Thursday, September 13, 2012


The Kanun (or Kanuni in its defined form in Albanian) is a set of traditional Albanian laws. The Kanun was primarily oral and only in the 20th century was it published in writing.[1] There is only one Kanun since the ancient times commonly referred to the "Kanun of Leke" from which six later variations eventually evolved, categorized according to the area, the personality and their time of origin: Kanun i vjetër (English: Old Kanun), Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit (English: The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini), Kanuni i Çermenikës (English: The Kanun of Çermenikë), Kanuni i Papa Zhulit (English: The Kanun of Papa Zhuli), Kanuni i Labërisë (English: The Kanun of Labëria)[2] and Kanuni i Skenderbeut (English: Kanun of Skanderbeg)[3][4] also known as Kanuni i Arbërisë (English: Kanun of Arbëria).

The Kanun of Skanderbeg is the closest in version to the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini, and the latter is usually the most known and is also regarded as a synonym of the word kanun. The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini was developed by Lekë Dukagjini, who codified the existing customary laws. It has been used mostly in northern Albania and Kosovo. It was first codified in the 15th century but the use of it has been outspread much earlier in time. It used under that form until the 20th century, and revived recently after the fall of the communist regime in the early 1990s.


The practice of the oral laws that Dukagjini codified in the Kanun may date back to the Bronze Age.[7] Some authors have conjectured that the Kanun may derive from Illyrian tribal laws.[8] Other authors have suggested that the Kanun has retained elements from Indo-European prehistoric eras.[9] Edith Durham, a British anthropologist[citation needed] suggested that the Kanun possibly dates back to the Bronze Age culture.[7] Some other authors[who?] have suggested that there are many similarities between the Kanun and the Manusmṛti, the earliest work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism, which indicate a common origin.[7]

However several stratifications can be easily observed in the code, beginning with pre-Indoeuropean, Indoeuropean, Ancient Greek, Roman, general Balkan and Osmanli.[10]

According to Serbian authors T. O. Oraovac[11] and S. S. Djuric, it is largely based on Dušan's Code, the constitution of the Serbian Empire (enacted 1349), which at the time held the whole of Albania.[12] Noel Malcolm speculates that an article in Dušan's Code was an early attempt to clamp down on the self-administered customary law of the mountains, as later codified in the Kanun of Lek Dukagjin, and if so, this would be the earliest evidence that such customary law were in effect.[13]


 This Kanun existed only in oral form, and was first codified by Lekë Dukagjini in the 15th century. The code was written down only in the 19th century by Shtjefën Gjeçovi and partially published in the Hylli i Drites periodical in 1913.[1] The full version appeared only in 1933 after Gjeçovi's death in 1926.[1] In 1989 a dual English-Albanian version was published.[1][14] and then replicated in a 1992 version.[15]

Although Kanuni is attributed to the Albanian prince Lekë Dukagjini, the rules evolved over time as a way to bring laws and rule to these lands. The code was divided into the following 12 books (or sections): Church, Family, Marriage, House, Livestock and Property, Work, Transfer of Property, Spoken Word, Honor, Damages, Law Regarding Crimes, Judicial Law, Exemptions and Exceptions.[16]

The Kanun has 1,262 articles which regulate all aspects of the mountainous life: economic organization of the household, hospitality, brotherhood, clan, boundaries, work, marriage, land, and so on.[1] The Besa (honour) is of prime importance throughout the code as the cornerstone of personal and social conduct.[1] The Kanun applies to both Catholic and Muslim Albanians.[1]

Some of the most controversial rules of the Kanun (in particular book 10 section 3) specify how murder is supposed to be handled, which often in the past and sometimes still now lead to blood feuds that last until all the men of the two involved families are killed. In some parts of the country, the Kanun resembles the Italian vendetta. These rules have resurfaced during the 1990s in Northern Albania, since people had no faith in the powerless local government and police. There are organizations that try to mediate between feuding families and try to get them to "pardon the blood" (Albanian: Falja e Gjakut), but often the only resort is for men of age to stay in their homes, which are considered a safe refuge by the Kanuni, or flee the country. The Albanian name for blood feud is Gjakmarrja.

Former communist Albania leader Enver Hoxha effectively stopped the practice of Kanun with hard repression and a very strong state police. However, after the fall of communism, some communities have tried to rediscover the old traditions, but some of their parts have been lost, leading to fears of misinterpretation.

Notably, the current Albanian Penal Code does not contain any provisions from the Kanun that deal with blood feuds, and no acknowledgment of this code is made in the contemporary Albanian legal system.


The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini is composed of 12 books and 1,262 articles. The books and their subdivisions are the following:
  1. Church;
    1. The Church
    2. Cemeteries
    3. Property of the Church
    4. The Priest
    5. Church workers
  2. Family;
    1. The family make-up
  3. Marriage;
    1. Engagement
    2. Wedding
    3. The Kanun of the groom
    4. In-laws
    5. Separation
    6. Inheritance
  4. House, Livestock and Property;
    1. The house and its surroundings
    2. Livestock
    3. Property
    4. The boundary
  5. Work;
    1. Work
    2. Hunting
    3. Commerce
  6. Transfer of Property;
    1. Borrowing
    2. Gifts
  7. Spoken Word;
  8. Honor;
    1. Individual honor
    2. Social honor
    3. 'Blood' and gender; brotherhood and godparents
  9. Damages;
  10. Law Regarding Crimes
    1. Criminals
    2. Stealing
    3. Murder (discussion of sanctioning of blood feuds)
  11. The kanun of the elderly
  12. Exemptions and Exceptions
    1. Types of exceptions
    2. Death

Kosovo's independence is legal, UN court rules

A 'Free Kosovo' banner in Tirana
Albanians ride past a banner that reads "Free Kosovo" in Tirana. Photograph: Hektor Pustina/AP

Decision in favour of Kosovo's independence could have far-reaching implications for other separatist movements

Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 did not violate international law, the international court of justice (ICJ) said today in a groundbreaking ruling that could have far-reaching implications for separatist movements around the world, as well as for Belgrade's stalled EU membership talks.
The long-awaited ruling - which the court took up after a complaint to the UN from Serbia - is now likely to lead to more countries recognising Kosovo's independence and move Pristina closer to entry into the UN. At present, Kosovo's statehood is backed by 69 countries but it requires more than 100 before it can join the UN.
Announcing the decision, the court of justice president, Hisashi Owada, said international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence".
Although both Belgrade and Pristina had said they were confident of a ruling in their favour, speculation began to emerge a few hours before today's announcement in the Hague that the decision - which is not legally binding - had gone Kosovo's way.
Prior to the judgment, the US vice-president, Joe Biden, had made it clear that the US would not contemplate a retreat from Kosovo's newly independent status.
Key considerations that the UN's top court examined - arising out of dozens of submissions by UN member states as well as by Kosovo's own leadership - have focused on issues of sovereignty, the slim volume of precedent in international law, and how formerly large states such as the USSR broke up along administrative borders.

