No violations in the vetting process have been found by the European Court of Human Rights with regard to the case of the dismissal of Albania’s Constitutional Court judge, Altina Xhoxhaj, according to an announcement released by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
Xhoxhaj was dismissed in 2018 failing the vetting process and the ruling predicted her expulsion from the justice system for a 15-year period because of problems with wealth and professional skills.
Vetting proceedings leading to dismissal of Constitutional Court judge were fair and dismissal proportionate, said the press release issued by the Registrar of the Court which reads as following:
“In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Xhoxhaj v. Albania (application no. 15227/19) the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been: by a majority of 6 to 1, no violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights as regards the alleged lack of independence and impartiality of the vetting bodies, by a majority of 5 to 2, no violation of Article 6 § 1 as regards the alleged unfairness of the proceedings, by a majority of 5 to 2, no violation of Article 6 § 1 as regards the alleged lack of a public hearing before the Appeal Chamber, by a majority of 5 to 2, no violation of Article 6 § 1 as regards the alleged breach of the principle of legal certainty, and by a majority of 5 to 2 no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life).
The case concerned a Constitutional Court judge who had been dismissed from office following the outcome of proceedings commenced in relation to her, as part of an exceptional process for the reevaluation of suitability for office of all judges and prosecutors in the country, otherwise known as the vetting process. The applicant’s case was examined by the vetting bodies and her dismissal was confirmed in private by the Appeal Chamber.
The Court found in particular that there had been no violation of Article 6 § 1 as the vetting bodies had been independent and impartial, the proceedings had been fair, holding a public hearing before the Appeal Chamber had not been strictly required, and the principle of legal certainty had not been breached.
The Court furthermore considered that the dismissal from office had been proportionate and that the statutory lifetime ban imposed on the applicant on rejoining the justice system on the grounds of serious ethical violations had been consistent with ensuring the integrity of judicial office and public trust in the justice system, and thus had not breached her rights under Article 8.”
Being among the first to react was the US Ambassador to Tirana, Yuri Kim declaring that Xhoxhaj’s dismissal was fair and proportionate.
“ECHR Judgement: Xhoxhaj v. Albania – Vetting proceedings leading to dismissal of Constitutional Court judge were fair and dismissal proportionate,” said the US Ambassador in her note posted on Twitter on Tuesday. /argumentum.al