In 2002, petitioners A.Lika and V.Laska were sentenced by the Pukë judicial district court by 13 years of imprisonment each for the penal offences of armed robbery and of illegal possession of weapons, a decision upheld by the Shkodër court of appeals and the High Court. Based on the serious violations encountered during the adjudication of the case, in 2004, the case was submitted to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In April 2010, the Court of Strasbourg ruled that the right of the petitioners for a fair trial had been seriously violated by the Albanian judicial authorities and the re-adjudication of the case at the national level represented the sole effective means for the reinstatement of their violated rights. Pursuant to that decision, in November 2010, petitioners A.Lika and V.Laska, with support from the Albanian Helsinki Committee and the Soros Foundation approached the High Court for the direct execution of the Strasbourg Court ruling in the absence of legal provisions in the Penal Procedure Code.

Further on, in order to contribute professionally to the adjudication of this case, the initiators of the initiative sent for the first time to the High Court a Legal Opinion (Amicus Curia) with regard to the legal means provided for by the Albanian legal system for the reopening of the concluded penal process, following the finding by the Strasbourg Court of violations of the principle of due process and to enable the complete implementation and execution of the Court ruling.

Andi Dobrushi, Director of the Soros Foundation notes, “The High Court resolved the legal impasse created by the lack of relevant provisions in the Penal Procedure Code and, by means of this practice, opened the way for the review of penal cases on which the European Court of Human Rights has found violations of the relevant Convention.” The High Court ruling is in accordance with the assessment made by the representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office who participated in the meeting.

Vjollca Mecaj, Executive Director of AHC stresses the fact that, “The constitutional and legal reasoning for the resolution of this case demonstrated the sensibility of the judges and prosecutors vis-à-vis human rights.” Nevertheless, the solution provided by the High Court should not represent a reason for justifying incompliance of the Penal Procedure Code with the country’s Convention-related obligations, therefore, we call upon responsible institutions to carry out the necessary amendments to that end.

For further information on the case, please visit:
– Decision by the European Court of Human Rights
– Amicus Curia submitted
Tirana, April 5, 2012

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