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Legal Training by Kosovo Law Center

KLC has extensive experience in providing legal training for different institutions and/or groups of individuals in Kosovo. The main activities are as follows:
Practical Legal Clinics
In its efforts to support the Law Faculty of University of Pristina (LFUP) and the Law Faculty of University of Mitrovica (LFUM), KLC has organised and conducted a number of Practical Legal Clinics.

These clinics emphasize the application of theoretical legal knowledge to practical problems and legal questions. Students develop their practical legal skills through the drafting of legal memoranda, such as indictments, verdicts and appeals. Clinics have been organized in three main modules: Criminal Law, Civil Law and Administrative Law, with lectures held at both LFUP and LFUM. During these clinics, students conduct mock trials, under the supervision of legal experts.
KLC also plans to extend its previous experience in organizing Practical Legal Clinics for LFUP by moving beyond the classroom, and involving Kosovo's legal institutions directly in the educational process. In this regard, KLC hopes to conclude agreements with institutions such as Courts, Public Prosecutors Offices, Chamber of Advocates, and Prisons, to host LFUP and LFUM students. This would provide law students the opportunity to experience what it is like to practice law in these institutions.

Contact person:

Continuing Legal Education for Civil Servants
This project involves implementing legal education training for civil servants in Kosovo's municipalities, and assisting the municipalities in shaping and realizing their agenda for legislative local government reform. In order for good governance to take hold, it is crucial to foster more responsive, effective and efficient local administration. The CLE project is designed to provide a forum for discussing and addressing, and hopefully resolving some of the questions and difficulties that have arisen in the application of Kosovo's Administrative Law.
In implementing applicable administrative law the CLE project aims to focus on both an improvement of the theoretical legal knowledge of trainees and a development of their practical skills. The experts teaching the sessions were selected by KLC, and include Kosovar legal professionals such as law professors, layers and senior officers.
KLC plans to conduct approximately 96 sessions within ten modules on legal subjects such as Organization of Public Administration and Functions, Administrative Acts and Administrative Procedures, The Applicable Law on Civil Service in Kosovo, and Regulation No 36/2001and UNMIK/Regulation/2000/45 On Self-Government of Municipalities in Kosovo.
Currently, the project is being implemented with the active participation of the legal officers from 24 municipalities, and in close co-operation with The Kosovo Institute for Public Administration (KIPA) and the OSCE Democratisation Department.
Contact person:
Legal training for the Kosovo Protection Corps
The Legal Training for the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) project helped provide KPC legal officers with basic information of constitutional law, human rights, humanitarian law, as well as other basic principles of the legal system.
Interactive training sessions focused on the key legal and human rights issues applicable to the duties and functions of the KPS. This training focused on the applicable law in Kosovo, and also included discussions and explanations of international law and principles applicable to the topic areas.
This project concluded in Summer 2003.
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The Kosovo Law Centre (KLC)

The Kosovo Law Centre (KLC) was established in June 2000, as an independent, nonprofit, non-governmental organisation (NGO). It was founded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Mission in Kosovo (OSCE/OMIK), Department of Human Rights and Rule of Law, The goal in creating KLC was to cultivate the professional skills of local legal talent in order to establish a locally run, independent and sustainable NGO that embodies, develops and promotes democratic principals, multiculturalism, high ethical standards, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Since its founding, KLC has served as a legal think-tank devoted to the implementation of these principles.
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Human rights protection in Kosovo

Bernadett Csapo, OSCE Human Dimension Officer, encourages women from Prishtine/Pristina and Gjilan/Gnjilane regions, Kosovo, to discuss issues of concern, Gjilan/Gnjilane, 4 November 2010. (OSCE/Hasan Sopa)
Bernadett Csapo, OSCE Human Dimension Officer, encourages women from Prishtine/Pristina and Gjilan/Gnjilane regions, Kosovo, to discuss issues of concern, Gjilan/Gnjilane, 4 November 2010. (OSCE/Hasan Sopa)
Human rights violations still occur in Kosovo. Responsibility lies with the executive, but also with the legislative and judicial institutions, be it in providing services or drafting and implementing legislation.
The OSCE Mission, which plays a significant role in the protection and promotion of human and communities rights, engages in a number of activities to help ensure that adequate mechanisms for human rights protection and public accountability are in place, and that the central and municipal governments fulfil their human rights obligations towards all Kosovo inhabitants.

The Mission monitors and supports institutions in Kosovo in their obligation to comply with international human rights, community rights and democratic standards. Monitoring in municipalities allows the Mission to issue regular reports and use these reports as an advocacy tool for positive change.
Special attention is paid to the rights of non-majority communities, displaced persons, returnees, as well as other vulnerable groups, such as women, youth and persons with disabilities.


The Mission analyses existing legislation, comments on draft laws, and proactively monitors the policies and activities of central and local level institutions in the field of human and communities rights. It promotes and protects the rights of communities in Kosovo through interventions in the areas of participation and representation in public life, decision making, access to education and other services, use of languages, as well as return and reintegration of displaced persons, security and freedom of movement.
The Mission issues specific reports to inform Kosovo institutions and international stakeholders about failures to protect the rights of communities at the municipal and central levels, and to recommend necessary improvements in performance.
The Mission’s five regional community teams serve as a bridge between different ethnic groups and facilitate dialogue between the communities and the institutions.

Property rights

Property, housing and land management issues remain a challenge in Kosovo. The failure to protect property rights hinders the return process and impedes economic development and the rule of law. The Mission, therefore, supports Kosovo institutions at both central and municipal levels in their efforts to strengthen compliance with housing and property related legislation and policies. Particular attention is paid to issues of resolution of conflict-related property claims, regularization of informal settlements and illegal construction issues. Further, the Mission monitors the protection of cultural and religious heritage objects.

