The EU ambassador to Tirana has congratulated Albania’s parliament for electing a new Prosecutor General, seeing it as a major step forward in the battle to fight high-level corruption and organised crime.
BY GJERGJ EREBARA/ The European Union congratulated Albanian MPs after they elected Olsian Cela to be the country’s new Prosecutor General on Thursday by a huge majority.
Cela secured 101 of the 140 votes of MPs in parliament. He was elected almost two years after the country started sweeping justice reforms intended to fight corruption and organised crime.
Cela is the first Prosecutor General elected on the basis of these reforms, which aim to make prosecutorial service more politically independent and empower it to fight corruption at all levels.
The European Union has put strong pressure on Albania to do more to curb crime and corruption if it wants to advance towards closer integration and eventual membership, and the EU ambassador to Tirana, Luigi Soreca, welcomed the news of the appointment.
Cela, 42, started his career in the Albanian justice system in 2002 after graduating from the magistrates’ school. He became a prosecutor in the Serious Crime Unit in 2004.
His seven-year mandate will be largely limited to administrative tasks, as each prosecutor will be independent in his or her procedural decisions.
However, during his interview for the job, Cela promised to work “to protect citizens from the violence of the state” and criticized a recent government tendency to harshen the penal code, considering it counter-productive.
Albania adopted its massive justice reform programme in 2016, hoping to get rid of corrupt or inept judges and prosecutors and create a new institutional framework able to confront corruption among politicians and high-level officials.
However, the transition to the new system had resulted in difficulties. Many institutions have taken longer than expected to be established or replenished, including the Constitutional Court, which lost all of its original members and is currently not operational.(-Balkaninsight)