13 April 2021 EURALIUS in cooperation with the School of Magistrates, Italian Project CSM/AICS and PAMECA V organized two days online training on sequestration and confiscation of assets under the Anti-Mafia Law. At the training were held presentations on the international practices and on the Albanian case law such as: International Conventions on sequestration and confiscation of assets of anti-corruption and other criminal offenses; Operational models and Investigative strategies concerning asset investigations and non-conviction-based confiscation: Practical Case studies according to the Italian Experience and Sequestration and confiscation of assets under the Albanian Anti-Mafia Law and problems of the case law. This training served to share national and international experience on sequestration and confiscation of assets and discussed measures as a tool to combat organized crime. Training was attended by circa 30 magistrates who participated lively in the discussions and showed high interest for the topic.
Training on terrorism, criminal offences in the field of terrorism and connections with organized crime
On 11 March 2021 EURALIUS in cooperation with the School of Magistrates, the PAMECA V Project and the Italian Project CSM/AICS organized one day online training on Terrorism Criminal offenses in the field of terrorism and connection with organized crime. At this training the Judge at the International Criminal Court delivered a presentation on International Terrorism in practice: Criminological patterns and legal models. While, Expert from the Italian State Police, introduced Italian approach and experience in the link between terrorism and organised crime. Classification of terrorist groups, their profiles and criminal background, features of terrorist groups in Italy, and their evolution were some of the issues introduced to the target group. He also described the responsible law enforcement institutions and dedicated structures involved in the fight against terrorism in Italy. The training was attended by about 20 judges and prosecutors of general jurisdiction and Special Prosecution and Court against Corruption and Organised Crime, who were involved in lively and professional discussions.
Training on Proactive investigation in the fight against corruption, financial crime and public procurement
On 23-24 March 2021 EURALIUS in cooperation with the SoM, Italian Project CSM/AICS and PAMECA V organized two days online training on Proactive investigation in the fight against corruption, financial crime, and public procurement. At the training EURALIUS STE Expert, presented a concrete case of high-level corruption, ‘Fimi Media case’. The presentation focused on manners of proactively starting the investigation of a high-level corruption case and the investigation of misuse of public procurement in financial crime. While, the PAMECA V Expert, presented an overview of new investigation tools against offences related to public administration, proactive investigations techniques, role and duties of undercover agents, and Italian whistleblowing system compared to Albanian system. This training served to share national and international experience in conducting efficient and independent investigations by applying various new investigation techniques and concrete tools and methodologies to improve international cooperation and institutional coordination among law enforcement agencies. Training was attended by 25 magistrates who participated lively in the discussions and showed high interest especially for investigation techniques and methodologies used in EU countries and were eager to be acquainted with the jurisprudence of the ECHR on special investigation techniques introduced by Experts.
On 24 March, an inauguration ceremony was held in the premises of the High Court in honour of the four newly appointed members of the courts, Judges Sokol Binaj, Albana Boksi, Sander Simoni and Klodian Kurushi.
EURALIUS representatives were invited in this event and expressed the willingness of the project to continue supporting the efficient organisation and performance of the High Court.
EURALIUS has been supporting the High Court and the other beneficiaries in the elaboration of the recently adopted amendments to the Procedural Codes as well as Status Law and Judicial Power Law with the aim of harmonising and simplifying the procedures of adjudication at the High Court, in view of ensuring an expedient delivery of justice, while safeguarding a robust and transparent process.
EURALIUS in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Free Legal Aid Directorate have elaborated a Legal Aid Manual, which aims at supporting practitioners in the application of the legislative framework governing legal aid.
The Manual outlines all the procedural steps required to be undertaken in court proceedings in relation to legal aid. In addition, the manual addresses common questions of application as well as questions relating to the appointment of advocates once secondary legal aid was granted.
On 18 March 2021, EURALIUS in cooperation with the School of Magistrates concluded the cycle of online trainings with a final training on the novelties of the Law on State Guaranteed Legal Aid.
EURALIUS experts, Judge Thomas Traar and Dr Arta Vorpsi, and Ms Ersida Sefa from the School of Magistrates, provided a presentation of the institutions delivering legal aid, criteria for granting legal aid and international standards and practices. The training took a practical approach and included a presentation of the new Legal Aid Manual elaborated with the assistance of EURALIUS.