Human rights compliance

In an effort to prevent human rights violations at an early stage, the Mission reviews selected draft legislation and subsidiary acts for compliance with human rights standards and rule of law principles. For example, the Mission has reviewed and commented on draft laws related to readmission, civil status registry, domestic violence, the Ombudsperson and access to official documents. The Mission also reports on systematic concerns regarding adherence to human rights standards and rule of law principles in drafting legislation. Moreover, it promotes the publication and accessibility of normative acts.

Ombudsperson institution

The Mission supports the work of the Ombudsperson institution as the key guarantor of human rights. The Ombudsperson institution represents the final legal remedy and its decisions are binding. The Mission's special adviser provides technical expertise and advises the institution on monitoring and investigating potential human rights violations. In addition, the adviser provides analysis and recommendations concerning the compatibility of legislation with human rights standards.

Human rights and the police

The Mission proactively monitors the work of the police with the aim of fostering an effective, accountable and human rights compliant police force.
The OSCE human rights advisors, who are deployed to all six police regions in Kosovo, report on identified human rights concerns and advise on how to improve performance. The Mission provides the police with confidential reports on human rights issues, such as the rights of arrested persons, conditions in holding cells, the use of force, or child abuse, which enable the police to address shortcomings.
The Mission monitors detention facilities and supports the creation of a sustainable local detention monitoring mechanism which would help prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Mission field teams

The Mission has deployed over 30 field teams and five specialised community teams to work with municipalities and monitor their adherence to human and communities rights and good governance standards. When an issue is observed, the teams analyse it, report on it and recommend remedial actions. In co-operation with civil society and local institutions, the teams implement projects aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of all communities in Kosovo. Their work is supported by the Mission staff working in the five regional centres and at headquarters.

Legal system development in Kosovo

The OSCE Deputy Head of Mission Edward P. Joseph (l), President of the Supreme Court Fejzulla Hasani (c) and Lavdim Krasniqi, Director of Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI) at the launch of a compilation of decisions on property-related issues sponsored by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Prishtinë/Priština, 6 June 2011. (OSCE/Hasan Sopa)

A functioning legal system is instrumental for human rights protection. Working to protect and promote human rights in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission helps build the professional capacities of judges, prosecutors and lawyers through monitoring and advising. It also supports the work of the Kosovo Judicial Institute (KJI), which provides legal education for judges and prosecutors, and emphasizes the application of human rights standards in judicial practices.
The Mission continues to support the KJI in its transition from a continuous legal education centre into a magistrate school. All future candidates for judges and prosecutors, in addition to completing the law faculty and the bar exam, will also have to pass a preparatory exam and undergo a fifteen-month training programme at the KJI.

Legal system monitoring

The Mission proactively monitors the justice system to help ensure its compliance with applicable human rights and legal standards in Kosovo. The Mission's work focuses on monitoring, reporting and making recommendations to address identified shortcomings. It also includes advising and training judges, prosecutors and lawyers, as well as judicial and prosecutorial bodies.
The Mission monitors cases of inter-ethnic crime; war crimes; organised crime including corruption and trafficking in persons; property disputes; labour and family disputes; and cases involving vulnerable persons.
The Mission's monitoring reports examine judicial and prosecutorial practices, identify human rights concerns and suggest remedial actions for observed shortcomings. The reports cover diverse areas of the law such as: legal representation; independence and impartiality of the courts; detention issues; juveniles in the justice system; victims' rights; witness protection; property transactions; family law cases and other human rights and rule of law areas.
Once the reports are published, the Mission organizes meetings with actors in the justice sector to analyse the findings presented in the reports and discuss recommendations and their implementation. These recommendations are also used for further curricula development at the KJI.
Similarly, the Mission proactively monitors the work of the police service. Reports on both the legal system and police conducted jointly provide a comprehensive overview of human rights compliance from the moment of arrest to the final adjudication of a case.
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Law on Public Procurement in Kosovo

Law on Public Procurement in Kosovo

The new Law on Public Procurement in Republic of Kosovo, Nr.04/L-042
, is approved by the Assembly of Kosovo on August 29th, 2011, is promulgated by the President of Republic of Kosovo with decree No.DL-032-2011, on August 31st, 2011 and is published in the official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo No.18, on September 19th, 2011. According to the section 135 of this Law, it is foreseen that this law enters into force fifteen (15) days after the publication in the official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo, which means that from October 05th, 2011, the new law on public procurement No. 04/L-042 enters into force. Contracting Authorities of Kosovo are obliged that from this date for all procurement activities to implement the Law on Public Procurement No. 04/L-042.(Download )

The Law on Public Procurement No. 03/L-241 is approved by the Assembly of Kosovo on 30 September 2010 and it was announced by the acting President of Republic of Kosovo with Decree No. DL- 057-2010, on 25 October 2010, and is published in Official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo No.87, on 16 November 2010. Based on the Article 134 of this Law, it is foreseen that this Law enters into force 15 days after publication in Official Gazette of Republic of Kosovo, which means that from 01 December 2010, is in force. Kosovo Contract Authorities are obliged that from this date all procurement activities to implement by the Public Procurement Law No.03/L-241. ( Download )

Law on Amendments and Additions to Law 2003/17 on Public Procurement
Remark: This Law Amending no. 2003/17 on Public Procurement is applicable together with the UNMIK Regulation no. 2007/20 of 06.06.2007. (

Law on amendment and supplementation of law no. 2003/17 for public procurement amended with law no. 02/L-99  (Download)
Remark: Law is approved by Assembly, date 24. 07. 2009 and promulgated by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kosovo No. DL-023-2009, date 31.07.2009.

