Shared Justice Meeting

Past event In person

Peace, Security & Defence
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Friends of Europe Shared Justice Meeting June 2024

What happened?

Over the past three decades, establishing a robust rule of law framework in the Western Balkans has proven challenging. Despite significant legal changes and the establishment of new institutions, concerns persist regarding political influence, corruption and inefficiency within the judicial systems of the region. As pressure mounts from both the EU and citizens for meaningful progress, Friends of Europe seeks to reshape the narrative surrounding justice reform.

This event was the inaugural Shared Justice Meeting, where current and former political leaders, academics and experts came together to tackle pressing questions:

  • Why is it crucial for the Western Balkans to engage in processes of justice reform?
  • What priorities should guide the drafting and implementation of justice reform initiatives?
  • What lessons can be gleaned from past reform efforts, and how can future approaches be improved?
  • How can the EU and the Western Balkans collaborate to foster a judicial culture rooted in independence, impartiality, and integrity?

This event marked the beginning of an inclusive dialogue aimed at amplifying diverse voices and setting the stage for future discussions. Participants had the opportunity to share insights, ideas and approaches, collectively shaping the direction of our shared journey towards a more just and resilient Western Balkans.

This event took place in Tirana, Albania. Follow us on TwitterLinkedIn or Instagram, and join the #BalkanJourney conversation!


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Schedule

Schedule

Welcome coffee and registration
Moving from reform and strategies to a shared justice mindset
Expand Moving from reform and strategies to a shared justice mindset

The Balkans have a rich yet complex history, with diverse cultures and a legacy of political and social challenges. In recent years, the region has seen significant efforts towards judicial reform aimed at ensuring fairness and transparency. However, to achieve lasting change, it is essential to move beyond mere strategies and embrace a shared justice mindset. This requires not only institutional reforms but also a fundamental shift in how society perceives and engages with justice. This session will delve into this vital topic, bringing together key stakeholders to explore innovative approaches for fostering a culture of justice and equality.

Key questions to address:

  • How can judicial reforms effectively change societal attitudes towards justice?
  • What role should civil society play in promoting a shared justice mindset?
  • How can political leaders support a cultural shift in the judiciary?
  • What are the best practices from other regions that can be applied to the Balkans?

Join us as we bring together politicians, judges, and civil society representatives to discuss the future of judicial reform in the Balkans. This event emphasises the need for a transformative approach that shifts the societal mindset towards shared justice. By fostering collaboration and mutual understanding, we aim to create a fair and equitable justice system.

With

Fjoralba Caka

Professor of EU Law at the University of Tirana, former Albanian deputy minister of justice and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Disa Jironet

Public Prosecutor at the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and 2024 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Tedi Dobi

Albanian Deputy Minister of Justice

Moderator

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Coffee break
Upholding judicial integrity: strategies against corruption and organized crime
Expand Upholding judicial integrity: strategies against corruption and organized crime

The Balkans have long grappled with systemic challenges in their justice systems, including corruption, political influence and a lack of transparency. As such, the region’s judicial systems stand at a pivotal crossroads. In this session, we will explore the challenges faced by specialised justice institutions across the region and the imperative need to fortify integrity in judicial appointments.

Key questions to address:

  • What are the most pressing challenges faced by specialised justice institutions in the Balkans in the fight against corruption and organised crime?
  • How can integrity be strengthened in the process of judicial appointments to ensure transparency and meritocracy?
  • What are the achievements and challenges of the vetting process for judges and prosecutors, and how can these insights inform similar efforts in other Balkan countries?
  • What role do international partnerships and cooperation play in bolstering judicial integrity and combating cross-border corruption?

From groundbreaking reforms across the region, we will examine best practices and lessons learned in the pursuit of justice. Through candid discussions and shared experiences, we aim to chart a collective path towards a more transparent, accountable and equitable future for the Balkans.

With

Ilir Rusi

Deputy Chairman of the High Judicial Council

Gjergji Vurmo

Senior Researcher on governance, anti-corruption and EU enlargement at the Institute for Democracy and Mediation

Lunch break
Culture and accountability in Western Balkan judicial reform
Expand Culture and accountability in Western Balkan judicial reform

In the Western Balkans, cultivating a culture of accountability is crucial for
meaningful judicial reform. Empowering civil society organizations (CSOs) plays a pivotal role in this transformation. By monitoring judicial processes, advocating for legal reforms and promoting transparency, CSOs can
significantly enhance judicial accountability and public trust in the justice system. Additionally, securing land rights is vital for advancing women’s human rights in these reforms. Ensuring that women have equal access to and control over land strengthens the rule of law and fosters equitable development.

Key questions to address:

  • How can CSOs effectively monitor judicial processes to ensure accountability?
  • What strategies can CSOs employ to advocate for and achieve significant legal reforms?
  • In what ways can securing land rights for women contribute to broader judicial reforms?
  • How can increased transparency in the judiciary enhance public trust and the rule of law?

Join us as we explore these essential components for a just and transparent judicial system in the Western Balkans.

With

Saida Dollani

Head of the Special Court of Appeal for Corruption and Organized Crime

Albana Pulaj

Director of the public affairs management and media relations department, Independent Qualification Commission

Blerim Sallahu

Kosovar Deputy Minister of Justice

End of event
Speakers

Speakers

Photo of Fjoralba Caka
Fjoralba Caka

Professor of EU Law at the University of Tirana, former Albanian deputy minister of justice and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Fjoralba Caka

Fjoralba Caka is the former Albanian minister for justice covering European integration and anti-corruption policies. Having started her career as an academic teaching EU Law, she has maintained an ongoing cooperation with civil society organisations. She also served as a lawyer on issues related to strategic litigation and offered legal aid for people in need and for marginalised communities. In addition, she has led projects focusing on youth and national anti-corruption campaigns, including ‘Fighting Corruption in the Higher Education System’ and ‘Bookworm Project – outdoors mini-library’.

Jironet Disa
Disa Jironet

Public Prosecutor at the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and 2024 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Disa Jironet

Disa Jironet is a Dutch Public Prosecutor and author with a background in Dutch and international law. Specialised in the role of justice in society, her work adopts a new approach to criminal law by examining how societal systems and institutions can be shaped compassionately to better serve humanity. Her book “Crime and Compassion” argues for a more humane criminal climate. Acknowledging the complexity of human behaviour, Jironet remains critically optimistic that justice reform can move beyond the debate of hard or soft punishment and towards an evidence-based conversation about long-term sustainable justice and security.

Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sectors and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

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