TIRANA – On March 10, 2023, in the Administrative Court of Appeal, the first court session was held for the lawsuit of 11 Albanian Environmental Civil Society Organizations for the partial annulment of the Decision of the Council of Ministers (DCM) no. 59, dated 26.1.2022, “For the Approval of the Change of Status and Area of Natural Ecosystems National Park (Category II) of Environmentally Protected Areas”.

From the plaintiff side participated Lawyer Dorian Matlija from Res Publica, Lawyer Irena Dule from Res Publica, Lawyer Vladimir Mece, Dr. Taulant Bino from AOSALB, representatives from Qëndra Kujri as well as representatives from the local community of Zall-Gjocaj. The defendant was represented only by the State Bar. The other institutions, the Council of Ministers and the National Council of the Territory, did not appear in court despite being informed by the court about the court session. This preparatory session was not accompanied by objections and evidence to contradict the claims presented in the lawsuit. The judge of the case legitimized the plaintiff organizations, assessed the importance of the case, and requested that the defendant be represented by the Ministry of Tourism and Environment.

Parallel to the court session, a representative community of the residents of Zall-Gjocaj protested for the repeal of DCM no. 59. This DCM affects the borders of the Lure-Mali i Dejes National Park, excluding the protected area exactly where a hydropower plant is built. The exclusion from the protected area de facto legalizes the construction of the hydroelectric plant, an activity that the local community has denounced and opposed for years and for which the Court has previously ordered a ban on electricity production.

The next session for the Decision of the Council of Ministers (DCM) no. 60 is expected to be performed on March 17 at 09:00.

#protectedareas #zonatmbrojtura

Plaintiff organizations: 

@AOS-Albanian Ornithological Society @EcoAlbania @Res Publica @CLE – Centre for Legal Empowerment @Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania @Qendra EDEN/ EDEN Center @Milieukontakt Albania (member of Milieukontakt International Netëork) @REC Albania @Qendra ACEG @Qendra Kujri #impetus

This activity takes place within Green-AL, a project financed by the Swedish International Cooperation and Development Agency (SIDA) with funds from the Swedish Government and implemented by Co-PLAN, Institute for Habitat Development in collaboration with CISP Sviluppo dei Popoli, VIS Albania and COSV – Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo.

The local community of Zall Gjocaj protested in front of the Administrative Court of Appeal