Albanian Legislation on Restitution of Property Confiscated During the Communist Regime: Its Structural Inconsistencies and a Negative Social Perspective for Achieving an Effective Domestic Remedy
Keywords:property compensation, ECtHR, legal certainty, compensation mechanism, administrative act
Following more than two decades of failures to implement an efficient system for the recognition, restitution and compensation of property to owners expropriated by the communist regime, in 2015, the Albanian Parliament passed law no. 133/2015 “On the Treatment of Property”, which aims to build an efficient mechanism to complete the already delayed process, within a reasonable timeframe. Now, more than three years since its enactment, the law and the enforcing authorities have failed to uphold a number of crucial deadlines and tasks, rendering many facets of the process essentially unfeasible and jeopardizing the possibility of a positive evaluation of the new mechanism by the ECtHR. This paper will examine the objectives set out in the law, the procedures foreseen for the successful completion of the property compensation process and the numerous problems experienced so far in the process, among which the deficient financial funds for the compensation procedure, the excessive delays in the examination of applications on the merits, as well as the ineffectiveness of the administrative procedures envisaged in the law. The analysis will show that, despite the new implemented remedies differ greatly from the provisions of previous laws and the expected positive results, these structural failures have inevitably undermined the social and economic interests of former owners, and failed to meet the Convention standards set out in the numerous ECtHR judgments against Albania.