BIRN Albania Wins Landmark FOI Case

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Verdict forces Qualification Commission to reveal name of private sponsor who paid for vetting institutions staff’s weekend retreat in luxury resort.

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The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania has won a landmark lawsuit against the Independent Qualification Commission, IQC, over the right to public information.

The IQC is one of three institutions charged with vetting judges and prosecutors in Albania.

The verdict, which was adjudicated by the Appeals Administrative Court in Tirana, forces the IQC to reveal the name of a private sponsor who paid the bill for a weekend retreat in a luxurious resort for the vetting institutions staff.

BIRN sought the records from the IQC in 2022. After the IQC refused, a complaint was filed with the Commissioner on the Right to Information. The Commissioner ruled in BIRN’s favour but the IQC filed a lawsuit against his decision.

In the First Instance Administrative Court in Tirana, BIRN Albania journalist Edmond Hoxhaj joined the case as a third party. When the judge ruled in favour of the IQC, Hoxhaj appealed, and on January 23, the Administrative Court reversed the verdict, upholding the earlier decision of the Commissioner for the Right to Information.