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Neither Fair, Nor Independent

The OSCE released a new report on the state of Albania's criminal justice system on Friday. The full report runs to nearly 250 pages, but the summary of the findings are hardly encouraging:
The Albanian justice system has undergone radical changes and a significant improvement during the past decade or so. The present analysis, however, indicates that there is a need for further improvement in order to create a stable and transparent justice system based on the rule of law. As will be seen in both the case studies chapter and in the other chapters in this report, the legal rules are frequently not respected or are abused in order to achieve “desired” – but not necessary lawful – results. As a consequence, the rights and freedoms of individuals are frequently violated, and an impression of a justice system that is neither fair, nor independent, is created.
I think this comes under the category of 'damned with faint praise'.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that a forthcoming report by the European Commission will suggest that the countries of the Western Balkans should not expect to join the EU any time soon. The slow pace of reform and 'enlargement fatigue' among existing members mean that accession is many years away. According the the BBC the Commission is advising the EU not to set target dates for potential new members.

Once the report is published I will try to post a link to it.


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Welcome to Our Man in Tirana. I moved to Tirana, capital of Albania, in October 2005 and left in October 2007. This blog is a mix of photographs, reports, links, impressions and, undoubtedly, prejudices relating to the city and the country.

Since I am no longer in Tirana I am no longer updating this blog. However, there are over 300 posts covering this two year period and I hope that they are still of some interest.

So if you are curious about Albania or if you are planning to visit I hope this blog will be of value.

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On Saturday, we were at the Rogner meeting with an expat friend who was leaving Tirana. It was breakfast time, and as our friend was finishing his tea the breakfast room started to fill up with over-dressed (or under-dressed) young women wearing blue sashes. These were the contestants for the Miss Globe 2007 beauty pageant being held in Tirana tonight at the Palace of Congresses. High heel boots and mini-skirts - or in a couple of cases micro-skirts, or possibly just belts - have never struck me as obvious breakfast attire, but the girls seemed happy enough tottering and wobbling around with their tea and toast. I'm not sure why they were wearing their sashes - perhaps in case they forgot which country they came from.
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