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Implementation of the Access to Justice Pillar of Aarhus Convention in South and Eastern Europe. Mihallaq Qirjo REC Albania Director. Content. REC regional framework Aarhus Convention third pillar Case Situation in Albania. REC regional framework.

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Implementation of the Access to Justice Pillar of Aarhus Convention in South and Eastern Europe


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    1. Implementation of the Access to Justice Pillar of Aarhus Convention in South and Eastern Europe Mihallaq QirjoREC Albania Director

    2. Content • REC regional framework • Aarhus Convention third pillar • Case • Situation in Albania

    3. REC regional framework • REC as supporting organisation for beneficiaries countries facilitation of processes, capacity building activities, etc. Promoting implementation through different levels and mechanisms of REC activities • Conveying the experiences throughout the region (CEE, SEE, EECCA, etc.) • Civil society involvement through different mechanisms

    4. Some regional conclusions - SECTOR Common Problems: • Practical implementation • Enforcement and the lack of rules; • Support through up-to-date guidelines and procedures • NGO • fail to practice the rights, • don’t know what the rights are and much less to use them efficiently Assessment of civil society in SEE countries, 2006; Aarhus framework, within other 5 main topics of assessment; Legislative framework for access to information and public participation is generally in place; Serbia and Montenegro are in process of development in line with Aarhus and EU requirements;

    5. Some conclusions for three pillars – SECTORwww.rec.org/sector Access to Justice • These rights are weakly implemented or poorly used • Causes: • Reforms on administrative and judicial systems; lack of knowledge; • Lack of free legal assistance and advice; • It’s not clear to whom to appeal • Access to information • Weak practices of delivering of info; • Lack of capacities to implement obligations; • Tendencies to not respect the timeframe of answers; • Failing to implement “the proper way and format” of information • Public participation • Failing to implement properly the procedures (notification, documents, accessibility, taking due account); • The role of NGOs is by tradition limited to “consultative and participatory” and not “fully influencing”

    6. Situation in Albania • AC is ratified; • The legal framework generally is in place, especially for pillars 1&2; • Positive steps for pillars 1&2, which add to efforts for implementation of pillar 3; • Increase of administrative cases, (complaining to higher level of administration) • Legal systems reform; • Traditions and culture related to the legal systems and tools; • Lack of information, knowledge, and awareness; • Difficulty on identifying the main responsible institution for implementation; • Lack of specific provisions for the public to have the right to bring to the court 9.1 cases.

    7. Aarhus Convention: Third Pillar Art 9.1 – Review procedures when right to access information is violated • any person • fast • free of charge or low-cost • In court or before other body Still this is not the situationin our countries

    8. Case Discussable challenges: • The standing right; • Limitation to procedural challenges; • Timeframe of the process; • Lack and not use of adequate and effective remedies; • Financial costs were an issue. Some aid programmes from USA, will bring into Albania 16000 T of genetically modified corn and soy, to be used as livestock food Complaints: NGO Defendants: MoE, and the Aid Programme Proceedings: MoE were not represented in court; Result: the Court cancelled the case as it was mootas the goods entered Albania, already.