Open Data Albania is investigating into the obligations of the Albanian State established by the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, for the period 2018-2020. This court deals with lawsuits against the State in cases where one of the fundamental human rights is allegedly violated, and trial at the national level is already exhausted. The Albanian state was sued by its citizens in the period 1956 – 2020 through 86 cases in total. Such cases are mainly based on claims related to the right to property, the right to life, and the right to a fair trial. Findings of violations of the relevant rights by Decision of the European Court of Human Rights leads to monetary compensation. For the period January 2018-December 2020, the Albanian State has recognized liabilities from 14 decisions of the Strasbourg Court amounting to 13 632 130 Euros in total.  Final decisions are issue by the Court in 2020 for three cases, in 2019 for two cases, and in 2018 for nine 9 cases. Decisions requiring a financial compensation over 10,000 Euros are executed by Decision of the Council of Ministers, while those requiring a compensation of less than 10,000 Euros are made by the Ministry of Finances and Economy, upon an official request of the State Advocacy Office.

The largest share in these compensations belongs to Sharxhi and others vs Albania , worth 13 447 300 Euros or about 99% of the total compensation for this period. The decision was made final by the Strasbourg Court in 2018. The case was initiated upon a request based on complaints about the illegal demolition of their homes and businesses in Vlora (Ion Residence). The claimants complained about the fencing, expropriation and demolition of their property within December 2013, a time when a measure had already been taken by domestic court to secure the lawsuit by preventing any action that would violate their property rights without trial. The Strasbourg Court established the alleged above violations and concluded the case in favor of the plaintiff, forcing the Albanian state to compensate the plaintiff by 13.5 million Euros for the arbitrary decision to demolish the Ionian Residence in Vlora, an amount to be paid by Albanian taxpayers.

Another major case is that of Myrtaj and Others v. Albania, amounting to 103,600 Euros. The case began in 2017, upon a request of the relatives of the victims of the January 21st, 2011 protests. The applicants complained, referring to Article 2 of the Convention, that the right to family life had been violated as a result of the actions of the National Guard during the protest held on 21 January 2011. They also complained that the use of deadly violence was not absolutely necessary and that state authorities had not conducted any effective investigation into the deaths of their family members. In 2019, the Strasbourg Court closed the case by a final decision in favor of the plaintiff.

Other cases closed in favor of individual applicants suing the Albanian State in 2019 include:

Prizren v. Albania, which consists of a violation of the right to an effective remedy by the public authorities, as well as the prohibition of torture against his brother, which cost the state budget an amount of 13 450 Euro

 Topi v. Albania  consists of a violation of the right to conduct a fair trial by the state authorities, costing the state budget an amount of 1,000 Euros.

In 2020, the Strasbourg Court has completed 3 cases to the disfavor of the Albanian state, including:

 Kasmi v. Albania, which consists of a violation of the right to property protection, costing the state 30,000 Euros.

Strazimiri v. Albania, which consists of a violation of the right to life protection, a violation of the right to security and freedom, prohibition of discrimination and torture, and a violation of the right to an effective remedy to the situation, costing the Albanian state 17,500 Euros.

Tërshana v. Albania, which consists of the plaintiff’s claim that the authorities have failed to protect her life and her right to privacy, costing the Albanian state 14,720 Euros.

From the context of the cases, it is noted that the most frequent categories for which the Albanian state is sued in the Strasbourg Court are the right to a fair trial (24% of cases), the right to life protection (16% of cases), and the right to property protection (12% of cases). Apart from the fact that Strasbourg Decisions prove cases of arbitrariness and violations of rights by the State, the decisions pose a real risk to the state public finances, which will ultimately be paid by Albanian taxpayers.

The data for this article were obtained from the Strasbourg Court, the State Advocacy and the High Court of Albania.

Download excel: Obligations of the State for damages established by Decision of the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights 2018 – 2020
Comment and Analysis: Open Data Albania
Translated by: Etleva Kondakçi