European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo ( EULEX)

The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, EULEX Kosovo, is a deployment of European Union (EU) police and civilian resources to Kosovo. This Common Security and Defence Policy mission is the international civil presence in Kosovo operating under the umbrella of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. Serbia and a number of countries had initially strictly objected to the mission and supported UNMIK, demanding approval by the United Nations Security Council, which was rendered in late 2008.[1] After signing a 5-point plan between Serbia and the UN, the UN SC approved the addition of the EULEX as an assistance mission subjected to the UNMIK, rather than outright replacing it, which would be technical in essence and not address the Kosovo status question, also rejected the Ahtisaari plan which the EULEX had originally supported. The mission includes around 3,200 police and judicial personnel (1,950 international, 1,250 local),[2] and began a four month deployment process on 16 February 2008.[3][4] The mission intends to remain in Kosovo until at least June 2012.[5]

 Composition and deployment

A 1,800 to 1,900 strong mission was approved by the European Council on 14 December 2007. This was later increased to 2,000 personnel due to an increase in expected instability due to a lack of an agreement with Serbia.[3] It consists of police officers (including four anti-riot units[6]), prosecutors and judges - hence focusing on issues on the rule of law, including democratic standards. The size of the mission means Kosovo is home to the largest number of EU civil servants outside of Brussels.[7] Chief of the mission is French General Xavier Bout de Marnhac, who replaced Yves de Kermabon on 15 October 2010. He is accountable to the European Union member states.

The final decision on the mission was planned to be taken on 28 January 2008.[8] This was postponed due to concerns over possible negative effects on the second round of the presidential election in Serbia on 3 February 2008 and the possible signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement with Serbia on that date.[9] The officially voiced reason for the postponement is the lack of a legal basis (through a UNSC resolution or something similar) for the mission.[10] A Joint Action was approved on 4 February 2008 and the final decision was made on 16 February 2008.[11][12][13] A joint action is a method of implementing the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and are binding on member states.[14]

Spain does not take part in EULEX mission, since legal questions over how it replaces the UN administration have not been answered. In June 2008, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos told a meeting of European Union Foreign Ministers in Slovenia that Spain will not send its contingent to the EULEX mission until there has been a formal transfer of powers from the United Nations.[15]

Apart from EU members, third parties Croatia, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, Canada and the United States also take part.[16]
( Wikipedia)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Criminal Justice System Of Albania

