- Associated Press - Monday, December 17, 2018

TIRANA, Albania (AP) - The head of Albania’s top court has been removed after he failed to account for his income.

A vetting commission checking his personal and professional background decided Monday to discharge Bashkim Dedja from the position of head of the Constitutional Court.

The nine-member court is currently unable to function as eight of its judges have been removed from duty in the vetting process.

Albania is vetting some 800 judges and prosecutors to root out bribery and ensure they are independent from politics.

The process started more than two years ago when parliament unanimously passed a judicial reform aiming to fight the judicial corruption that has plagued post-communist Albania, hampering its democratic growth.

Next year Albania, a NATO member since 2009, expects to launch full membership negotiations with the European Union.

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