TIRANA – All prosecutors, including Attorney General and members of Constitutional Court, will be subjected to the Vetting, this is what Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, chairman of International Monitoring Operation (IMO) said in an interview with Deutche Welle.
“I am very pleased that the vetting operations have started and in tandem with the progress in five key priorities, they will open the door to the next step Albania is about to take in the process of European accession. I would not prefer to say when this will happen: next spring or summer because it depends on the progress in the vetting process and 5 priority areas. However, I look forward to seeing progress in the context of vetting so that it will work well to demonstrate that it is being carried out and up to the highest possible standards,” she said.
Calavera added that vetting is an important process that requires in-depth assessment of each judge and prosecutor. Speaking about duration of the process, she said that it will depend on the concrete cases at hand.
“There may be simple cases, complicated in terms of access to information, there will be hearings as the people have the right to express themselves, they will be given the opportunity to present evidence. For us, it is not necessarily important to complete the process of vetting before Albania moves on to the next stage in EU accession process. For us, it is important that the vetting process is carried out properly,” Calavera said.
According to her, general prosecutor and Constitutional Court members will be vetted either.
“We hope that at the end of the process we will be capable of identifying the judges and prosecutors linked with organized crime. The process in itself intends to scan them and purge them from the justice system. The vetting will not put them in jail, instead the vetting will result in launching investigations and bringing charges against them. My role is to make sure that vetting, scanning will be unbiased and independent from political interventions,” she said.
Speaking about the impact of vetting on justice system, Calavera said that once this process is over, there will be a new judiciary in place, the judges will have high professional standards without covert agreements with organized crime or without being swayed by politicians.
Calavera went on saying that the head of EU Delegation in Tirana has been the subject of a defamation campaign.
“The head of EU delegation in Tirana has been the subject of a defamation and smear campaign, of unfounded allegations. I am realistic that vetting will affect the financial interests of individuals who have unfairly become rich and will not be a smooth process. I expect false news, half-truths, defamation campaigns and attacks on me. But, I am prepared to stand up to them,” she explained.
She also added that the vetting is a process that needs to be shielded, it is not a show.
“Vetting institutions need to be protected to do their job. I am very confident that the international judges we have are capable to provide their assistance. Their role is to be independent observers, but they can give very good advice on how to do things based on rich expertise. They are high-level judges, very committed to Albania and I strongly believe that time is ripe for them to do their job,” said Calavera.
However, she stated that she is not naive about the upcoming difficulties they will deal with while getting through the process.
“Yet, we will try to do our best so that our assistance in monitoring the process will be up to the highest standards. Albanians deserve this process,” Genoveva Ruiz Calavera said.