In a cliché finale of the judiciary corruption drama, the Constitutional Court of Albania lost its “Head”, Xhevair Zaganjori, because, according to AP News, his “income did not account for properties he owned and his spending”.
The question: Where did he find the money for his properties and lavish lifestyle?
The answer is simple: He, like all the judges and prosecutors in Albania, have sold “justice”, the same way you can sell an apple.
Albania has no justice system right now. It has a judiciary that has metastasized corruption into every layer of Albanian society, but it has no justice, whatsoever.
Being an Albanian myself, the following declaration will sound self-defeating, but it is the reality and we all should resign to it and try to find a path to redemption for our nation’s soul: Albania as it is, doesn’t belong in the EU.
It is a country that adopted great dreams of democracy looking toward Europe for inspiration and ended up taking from it only the worst elements, such as prostitution, pimps, drugs and drug-dealers from the best practice of the Benelux countries, and the political corruption mainly with the adoption of know-how from Italy and Greece. 29 years of this mess have left Albania with deep handicaps. Albanians are good people, but a nation that considers corruption a tool to be used by anyone who can, has corrupted its soul and if there are any of my compatriots completely clean of corruption, I have never met them.
You can buy and sell anything in Albania, including justice. It is just a matter of price and the right “sales-person”. The vetting process, now on-going under the supervision of the international community, will remove nearly all judges and prosecutors, as they are corrupt, but the ones that will replace them will not come from Mars or Venus, they will be selected from the same chain of corruption, just from the low ranks of it. The lawyers that bribed the judges till now, will become judges themselves. They already know the system, and thinking pragmatically, they will focus on selective corruption to maximise profits and then get out of Albania like their predecessors did.
According to all sources, the vetting process is expected to remove more than 95% of the judicial body as corrupt, because their assets and lifestyle cannot be justified by their government salary. It means they have sold judicial verdicts for money or assets, wronging at least one side and denying justice.
With this logic, 95% of the verdicts given by this judicial body can be considered wrong and unjust. So, the following question is: How will justice be done for the victims of this corruption? There will not be any such thing as justice. Today’s judicial reform and vetting in Albania is just a juridical cast cleansing, and it has nothing to do with justice for the little man. It will be the same, soon enough, with the new cast that is about to be installed on the benches of the Albanian courts.
The political cast in Albania is made up of a few padrinos followed by a bunch of hopefuls, eager to get a bone when their party gets into power. Everything is for sale, so the fight is hard and ugly. The loss can be measured in money, corruption-enabled jobs, commercial favours and the promise of fiscal leniency.
Pjetër Arbnori, one of the longest political prisoners of the communist rule, turned politician after 1990 had a saying in 1998: “The Albanian political cast is like the droppings of a cow, split in two, left and right, by the wheel of the cart passing on top of it”.
The same people he was talking about 21 years ago are still the most prominent politicians in Albania. The latest one-party election of 30th of June is just the culmination of a soulless political Machiavellianism often sustained by small-minded political interests inside the European parliament, that have normalised the President of Albania. A caught-on-tape corrupted politician, a de-facto opposition leader accused directly and indirectly of 29 proven state killings, and a political majority based on trafficking and mafia-style rule, painted with a Guevarrian shade of populism.
The EU lottery
Albanians think of EU membership as a lottery jackpot. There is a widespread belief that everybody’s problems will disappear as soon as the EU opens the door for Albania’s membership. This political and practical delusion is kept alive by all political parties with the government leading the charge.
Every month the news covers another episode of the disappointment of not “winning” EU membership: Better luck next time!
The EU apparatus also joins in to spread this false hope of something miraculous happening the day Albania will be a member of EU. Treating Albanians like children has been the pass-time of all diplomats stationed in Tirana. These are the same people that have kept Albania in its democratic infancy by choosing to support the lesser political evil, forfeiting any chance to let Albanians choose their own fate.
Time for Refusal
The Netherlands’ refusal to grant Albania candidate status for the EU is right on the dot. Albania has no place in EU as it is, right now. There is no rule of law; no political stability; human and drug trafficking is high; there is no judiciary; political gangsters rule the day and most of Albanians have left or want to leave the country.
The wisest thing that the Albanian government can do right now is to abandon the EU membership process before our country and people have lost their soul and identity completely. Hoping to get EU membership by 2028 is not only cruel but also unrealistic. With all that is happening right now in Europe, nobody knows for sure what will happen (if it ever happens) in 2028. Realistically speaking Albania doesn’t need EU membership. We don’t have big industries to export, and the only thing we could export, people, we already are. We have beautiful mountains and seas, great gastronomy and the best hashish in the world. Adopting the banking system of Switzerland and the relaxed attitudes toward sex and drugs from the Netherlands will make Albania the greatest tourist destination in Europe.
The EU will finally find some peace from our politicians, and the Albanians will do what they have done best till now: Money laundering, prostitution and drug trafficking. At least we can collect tax on those, and with that money fix our country and regain our lost soul.