USAID and OSCE Launch “Justice Without Delays” Initiative for Nationwide Implementation

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SHKODRA – Today USAID Country Director, Marcus Johnson, together with OSCE Ambassador Florian Raunig announced the launch of the “Justice Without Delays” initiative.  Each delivered remarks emphasizing the commitment of their agencies to “Justice Without Delays” as a mechanism to improve the justice system in Albania and restore citizens’ trust in the judiciary and improve access to justice.  Director Johnson and Ambassador Raunig were joined by Ambassador Johann Sattler of Austrian Embassy and Minister of Jusitice Ylli Manjani as well as senior representatives of the justice sector and Chief Judges from the Appellate, District, and Administrative Courts, among others who will all be important stakeholders for this new initiative.

In 2013 the OSCE and the USAID/JuST project joined forces to initiate the “Justice Without Delays” Initiative.  A program to assist the Kruja District Court was begun in 2013 and after only a few months of implementation, the Court produced significant results in making trials more efficient. Substantial reductions in the number of non-productive hearings were achieved, the average number of hearings per case dropped significantly, and the number of cases resolved by each judge has more than doubled. The initiative was then expanded to the district court of Korça in 2014, and to the district courts of Puka and Tropoja in 2015.  Judges and supporting staff, with guidance from international and local partners analyze root causes for delays in their court and commit to improved planning and administration of cases by strengthening co-operation with trial participants, including state institutions. In launching the initiative Director Johnson stated “Justice Without Delays represents a practical, pragmatic approach to how the court system can be improved. Generally, all it takes to implement is will, judicial leadership and commonsense.”

Building on the success of the program in the four initial courts, Justice Without Delays Initiative will now extend to all the district courts of the country. The initiative will continue to be supported by USAID through the newly launched Justice for All Project and the OSCE Presence in Albania which joins the partnership with funding from the Austrian Development Agency.  The Ministry of Justice and the High Council of Justice continue to provide full technical support to the initiative.  Implementation has already begun in Durres and will soon begin in Kukes, Lezhe and Shkodra District Courts.  USAID and OSCE announced that all district courts will have implemented the program by February 2019.