Composition
The constitutional Court is composed of nine members, appointed for a nine-year term, without the right of being reelected. The constitutional judges are appointed by the President of the Republic [...]
Informations

History

The beginning of the nineties saw democratic change s, which marked a radical turning-point in the history of the Albanian State and its institutions. A far-reaching reform was required to transform Albania into a functioning democratic State. This reform was intended to pave the way for real democratic transformation allowing the establishment of the rule of law and ensuring respect for human rights. The underlying principles guiding these democratic changes were first laid down in Law no. 7491, dated 29 April 1991, ‘On the main provisions of the Constitution,’ to be followed by Law no. 7561, dated 29 April 1992, ‘On several changes and additions to Law no. 7491, dated 29 April 1991, “On the main provisions of the Constitution”.’

These changes included the establishment of the Constitutional Court intended as one of the main institutions with a role to play in ensuring the emerging constitutional order in Albania. Right away, the legislator projected the said institution as the highest authority vested with the power to ensure observance of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, and definitely and strictly construe it. Having regard to the constitutional basis, the Constitutional Court was composed of 9 members, of which 5 were elected by the Parliament and 4 appointed by the President of the Republic. The judges elected the President of the Constitutional Court in a secret ballot. The afore-mentioned law also provided for the constitutional judges’ status, authorities and attributes. It also prescribed the entities entitled to put the Constitutional Court into motion, and the binding force of its decisions.

The first members of the Constitutional Court included Manol Konomi, Feti Gjilani, Hilmi Dakli, Rustem Gjata, Franc Jakova, Veli Budo, Thimjo Kondi, Natasha Sheshi, and Ylvi Myrtja. Rustem Gjata was elected President of the Constitutional Court for a 3-year period, and his term of office was renewed in 1995.

Changes in the composition of the Constitutional Court included meeting the articling requirements set by the constitutional law that members’ term be renewed. Other occurrences included the resignation by a number of the members, and decease before the expiry of a judge’s term of office. Hence, appointed constitutional judges Alfred Karamuço, Zija Vuci, and Metush Saraçi filled the vacancies created by the resignation of Thimjo Kondi, Natasha Sheshi and Ylvi Myrtja. Likewise, newly appointed judges Kristofor Peçi and Halil Kopani filled the vacancies created by Metush Saraçi’ departure and Feti Gjilani’s decease. In March and April 1998, respectively, Kujtim Puto was appointed as judge by the President of the Republic, and Hajredin Fuga, Sokol Sadushi and Fehmi Abdiu, who filled the vacancies created by the departure of Manol Konomi, Rustem Gjata, Halil Kopani and Veli Budo, were elected by the Parliament. Fehmi Abdiu was elected President of the Constitutional Court. In November 1998, Franc Jakova resigned, and Bardha Selenica was appointed in his stead. Sabri Rrapi filled the vacancy created by Hilmi Dakli’s resignation. In April 2001, the term for judges Hajredin Fuga, Sabri Rrapi and Bardha Selenica ran out. The vacancies created were filled by Gjergj Sauli, Tefta Zaka and Petrit Plloçi. In 2002, Tefta Zaka stepped down, and Xhezair Zaganjori was appointed to fill the vacancy. In 2004, Zija Vuci’s term expired, and Vjollca Meçaj took office. The same year, Gjergj Sauli was appointed President of the Constitutional Court by the President of the Republic. In 2007, term for Vjollca Meçaj, Alfred Karamuço and Kristofor Peçi expired. The vacancies they created were filled by Vladimir Kristo, Sokol Berberi and Vitore Tusha.  This same year, the President of the Republic appointed Vladimir Kristo President of the Constitutional Court. In 2008, term of office of Gjergj Sauli expired and Admir Thanza was appointed to fill the vacancy created. In April 2010 expired the term of office of judges Kujtim Puto, Fehmi Abdiu and Sokol Sadushi. Bashkim Dedja, Altina Xhoxhaj and Fatmir Hoxha were appointed to fill the vacant seats. In May of the same year expired the term of office of judges Petrit Plloçi, Xhezair Zaganjori and Admir Thanza. This same year, the President of the Republic appointed Bashkim Dedja President of the Constitutional Court.
 