The development of the criminal justice system of Albania is in line with that of other European socialist countries. Following the establishment of the People's Republic of Albania in 1946, the model for criminal justice was taken from the USSR. At the time of the establishment of the People's Republic, the 1929 Penal Code of the former Kingdom of Albania was in force. Between 1945 and 1952, separate enactments on penal law and criminal procedure were adopted to remedy the immediate need for reform. A completely new penal code was adopted in 1952. In connection with the constitutional reform of 1977, the penal code was also reformed. This 1977 Penal Code has been amended since then. A totally new penal code, reflecting the extensive changes in the constitution adopted at the end of 1990 and the beginning of 1991, shall be submitted to the People's Assembly in June 1991. It has been under preparation for three years. The code of criminal procedure was first adopted in 1953. Since the 1970s, the 1953 Code has been extensively amended in order to correct the influences of Soviet legislation and Soviet legal theory. The present Code of Criminal Procedure (adopted by law no. 6069 on 25 December 1979) consolidated many of these amendments. In 1968, a system of advocates was established. Following the changes noted above, a draft for a new Code of Criminal Procedure shall be submitted to the People's Assembly in September 1991. The draft Constitution which is to be discussed by the new pluralist Parliament constituted after the general election of 31 March 1991 contains several proposed amendments of the system of state organs and of the judicial system. The draft Constitution is based on the principle of the separation of powers. THE POLICE The police force comprises the uniformed police, the criminal investigation police, the traffic department, the laboratory for criminalistics, and the fire department. The uniformed police, in turn, consists of one division for the maintenance of order, and one division for special guard duties (such as the guarding of government buildings, as ordered by the Council of Ministers). The total police force, not including the fire department, consists of 5000 persons. The police are organized in 26 district police forces, each of which has a uniformed police department, a criminal investigation department, and a fire department. The central administration is the responsibility of the national police department of the Ministry for Internal Affairs. Police training is provided at a two-year academy for non- commissioned officers and a four-year academy for officers. Of the curriculum of the two academies, 30 % of the subjects are law- related, 30 % "professional", and the remaining 40 % assorted other subjects (such as languages and physical training). 80 % of the officers have a secondary school diploma. THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF OFFENCES Previously, according to the 1953 Code of Criminal Procedure, the investigation and prosecution of offences was to be carried out by the investigators of the office of the public prosecutor, by officers of the State Security Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and by constables of local departments of the police force. Bodies responsible for law enforcement in administrative sectors, such as finance, health care, trade, and customs, had the right, within the scope of their jurisdiction, to gather evidence and bring this to the attention of the police or the office of the public prosecutor. In all cases, the public prosecutor had the right to supervise the investigation of the case. The prosecutor had the authority to give binding orders on the conduct of the investigation, to issue warrants for arrest or searches, to dismiss the case, and to submit investigated cases to the examination of the court. The prosecutor had the right to prepare the indictment which was the basis for the court hearing. The 1953 Code of Criminal Procedure granted public prosecutors and bodies responsible for pre-trial investigation the right to initiate cases in court. A case could be initiated only if there was sufficient evidence of the probable guilt of a suspect. The 1979 Code of Criminal Procedure concentrated the responsibility for the investigation of offences into a single centralized body subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This body was comprised of the Department of Investigation in the Ministry, and the district level offices of investigation that are subordinated to the district bodies for internal affairs. The right of the police and other administrative bodies to investigate offences ceased. Their legal obligation was solely to report cases directly to the court or to the office of investigation. The 1979 Code also restricted the role of the prosecutor in the pre- trial investigation. The prosecutor had the right to control the legality of investigation and prosecution. In connection with an amendment of the Constitution (law no. 6799 of 29 June 1983), the Code of Criminal Procedure was again amended in respect of the investigation of offences. The responsibility for pre-trial investigation was separated from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and turned over to the General Office of Investigation and to district offices of investigation. The Director of the General Office of Investigation is appointed by the People's Assembly. The offices of investigation have the right to prosecute and investigate all criminal cases, with the exception of those subject to private prosecution or to the simplified pre-trial investigation noted above. Decree no. 7177 of the Presidium of the People's Assembly (20 November 1987) granted the prosecutor the right to initiate the criminal case, to bring certain cases where the evidence of guilt is manifest directly to court, and to approve or overrule the principal procedural decisions of the investigators. This decree strengthened the role of the public prosecutor in the criminal process and, in some respects, created a duality between the bodies of public prosecution and the higher bodies responsible for investigation. In 1990, the advocates (defence counsel) were provided with the right to participate in all acts of pre-trial investigation. This, together with the amendments described above, created the necessity for the present work on total revision of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Currently, the police have the power of arrest for up to three days. The public prosecutor has the power of arrest for up to three months. Under the reform presently underway, the powers of arrest held by the prosecutor shall be repealed. All detainees must be brought to a court within three days of their apprehension. Certain petty criminal offences (such as defamation and petty assault) may be prosecuted as private prosecution offences. Certain other petty criminal offences are subject to a simplified pre-trial investigation conducted by the local police, the offices of investigation, public prosecutors or military units. THE COURT SYSTEM Albania has three levels of courts, the district courts, the territorial (zonal) courts and the Supreme Court. The 26 district courts are the first instance for almost all criminal and civil cases. Sessions are presided over by a legally trained judge, who is normally assisted by two lay assessors. In certain more important cases, the judge will be assisted by four lay assessors. Decisions are made by a majority vote. The lay assessors do not receive any special training for their duties. The district court judges are elected by a general vote of all the citizens of the district. They are also subject to removal by the voters or the local council. The case (including the preparatory inquiry used in the more difficult cases) is always dealt with by the full complement of judge and assessors. This has led to a heavy case load in at least some courts. However, the average length of the procedure, from the commission of the offence to the court sentence, is estimated to be two months. Decisions by district courts can be appealed by the defendant and the prosecutor if the sentence is imprisonment for at least one month, re- education for at least three months, or a fine of 100 leks. In addition, the Minister of Justice, the President of the Supreme Court and the General Prosecutor have the right to "present a demand for the defence of law against court decisions of final form" (art. 179(4) of the Code of Penal Procedure, as amended by Law no. 7386 of 8 May 1990). The six zonal courts are, as a rule, courts of appeal. As an exception to this rule, they are the first instance for certain important cases, as decided by the President of the Supreme Court. The zonal court judges are elected for a three-year term by the councils of all the districts comprising the zone. The local councils may also decide on removal of a judge. