Albania Condemned for Violating Right to Fair Trial

On April 20 the European Court of Human Rights condemned Albania for having violated the right to a fair trial and the prohibition against torture in the case Lika and Laska vs Albania.

“This is a great success for our work for rule of law in Albania”, says Marie Månson, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

The applicants, Vladimir Laska and Artur Lika, currently serving their prison sentences for armed robbery and illegal possession of weapons, were beaten by the police during the investigation of the crime. At the trial their right to public defenders was not respected by the Albanian court. The European Court has ruled the Albanian government to pay 4 800 Euros each in compensation to Vladimir Laska and Arthur Lika.

The European Court of Human Rights commanded a retrial or reopening of the case, if requested by the applicants or their legal representatives. However, the Albanian criminal judicial system does not provide for the possibility to reexamine cases, including reopening of proceedings. This is de facto a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights as Albania, like all Council of Europe states parties to the Convention, is obliged to organize its judicial system in such a way that its courts meet the requirements of the convention.

The case Lika and Laska vs Albania was brought to the European Court of Human Rights by the Albanian Helsinki Committee in cooperation with Civil Rights Defenders.

Read press release from the European Court of Human Rights here.