In April 2013, Gani Dizdari, Besnik Imeraj and Fatos Lulo were  appointed by the President of the Republic as members of the Constitutional Court. In October of the same year, Bashkim Dedja was reappointed by the President of the Republic as President of the Constitutional Court.

Renewed composition of the Constitutional Court has been made subject to controversy arising from different interpretation of the provisions of the constitutional law that governed the operation of this institution. However, its new constitutional and legal regulation led to clearing up of misunderstandings about this issue.

The Constitutional Court was established by constitutional Law no. 7561, dated 29 April 1992, ‘On several changes and additions to Law no. 7491, dated 29 April 1991, “On the main provisions of the Constitution”,’ in furtherance of which other acts regulating the  performance of the Constitutional Court had to be enacted. On 15 July 1998, the Parliament of Albania passed Law no. 8373, ‘On the organisation and function of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania,’ which provided the legal basis for issues concerning the Constitutional Court performance.

The new Constitution of the Republic of Albania took effect on 28 November 1998. It again sanctioned the important position of the Constitutional Court, also allowing changes in how its members are appointed, and in how the authorities and entities putting it into motion are defined. A Constitutional Court judge is appointed by the President of the Republic with the consent of the Parliament. The President of the Constitutional Court is appointed by the President of the Republic with the consent of the Parliament for a 3-year term, being entitled to the right of reappointment.

Pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, new legislation was enacted. Consequently, on 10 February 2000, the Parliament of the Republic of Albania adopted Law no. 8577, ‘On the organisation and function of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania,’ drafted with support  from the Venice Commission Democracy through Law. This law also described how best to file a request and conduct a preliminary review. It prescribed the adjudication procedures, and a judge’s status and time.

In a first period, the performance of the Constitutional Court was regulated by the main provisions of the Constitution, and in a second period, by the new Constitution of the Republic of Albania and the law on the Constitutional Court after they became effective. Whilst being involved in argumentation in favour or not of the constitutionality of the legal norms or normative acts regulating the central and local institutions, and the interpretation of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania and the constitutional principles governing a regular legal process, as early as its inception, the Constitutional Court has handed down a large variety of judgements. One of its most important determinations includes Decision-65/99, which considers the death penalty provided for in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Albania to be incompatible with the Constitution of the Republic of Albania.

Ever since 1992, when it was founded, an ever larger number of cases have been brought before the Constitutional Court to hear. The following data corroborate this:
- Total cases adjudicated in 1992…………………...121
- Total cases adjudicated in 1993...…………………13
- Total cases adjudicated in 1994...…………………11
- Total cases adjudicated in 1995...…………………16
- Total cases adjudicated in 1996…………………...46
- Total cases adjudicated in 1997…………………...62
- Total cases adjudicated in 1998…………………....79
- Total cases adjudicated in 1999…………………....67
- Total cases adjudicated in 2000……………………96
- Total cases adjudicated in 2001..…………………213
- Total cases adjudicated in 2002..…………………243
- Total cases adjudicated in 2003..…………………279
- Total cases adjudicated in 2004..…………………210
- Total cases adjudicated in 2005..…………………256
- Total cases adjudicated in 2006..…………………251
- Total cases adjudicated in 2007..…………………222
- Total cases adjudicated in 2008..…………………174
- Total cases adjudicated in 2009..…………………143
- Total cases adjudicated in 2010..…………………143
- Total cases adjudicated in 2011..…………………209
- Total cases adjudicated in 2012..…………………206
- Total cases adjudicated in 2013..…………………206

By declaring normative acts unconstitutional by virtue of the judgements it has handed down, the Constitutional Court has also made its impact felt across the public administration bodies, sending out the signal that they have to be more careful in issuing acts or norms, which, in any case, should comply with the Constitution of the Republic of Albania and the relevant legislation. In the course of the decision-making process, the Constitutional Court has been focused on firmly adhering to its position as an independent constitutional institution, away from external influence.

Year after year, the Constitutional Court, however, has succeeded in surmounting the difficulties and upgrading its modest performance, with this being exemplified by the emphasis placed on the fundamental constitutional principles governing the examination of decisions.

1 This list also includes cases, which have not been presented at a plenary session, but before a Judges’ Chamber.

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