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in Albania. In addition to its appellate responsibilities, it is the first instance for the more serious offences indicated by the President of the Supreme Court. It has three divisions: penal, civil and military. The procedure before the Supreme Court in appellate proceedings is written. The members of the Supreme Court are elected by the People's Assembly. The Presidium of the People's Assembly may decide on the pre-term appointment or removal of a single member of the Supreme Court. A plenary session of the Supreme Court has the power to issue mandatory guidelines to the district courts. Such guidelines have been issued on, inter alia, the criteria for sentencing in such offences as theft or robbery of state property, homicide, and crimes in office. Before 1990, Albania also had a network of village, city and neighbourhood courts (comparable to the social courts or peer courts found in some other Eastern European countries). These were abolished by Law no. 7383 of 8 May 1990, "On Social Courts", which established a new social court. This social court deals with minor criminal offences that do not pose a great threat to society, and with some civil complaints. It is solely a conciliatory body, with no powers to enforce its decision. It has no powers, for example, to impose punishment. If reconciliation fails, the case goes to the district court. However, the district court judge has the discretion to renew the attempt at reconciliation, before taking up the case formally (art. 125 of the Code of Penal Procedure, as amended by Law no. 7386 of 8 May 1990). According to the draft Constitution presently under discussion, the judicial system is to operate independently of other state organs. The Superior Council of the Judiciary, which is presided over by the President of the Republic, is to have the right to appoint judges and other magistrates as well as reprimand or remove them. THE ENFORCEMENT OF SENTENCES The forms of punishment are imprisonment, re-education and fines. At the moment (January 1991), Albania reports some 3 100 prisoners. Of these, only 19 prisoners are reported to be in the 14-17 year- old bracket. In addition, 145 juveniles are in special re- education centres. 41 % of the prisoners are recidivist prisoners. 44 % of the prisoners work in the mining industry. Other major fields are agriculture and construction. The expansion of handicrafts is being considered. Since the beginning of 1990, furloughs have been granted on a discretionary basis. A total of 310 have been granted, and in all except one case the conditions have been fulfilled. Prisons do not report any particular disciplinary problems. Each prison has a council of re-education, which is elected by the prisoners themselves. This council is responsible, for example, for the arrangement of hygiene, and for some disciplinary matters. Homosexuality (which is illegal in Albania) causes some problems, as does card- playing. No narcotics problems are reported. Tattooing, which is a problem in certain other Eastern European countries, is no longer regarded as a problem; earlier, it was particularly prevalent among young offenders. Parole can be granted after one half of the prison term has been completed, and the offender has shown through his work and behaviour that he has been reformed. Parole can be proposed by state organs and social organizations, and the decision is made by the court. Revocation of parole is possible if the offender commits a new offence during the parole period which is at least as serious as the first offence (art. 42c, as amended by Law no. 7380 of 8 May 1990). Three amnesties have been granted over the past ten years. The most recent amnesty, on 1 January 1989, affected 35 % of the prison population. THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE Up to 1990, the duties of the Ministry of Justice were dealt with by a special division of the Supreme Court. The Ministry of Justice was established by Law no. 7381 of 9 May 1990, which took immediate effect. The Ministry deals, among others, with the following: a) it oversees the organization and functioning of the courts and the Bar; b) it directs and controls the activity of the courts, the court records office, the bailiff's office, the notary's office, and the register of personal dwellings (however, it does not have the right to intervene in the judicial process, which is independent of the Ministry); c) it administers the system of statistics of the judicial organs, the office of investigation, the public prosecutor's office and the office of state arbitration; d) it prepares legislative drafts on questions within its ambit, and reviews legislative drafts in other fields; e) it arranges for the necessary training of lawyers who work for the State, f) it directs the criminalistics and forensic medicine services, and g) it represents Albania in international relations with other judicial bodies. During the near future, some elements shall be transferred from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to the Ministry of Justice. These include in particular the Prison Department. THE BAR The Bar was established on the basis of a 1990 reform (Law on the Advocacy in the People's Socialist Republic of Albania, Law no. 7382 of 8 May 1990; and amendment of art. 9, 10 and 14 of the Code of Penal Procedure, law no. 7387 of 8 May 1990). Before the establishment of the Bar, defendants (and others in need of legal counseling) were assisted by legally trained officials ("advisers"), as established by Decree 4277 of 20 July 1967. The duties of such advisers did not extend to the investigation phase. The primary purpose of the advocacy is to assist defendants during the investigation and the trial, and serve as counsel in civil and administrative cases (art. 1 of the Law on Advocacy). Participation of an advocate is compulsory if the defendant is a minor (14-17, inclusive), or is incapable of defending himself because of physical or mental defects. The Bar consists of collegiums of advocates (art. 4 of the Law on Advocacy). Membership is restricted to persons with a law degree and at least three years of experience as lawyers. The Minister of Justice may grant exceptions from these requirements (art. 5). The Bar is overseen by a Supervisory Council established in the Ministry of Justice. This Council consists of the Min-ister, the deputy Minister, the head of the department, and four advocates elected by the assembly of all collegiums of advocates. The Council decides on the admission of a lawyer as a member of a collegium (art. 6 of the Law on Advocacy). The Council is also responsible for disciplinary measures (art. 15). The Law on Advocacy contains provisions on, inter alia, the rights and obligations of advocates. Article 13 stipulates that the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, determines the schedule of fees, and all fees are paid to the account of the collegium as a whole. The income thus accruing is shared among the members of the collegium on the basis of rules issued by the Minister of Justice. Advocates do not have a monopoly on the presentation of cases in court. Individual citizens remain free to present their own case to court. REFORM OF CRIMINAL LAW At the end of 1990 and the beginning of 1991, considerable political and constitutional changes have been made in Albania. The most significant is the adoption of pluralist democracy (the establishment of different political parties). These and other changes require extensive reform of criminal law. In addition, although the authorities stress that Albania has no problems with such offences as narcotics, organized crime or illegal trade in weapons, the new criminal law shall include provisions on these and other internationally recognized offences. During 1990, the use of capital punishment was considerably reduced (art. 22 of the Penal Code; amended by Law no. 7380 of 8 May 1990). It can now be used for only a few of the more serious offences, such as homicide, treason, terrorism, diversion (incitement to commit sabotage) and sabotage, and espionage. Capital punishment may not be imposed on offenders below 18 years of age, or on women. At the same time, the offence of treason was redefined. Unlawful migration is no longer regarded as treason, but as "illegal trespass of a border". The offence of agitation and propaganda was also redefined, so that it is now limited to acts "which are aimed at the overthrow of the social and state order established in the People's Socialist Republic of Albania", including fascist and war- mongering propaganda. As one of the results of the latter reform, the spreading of religious propaganda is no longer punishable as agitation and propaganda (art. 58, as amended by Law no. 7380 of 8 May 1990). The 1990 reform also adopted provisions on prescription of prosecution and prescription of the enforcement of sentences, as well as provisions on rehabilitation ("extinction of penalty" for those who have been reformed through re-education) (art. 39-42b, as amended by Law no. 7380 of 8 May 1990). REFORM OF PROCEDURAL LAW The authorities stress that the Albanian state has always abided by, and its legislation has always reflected, the requirements and spirit of a number of international agreements, such as the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights. Along with the changes noted above, criminal procedure is to be reformed. The most important element of this change is an emphasis on the independence of the judiciary and of the Bar. ----- Brought to you by - The 'Lectric Law Library The Net's Finest Legal Resource For Legal Pros & Laypeople Alike.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Judicial system of albania

