On 9 June 2015, the Albanian Institute of Science sent an official request to the three main electoral subjects, i.e. the Socialist Party (SP), the Democratic Party (DP), and the Socialist Movement for Integration (SMI) asking them for the following information:
- list of donors of non-public funds, from whom they had benefitted since 21 May 2015 amounts above 100 000 (one hundred thousand) Lekë or the equivalent value in services or goods;
- list of every expense made since 21 May 2015 using the annual funds benefitted from the state budget in 2015.
The above quoted electoral subjects received the request on 10 or 11 June 2015 as confirmed by the postal service.
The above electoral subjects did not respond to our request. Therefore, pursuant to Article 24 of Law no. 119/2014 “On the right (access) to information”, the Albanian Institute of Science AIS filed a complaint with the Commissioner for the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data on 7 July 2015.
The Commissioner for the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data informed us on 25 July 2015 of its decision no. 44, dated 22.07.2015 on “Rejection of complaint”. The Commissioner rejected our request no. 675, dated 9.07.2015, arguing that “the requested information is to be administered by the organizations foreseen by this law and it’s Article 2, which are not defined as public authorities in terms of how they are organized, how they operate, and their regulatory legal framework”.
Pursuant to Article 25 of Law no. 119/2014 “On the right to information”, the Albanian Institute of Science filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court of First Instance of Tirana.
Upon completion of the court hearings, the Administrative Court of First Instance of Tirana issued decision no. 5687, dated 10.11.2015 (fundamental register no. 5714 310004-05334-80-2015, according to which: “The court rejects the lawsuit of the Albanian Institute of Science against the Commissioner for the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data, the Socialist Party of Albania, the Democratic Party of Albania, and the Socialist Movement for Integration of Albania, which claims the “Abrogation of decision no. 44, dated 22.07.2015 of the Commissioner of the Right to Information and Protection of Personal Data as a lawsuit not based on evidence or law. The court forces the political parties (electoral subjects), i.e. the Socialist Party, the Democratic Party, and the Socialist Movement for Integration to provide the Albanian Institute of Science with the information requested about the financing of their electoral campaigns as per its (AIS’) request dated 9 June 2015.”
The Albanian Institute of Science complained against the decision of the Administrative Court of First Instance by addressing the Administrative Court of Appeal on 25 November 2015.On 10 February 2016, AIS filed its request with the Administrative Court of Appeal asking for “a faster judicial adjudication of the “. The nature of the lawsuit and its importance for the public interest makes it indispensable for this case to be adjudicated as fast as possible, and not in the course of several years, which would make both the complaint and its adjudication irrelevant.The Administrative Court of Appeal did not respond to such request On 31 March 2016, the Albanian Institute of Science submitted a second request for a faster adjudication, but to this date, the Administrative Court of Appeal has not given any response, whatsoever.
Although a final decision is not yet taken by the Albanian Court (the case is not with the High Court yet), following its procrastination and given the lack of clear provisions in the Albanian legislation that would enable an effective remedy, AIS addressed the Strasbourg Court on 18 May 2016, asking this court to express itself on this adjudication process, and whether they constitute a violation of Articles 6 and 13, respectively, of the European Convention of Human Rights.