The government is forcefully making the claim that “vetting” is the solution to our societal troubles- and suddenly the ‘vetting” concept is everywhere in the political debate as the uncontested argument put immediately forward to the public for approval and recognition, in support of every political idea. The most venerable part of the political elite has elevated it to the rising imperative that will move our country to the stage of opening the negotiations and leading towards Albania becoming a full member of the EU. It remains unquestionable that the judicial reform remains a key criterion for opening the negotiations with the EU, as it has been emphasized by the leading personalities of the European Institutions. However, in making the claim that the rule of law is inextricably tied to the development of the country, it is not wise to conceive the vetting of the magistrates as constituting the entire law reform strategies that will make the historic turn in our national philosophies and standards on the form of the political organization, economic philosophy, or even legal culture. Accentuating solely the negative aspect of the vetting procedure, i.e. the individual punishment of corrupt judges and prosecutors, or even police personnel, the vetting idea might fall into disrepute as a populist vision of justice-rather than a defensible normative conception of the rule of law. But the ruling political elite are unable to infuse normative values to the vetting process, because of the problematic historical background, especially as this observation relates to the foundations of its morality.
Moreover, as the justice reform ultimately aims at enhancing genuine democracy by strengthening rule of law guarantees for common citizens, and-following this line of reasoning- as it has been widely accepted the democracy has a constraining effect on political corruption, the potential threat to the justice reform is that corrupt politicians will consider the vetting procedure as a means to an uncertain end- that end being their survival in the new era of Albania entering the stage of starting the negotiations and becoming a full member state of the European Union.
At first glance, the justice reform so far seems to be a complex system of laws, trying to implement key values in the justice system (independence, accountability and legitimacy), but the process is striving to preserve its integrity as an enlighten project in the course of its implementation, confronting the political economy entrenched interests of key political actors, with a veto political power, in pre-reform public institutions and state agencies. In that sense, shifting to a constructive national spiritual atmosphere of benign reforms requires more than the “surgery” of vetting, it requires civic firm engagement to do away with corrupt and incompetent political leaders. But to be cautious and realistic that it will happen in the coming history of the reforms in Albania, it seems appropriate to quote what once the Economist wrote on Russian voters: “Russians voters, like voters elsewhere, will not put up indefinitely with corrupt leaders who keep them poor. Sadly, they have little experience with anything else”