The judicial system includes district courts, six courts of appeal and a supreme court, or Court of Cassation. The district courts are trial level courts from which appeal can be taken to the court of appeals and then to the Court of Cassation. At each of the three levels, the courts are divided into civil, criminal and military chambers. Justices of the Supreme Court serve for 7 years.
There is also a Constitutional Court (also known as the High Court) with jurisdiction to resolve questions of constitutional interpretation that arise during the course of any case on appeal. In a 1993 decision, the Constitutional Court invalidated a law that would have disbarred lawyers who were active during the communist era, and ordered the lawyers reinstated. Justices of the Constitutional Court serve a maximum of 9 years.
Parliament appoints the seven members of the Court of Cassation and five of the nine judges on the Constitutional Court, with the rest appointed by the president. A Supreme Judicial Council appoints all other judges. In 1992, the Supreme Judicial Council began to remove judges who had served under the former Communist regime.
Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, the system is plagued by a lack of resources and trained staff, and is subject to political pressure, intimidation, and corruption.
( Source : )

DAR Dibër...

coming soon...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Rule of Law in Independent Kosovo

Europe Report N°20419 May 2010
More than two years after declaring independence, Kosovo struggles with uneven rule of law and a weak justice system that is failing its citizens. The police, public prosecutors and courts are erratic performers, prone to political interference and abuse of office. Organised crime and corruption are widespread and growing. Realising that prosperity, relations with the European Union (EU) and affirmation as an independent state depend on the rule of law, the government has taken important steps, replacing key officials and passing long-delayed reforms. But critical weaknesses remain, notably in the courts, and the government, supported by the international community, must act swiftly to curtail them.
Kosovo suffers from the widespread impression that it is run by a lawless political elite in control of every aspect of society. The EU rule of law mission, EULEX, is investigating widespread corruption at the highest levels, and its efforts to date have shown gaping holes in regulation and enforcement. This reputation keeps investment out and the country mired in poverty. A two-pronged approach is needed, tightening institutions and regulation to close off opportunities for corruption while investigating the worst of past abuses.
In some respects, Kosovo’s reputation for lawlessness is exaggerated. The country has a low rate of violent crime, inter-ethnic crime is rare, and Serbs in most of Kosovo live securely. But the judicial system is weak. Few crimes end with their perpetrators in prison. Court procedures suffer from widespread distrust, fearful or unwilling witnesses and shoddy work by prosecutors. On the civil law side, it is all but impossible for citizens and domestic and international corporations to enforce their rights in court. Property disputes are widespread, and since they cannot be reliably resolved in court, occasionally degenerate into violence. The dysfunctional civil law system, choked with a backlog of cases stretching back to 2000-2001, scares off investment. Demoralised and exhausted judges both struggle under the case backlog and are dogged by a reputation for corrupion and favouritism. Plaintiffs endure baffling rounds of appeals, remands and delays, often featuring deliberate errors. Bribery and even violence have become attractive means of extrajudicial dispute resolution.
The police are one of Kosovo’s genuinely multi-ethnic institutions, with Serbs and others integrated in all regions and at all levels. They have strong public support and a willing manpower pool but are poorly managed and lack vital skills as their leadership increasingly neglects training. The force can deal effectively with routine, low-level crime but has a limited ability to fight organised crime, financial crime and fraud, drugs and human trafficking and other specialised challenges. It has a hostile relationship with the public prosecutors, who are charged with leading all police investigations of serious crime. The consequence is that the police do as they please, and the prosecutors are under-serviced and overwhelmed.
The institutions that monitor the justice system – the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC), which oversees judges, the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo (PIK), and the justice ministry, which supervises prosecutors – are not working properly. The Council is paralysed by lengthy vacancies in key positions. Its components, notably the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the Judicial Audit, responsible for investigating corruption and other problems in the courts, work well; still, their findings remain without effect because the full body cannot act. The ministry suffers from weak leadership and a lack of political support, though a new minister appointed in April 2010 is expected to improve performance.
The justice system’s weakness is visible above all in Kosovo north of the Ibar River, the small Serb-held zone that Serbia in effect controls. There is no real criminal justice in the North, as its Serbia-run courts cannot cooperate with the UN-mandated Kosovo Police (KP). Nevertheless, the North’s crime levels are similar to those of Kosovo as a whole, and the small local population thrives on handouts from Belgrade. The border between Kosovo and Serbia has become much better controlled recently, and arrests, mainly in Serbia, have cut down drastically on smuggling. But the North remains a stumbling block in relations between Kosovo and Serbia and between both of these and EULEX. Out of excessive caution, the EU has not based its police in the North, leaving the area free for organised criminal gangs. Its efforts to replenish the Mitrovica court with local judges have failed, while offending both Pristina and Belgrade.
This report surveys the domestic legal system; a subsequent report will cover international aspects of the rule of law issue.
To the President, Government and Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo:
1. Support fully efforts to investigate high-level corruption and prevent its recurrence.
2. Adopt urgently the key framework laws for the judicial system, including:
a) the laws on courts, prosecutors and the judicial and prosecutorial councils; and
b) the amended criminal code, code of criminal procedure and code of contested procedure.
3. Appoint urgently the remaining members of the Kosovo Judicial Council.
4. Establish a high-level committee bringing together donors and international representatives with their counterparts in the Kosovo government, to:
a) put the government back in control of important legislative and organisational decisions related to the rule of law; and
b) compel the police, prosecutors and internal affairs and justice ministries to cooperate in the fight on crime.
5. Double, at a minimum, the number of judges and prosecutors and bring their salaries and benefits in line with those of other branches of government service, before the full implementation of judicial sector reform and no later than 31 December 2010.
6. Provide technical help and political support to the PIK and the internal investigations unit of the KP.
7. Increase the capacity of the Mitrovica district court by:
a) facilitating the appointment of Albanian and Serb judges without violating the integrity of Kosovo’s jurisdiction; and
b) transferring appropriate tasks to qualified local and international legal staff.
To the Kosovo Police, the State Prosecutor and the Internal Affairs and Justice Ministries:
8. Improve prosecutor-police cooperation by establishing joint teams for serious cases, including specialised ones for financial and other complex crimes.
9. Mandate training for police and prosecutors in specialised work on organised crime, drugs and human trafficking, financial crimes and counter-terrorism.
10. Establish urgently a database of crimes and cases, so that police and prosecutors can work together and formulate an effective anti-crime strategy.
To the Government of the Republic of Serbia:
11. Take steps to support strengthened rule of law in Kosovo, including
a) return all official documents, including cadastral and property records and court files taken in 1999;
b) support appointment of Serb judges under Kosovo law; and
c) cooperate with EULEX and Kosovo on developing cross-border strategies to impede human trafficking and drug smuggling.
To the International Community in Kosovo:
12.  Support EULEX in investigating and prosecuting high-level corruption and acting in the North of Kosovo.
13.  Maintain strong pressure on the government to implement the rule of law and ensure that international advice and assistance are coordinated and consistent.
Pristina/Brussels, 19 May 2010
Photo credit: Ivan S. Abrams

Supreme Court of Albania

The Supreme Court of Albania  is the highest court of Albania and is the final court of appeal in the Albanian justice system. The Supreme Court of Albania is composed of fourteen judges: the Chief Justice of Albania and thirteen Judges.


Supreme Court, based in Tirana, is the highest judicial power in the Republic of Albania. Its main mission is to review, upon request of the parties, the decisions of the courts of lower instances.


