Illegal construction works in Valbona-National Park are still going on

Charade of Justice in Albania: Different courts mutually cancel their decisions in the case of the planned power plant Dragobia. The suffering ones are nature and local population.

Construction site of the Dragobia hydroelectric power station in Valbona National Park. The work here should have been suspended for two months. © Mirjan Aliaj

The legal disputes concerning the hydro powerplant Dragobia in Valbona in Northern Albania are starting all over again. In June the Court of Appeal of Albania decided to stop the planned dam construction works immediately after lawsuit of nature conservation organisations and local people. But construction works went on, as the Albanian NGO Toka is reporting. Moreover Tropoja court is said to have approved an injunction at the end of July without informing the parties to the original lawsuit and forbidding the Bailiff of Tirana to enter the construction site. He should have enforced in situ the stop work order on 2 August  – that means two months after judgment of the Court of Appeal.

„Here we have a clear example that the interests of the the Tropojan citizens are ignored“ states Toka President Catherine Bohne. „Local people on site have been working fearlessly and tirelessly to prevent the construction of the power plant. And this is the answer they receive from their own courts“, Bone continues.

According to Toka the arguments presented by Dragobia Energy, which is the company responsible for the construction of the hydropower plant, are outrageous: The energy company simply does not pay attention to the court decision to stop construction works and is so continuing dam construction works because someone should have given them a construction permit which simply did not happen so far. Catherine Bone says: „It looks more and more like Valbona is the test case that will show whether justice reform, and the fair implementation of rule of law is working in Albania, or whether the country will choose to decide that a few rich businessmen should be allowed to do whatever they want.”

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