On 24 February 2021, EURALIUS, in cooperation with the High Justice Inspector (HJI), kicked off a series of training sessions for the newly appointed inspectors with the aim to introduce the inspectors into the disciplinary system for judges, prosecutors and members of the Councils, as foreseen in the national legal framework in the light of European standards. The training took a very practical and hands-on approach and was highly appreciated by the participants, who considered this an important tool to a unified application of provisions and standardization of practices.
EURALIUS is currently assisting the MoJ in regard to the elaboration of the Cross-Sector Justice Strategy 2021-2021 and its Action Plan.
EURALIUS assisted the MoJ in the finalization of the Action Plan for each Specific Objectives contained in the CSJS II, will need to be uploaded in the IPSIS system as required by the Government of Albania. The IPSIS systems provides a comprehensive planning and monitoring framework within which all major government planning and financial policies and processes work coherently, efficiently, and integrated.
Since IPSIS was recently updated, the MoJ asked for support in organizing a two-day training on the use of the IPSIS system. The office of the Prime Minister developed a dedicated test space for the IPSIS system which had allowed the users to practice in accordance with the respective training and module. The training was held on 28 January and 1 February 2021 with the participation of the staff of the Directorate of Policies and Strategies in the Field of Justice of the MoJ as well as a representative of the Office of the Prime Minister.
In the upcoming week, EURALIUS will assist the MoJ with regards the insertion of data for one (1) Action Plan as well as review the process for the remaining Action Plans.
EURALIUS is currently assisting the Albanian High Judicial Council (HJC) in regard to the increase of efficiency in first instance courts. To this end, EURALIUS in cooperation with HJC developed several activities to be piloted in the coming months in the Tirana District Court and Lezha District Court.
On 27 January 2021 a Kick- Off meeting was held with the participation of EURALIUS experts, members of the permanent Commission of the HJC for Strategic Planning, Administration and Budget as well as representatives of the piloted courts.
The activities will focus on problems that judges of the first instance face in regard to the execution orders, standardisation of judicial administration activities in civil matters and successful execution of notifications to the parties.
EURALIUS, an EU funded project, has responded to the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic by promoting and providing the necessary equipment to courts and guidance to stakeholders for remote hearings through the use of video technology.
A respective Normative Act provides the necessary legal foundation.
The Lezha Court, one of the first courts equipped with the video technology by EURALIUS, has demonstrated a willingness to adapt to the new ways of working.
In the period covering April –November 2020, the Lezha court has carried out 420 remote hearings.
EURALIUS is in the process of providing the technology to facilitate such hearings in all Albanian Courts. The approaches to remote hearings emphasize the importance of remaining committed to efficiency, accessibility, and transparency for all parties involved when incorporating technology in the court system, both in the context of the current emergency and beyond.
On 10 November 2020, EURALIUS in collaboration with the Italian Project AICS/CSM delivered an online training for the administrative staff of the School of Magistrates on Strategic Time Management. During the training participants showed high interest on the topic and lively participated in the discussion. Training was attended by all administrative staff of the School of Magistrates. This is the fourth training delivered in the framework of increasing the capacities of the administrative staff of the School of Magistrates.
Training for incumbent chancellors of prosecution offices on ‘Management of Prosecution Offices - Responsibilities and cooperation between the chief prosecutor and the chancellor’
On 19 - 20 November 2020, EURALIUS in collaboration with the School of Magistrates organized two days online training for incumbent chancellors of prosecution offices on ‘Management of Prosecution Offices - Responsibilities and cooperation between the chief prosecutor and the chancellor’. During the first day of the online training were discussed topics on management of prosecution offices by emphasizing EU and International standards in such regard. While, on the second day the focus of discussions was on cooperation chief prosecutor-chancellor. Participants brought examples of their daily tasks and discussed options to increase work efficiency by better defining the responsibilities of chief prosecutors and chancellors regarding administration of a prosecution office. In addition, this training served as a panel of discussing the needs for initial and continuous training for chancellors of prosecution offices and reflecting these needs in the modules of the curricula for chancellors of prosecution offices.