Recognition of USA Legal Documents for Albanian Diaspora
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The Registrar of Private Property in Shkoder, Albania is refusing to register the legal succession of an Albanian/American citizen, Nikoll Gjomarkaj, who escaped the communist regime in 1949 from a concentration camp. He ultimately settled and lived for 69 years in New York, USA, until his death in 2018. Nikoll has a wife and three children. The children were born outside of Albania. Upon his death in May 2018 his heirs filed for a legal succession of heirs in his last place of death, New York, as stated by law. This legal document, with a certification and a USA Apostille was sent to Albania for translation and filing at the Private Property Office in Shkoder, on February 2019.
The request was denied on the basis that "a foreign legal succession cannot be filed", going against the Albanian Civil Code Article 318/1 which states: "Place of opening of an inheritance: (Added by law no.121/2013, Article 2): A succession shall be opened in the last place of residence of the decedent. When the decedent's last place of residence is unknown, the inheritance shall be opened in the place where all his property or the major part thereof is located.
Since his last place of residence was known, the reason given by the Private Property Office is unfounded. The request was made in February 2019. It has been 4 months of constant emailing and reaching out to the people within the organization and the government for a review of the original denial and in 4 months not an email or letter was ever received in response to the requests. Through this petition I am hoping to send a severe message to the Albanian Institutions and Organizations that when they are dealing with citizens' rights to their private property as a basic human right, which is covered under the Albanian Constitution Article 41, paragraph 2: (1) The right to private property is guaranteed; (2) Property may be acquired by gift, inheritance, purchase or any other classical means provided by the Civil Code, they are committing egregious actions against its own citizens and denying them of their basic human rights.
Refusing to register this legal succession, accompanied by a United States Apostille, by the Private Property Office in Shkoder, contradicts Article 41 of the Constitution of Albania and the Civil Code because its legal inheritors are being deprived of the right to benefit from the properties in the inheritance.
It has been four months since numerous requests and appeals have been made to the following: Mr. Artan Lame, Registrar State Agency of Cadastre; Mr. Valdrin Pjetri, Chief Registrar of the Republic of Albania; Merita Qato, ZRPP Tirana; Mr. Pirro Vengu, Prime Minister’s Office; Ms. Brikena Muharrem, Member of the Diaspora Coordination Council; Mr. Pandeli Majko, State Minister for Diaspora; Mr. Bujar Leskaj, Chairman of the Supreme Audit Institution and Mr. Edi Rama, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister of Albania. None of which have replied!
This petition is very important in that it will not only affect the outcome of my family's plight but of EVERY Albanian Diaspora citizen worldwide. If we don't make our voices heard, if we don't commit to trying to change the mentality so strongly embedded in the current bureaucrats, if we don't make them hold themselves accountable for their actions, we as Albanians will only have ourselves to blame. This issue will affect many of you and if it's not resolved now the road ahead will be very, very difficult. Thank you for your time and support.
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