The Impact of the Integration Process on the Right to a Fair Trial in Albania
University of Tirana, Albania
The impact of the Integration Process on the Human Rights protection in Albania
This paper aims to analyse the influence of the integration process on the protection of Human Rights in Albania, the enforcement of the secondary level legislation due to the conditionality policy of the EU and especially the right to a fair trial and the ill-treatment of the persons in pre-trial detention.
The paper considers the progress report of the European Commission from 2010 till 2018, the secondary legal frame, a series of cases decided by the ECtHR and the role of the EU regarding the prevention of ill-treatment and the right to a fair trial. For the purpose of this paper cases such as Laska and Lika v. Albania, Kaciu and Kotorri v. Albania, Grori v. Albania etc. will be analysed and explained.
Although, the adequate legal framework to guarantee the promotion and enforcement of human rights, the legislation is not enforced especially in the field of prevention of torture and ill-treatment of the prisoners. In 2012, 2014, and 2016 Progress Reports, the main concern remains the delay toward the application of judgements of the European Court of Human Rights, with particular regard to the judicial proceedings and the right to a fair trial and the prevention of torture and ill-treatment of the persons in custody.
According to the 2018 Progress Report, the legal framework on the protection of human rights is broadly in line with European standards, but the implementation of relevant strategies and legislation is limited and the enforcement of human rights protection mechanisms remain insufficient. Finally, in Albania the main problem is the protection of human rights in practice, especially the right to a fair trial due also to long terms and in some cases the impossibility to access justice.
The End of Enlargement? The EU’s Struggle with the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries
KU Leuven, Belgium
EU Enlargement did not play a major role in the 2014-2019 Juncker Commission. Also during the 2019 election campaign, the countries of the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership were everything but the focus of attention. Brussels, however, is increasingly aware that something needs to be done, given the growing influence of Russia, China, Turkey and other foreign powers in these regions. Moreover, the ambition of the new European Commission to be ‘geopolitical’ rises the expectations about future enlargement and deepening relations with countries that have no clear enlargement perspective but want to be part of the EU’s sphere. In the meantime, the new accession methodology has been proposed by Macron, focusing on negative consequences´ and ´reversibility´, however, it has not yet been translated into the Commission´s new strategy and striking balance between so-called enlargement skeptics and bold supporters of EU enlargement will be essential.
This paper will reflect upon the issue of enlargement, comparing the track record of the Juncker Commission (“no enlargement before 2025”, its 2018 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy) with the hopes of being fostered by the Wsvon der Leyen Commission. It will discuss the prospects of the different countries involved, including the deferral to start negations with Albania and North Macedonia after the veto of the French in the autumn of 2019.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Fictitious Statistics: Victimhood Denial and History Rewriting in Republika Srpska
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Denial of victimhood, war crimes and atrocities has many objectives and is utilised by a variety of actors in post-war societies. It can be used to create a new national identity or community, justify political decisions and legitimise rulers. It can also be used to denigrate opponents and harness public support for particular issues. The institutionalised denial that has developed in the smaller entity of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), Republika Srpska (RS), has passed through several stages. From what Stanley Cohen (2013) calls ‘interpretive denial’ of the RS authorities that have belittled the committed war crimes, to the current ‘literal denial’ of atrocities (i.e. that they ever happened), the approach of the leading RS figures– especially Milorad Dodik – has been to gradually undermine validity of internationally established facts and forensic evidence. This strategy consists of presenting different statistics about war victims, the creation of alternative ‘truth commissions’, institutions for the investigation of war crimes committed on the Serb population, verification institutes for missing persons, all established or used with the aim to present new ‘facts’ but in fact falsifying the historical record that has been ascertained. Sanctioned by the RS leadership, these organisations have also obtained high support from RS victim and veteran associations that have been mobilised to protect the existence of RS and provide evidence that both international and domestic truth- and justice-seeking efforts have been biased, fallacious and fictitious. This paper will first document the development of these efforts in RS within the wider political context of BiH, analyse the various tools used in the RS institutions of denial (such as presenting problematic statistics) and open questions about the role of such a pervasive institutionalised denial in post-war countries beyond BiH.
East Meets West: The Contemporary Origins Of Tensions Between Eastern And Western EU Member States And Their Implications for European Integration Dynamics
Maastricht University, Netherlands, The
The growing tensions between old and new Europe have revealed that many of the European Union’s (EU) challenges are, in fact, domestic in nature. In this respect, the recent illiberal turn and democratic backsliding processes affecting Central and Eastern European members (CEECs) (Dawson & Hanley, 2016; Kelemen & Blauberger, 2017) have surprised Brussels based policy-makers. This was in spite of evidence of deteriorating quality of government in CEECs and the ambivalent performance of EU policies in the area (Papadimitriou, Baltag, & Surubaru, 2017). This paper addresses the sources of East-West divisions within the EU addressing the following core questions: What are the contemporary origins of conflict between Eastern and Western EU member states? How do these tensions affect the dynamics of European integration? The paper adopts a comparative and a case study design, covering empirical evidence from three specific areas: a) rule of law – examining the tensions between a Brussels designed blueprint, the national variations in terms of rule of law and issues of compliance (Mendelski, 2015; Closa & Kochenov, 2016); b) migration – looking at the political conflicts generated by the refugee crisis in the summers of 2014/15/16 and the rejection of an EU wide quota system, and its consequences for relations between Visegrad countries and Brussels; c) cohesion – untangling evidence on the extent to which the distribution and management of EU funds, and the recent conditionalities attached to the EU budget, can soften or deepen such divisions (Surubaru, 2017). The paper draws on an analysis of primary and secondary sources and interviews with key East-West stakeholders. A priori, it is argued that tensions have affected the dynamics between EU Member States and is shaping ongoing developments in European integration. Finally, yet importantly, tensions are currently reported and analysed from a Western political and epistemological position. There is little knowledge of the “Eastern” understandings of these divides, a gap that will be addressed in this paper.