The period 1913-1920 marks the first steps towards the creation of the institutions of the new Albanian state. The Assembly of Vlora and the Government of Ismail Qemali took measures about the re-organization of justice in the new independent state. With the “Kanuni i Zhurise” (Canon of Jury), approved in 1913, was predicted the creation of “Court of Dictation” and also the courts of first instance of Sub-prefectures, which were competent on judging the civil cases and offences, and also was created the court with a jury, where representatives of the people judged the penal cases. This system, that was applied in a case of Elbasan, did not give the expected results, as a result it was cancelled by a decree, date 4 June 1914, when was put in application the law about the courts of justice in Albania, in base of which the Initial, Appeal and “Dictation” courts were created. Also, by decree date 4 June 1914, were made some small changes in the organization of justice of 1913.
Period 1920-1939
During the years 1920-1939 the main problems in the justice field, that represented a great importance to our state, were the legal reform and the re-organization of the judicial institutions and the qualification of their staff. Independently of the fact that the first steps were done with “Kanuni i Zhurise” in the years 20 started to be crystallized better the organization and the functioning of the judicial system.
Until 1925 the process in the civil and penal cases was managed by:
The Courts of Peace
The 1st level Courts, which were divided in Initial courts and Collegial Courts. The Court of Dictation, ( this was the nomination of the Supreme Court) which was divided in Civil Chamber and Penal Chamber The Courts of Peace were organized in every sub-prefecture’s center and in base of such organization were divided in Courts of Peace of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd level. The Courts of Peace and the Initial Court were constituted by one judge and the Collegial Courts were constituted by one judge (the Initial Judge) and two Members. Every branch and Court of Dictation was composed by the Chairman, four Members and one Assistant-member. By decree-law on the organization of the courts of justice, date 2 May 1925, the Courts of Justice were organized in:
First level Courts
Appeal Courts
Dictation Courts (Supreme Court), with its center in the capital. The Dictation Court was still organized in two Chambers:
The Civil cases Chamber;
The Penal cases Chamber.
One Chairman, four Members, one Assistant-member, one Chief secretary and the necessary number of secretaries constituted every Chamber of the Dictation Court clerks and servants. Near to the this court were situated one Chief prosecutor, one Assistant Chief prosecutor, one secretary, one keeper of records-archivist and one servant. Each of the Chairmen of the Dictation Court presided his Chamber, but in case of the general meeting, the position of Chairman belonged to the Chairman of the Civil Chamber. During the period 1920-1940, the Dictation Court is known for its decisions of a high professional level, in a regular trial process. In the decisions of the Dictation Courts can be noticed the high quality and the scientific and convincing argument. General characteristic of the judicial practice was that the judges made efforts to protect the courts independence in distributing justice. In its decisions, the Dictation Court has showed its honesty and impartiality.
Communist Period (1944-1990)
The law for judicial organization of 1951 divides the Supreme Court into juridical colleges:
Penal college
Civil college
Military college
Disciplinary college.
Every College judged its own cases of material competence with a panel composed by the Chairman, one member of the Supreme Court and two assistants.
Interesting is the fact that the Disciplinary college used to deal with disciplinary records of popular courts, chairman and members of military courts, members of Supreme Court with a jury made of 1 Chairman or the vice chairman and 2 members of Supreme Court appointed by the Chairman. Supreme Court judged in its plenum composed of the chairman, vice chairman and all the members of the Supreme Court. The directions if the Plenum of the Supreme Court like the whole judicial thought were directed by the policy and the ideology of the communists regime. Especially, this influence has affected seriously the penal aspect, with wide interpretations on Penal Code. The generalizations of the judicial practice made by the Supreme Court have served to orientate the lower level courts so they can judge cases according the political imperatives, the ideology and that time legislation of a dictatorial state. Also the Plenum of the Supreme Court have issued directions in civil, familiar, heredity, labor and procedural matters.
Post Communist time (1992)
The collapse and fall of totalitarian communist system brought great necessary changes in all fields of life and an adoption of contemporary judicial systems. Important changes were needed also in the area of Justice so an independent judicial system could be applied in for a justice which will be focused on the principles of legacy and equality of people in front of the law based on full respect of justice.
With law 7491 dated 29.04.2001 “About the main constitutional dispositions, People’s Assembly decided that the Court of Cassation, Courts of Appeal, Courts of first instance and Military courts would compose the judicial system in Albania. As we see the name of Supreme Court has changed into Court of Cassation, which is the highest judicial authority. According to this law People’s assembly upon President’s proposal elects Chief Justice and his vice.
Judges are elected by People’s Assembly once in 7 years and reserve the right to be reelected.
Court of Cassation cannot deal with any matters of first instance, whereas regarding matters of second instance only when provided by law.
Today, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania function based on law nr. 8588, dt. 15/3/2000: “On the organization and functioning of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania”.
It is organized in a Civil and Penal panel and also in Joint Panels which judge cases defined by law. On the conditions of the new democratic system towards a democratic and united Europe the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania continues its efforts for the application of the principles of the state of law.

The Kanun and the Early Constitutional Laws

Albanians have an old tradition for law and regulations. Among the old laws is the Kanun (Canon), a sort of constitution respected by majority of Albanians throughout centuries. The Code of Lekë Dukagjini, which according to some writings was codified in the 15th century, is distinguished among several Kanuns. Kanun has provided some level of self-government for the Albanians under foreign rule and thereby democracy has been exercised. According to the Kanun, important decisions are made by Conventions of the Elderly. During the National Renaissance of the 19th century, Albanians founded the League of Prizren and in the meantime a provisional government for the Albanian-populated districts of the Ottoman Empire. The New Kanun was adopted as a program and statute for the governing bodies. This is often regarded as the beginning of the modern Albanian politics and diplomacy. In 1913, Albania was recognized as an independent country, yet the European powers decided for a constitutional monarchy headed by a European monarch William of Albania. The Constitution adopted for this period did not have much effect partially due to the rebellions against the foreign king and partially due to World War I. The 1913 borders arranged by European powers left more than half of the Albanian-populated territories outside Albania’s borders. However, right after World War I, Albania was in danger of being re-partitioned between Balkan countries and Italy. In opposition to this, Albanian leaders held Congress of Lushnjë at which they decided to defend the sovereignty of their country and fight against any foreign invasions. An interim constitution (officially known as Statute) sanctioning the monarchy was also passed. During the 1920s Albania experienced political instability and rapid succession of governments. In 1924 a revolutionary group took over by force, while six months later Ahmet Zogu crushed the revolution. In 1925 an Albanian Republic was declared under a constitution “based on the French model of the Third Republic” (IPLS). The Republic had a bicameral legislature (Chamber of Deputies and Senate) that elected a President, who was head of state and of government (Council of Ministers) for a seven-year term. Three years later, in 1928, Albania was proclaimed a democratic and parliamentary kingdom. The legislative organ consisted of one chamber, while the executive power belonged the head of state, the King, and the cabinet composed of the Prime Minister and other ministers. With the Italian fascists invading Albania in 1939, this Constitution was abolished. Fascist collaborators in Albania offered the throne to Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy, an act that heavily violated the Constitution of the Albanian Kingdom. The Quisling government established by the Italians passed a new Constitution in 1939.

Constitution of Albania

The current Constitution of Albania was adopted on 28 November 1998. It defines Albania as a parliamentary republic. According to the current Constitution, the Republic of Albania has a unicameral legislature composed of 140 deputies, who elect the head of state, the President of Albania, and the Council of Ministers that consists of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers. The 1998 Constitution is divided into 18 parts which sanction a parliamentary democracy, people’s sovereignty and fundamental rights of the citizens as well as other important points. The Constitution is said to have fulfilled all the requirements for a modern European constitution.[1] Due to political instability, Albania has had many constitutions during its short history as an independent country. Albania was initially constituted as a monarchy in 1913, briefly a republic in the 1920s, then it returned to a democratic monarchy in 1928. It later became a socialist republic until the restoration of capitalism in the 1990s.

Rule of law/Human rights in Albania

Head of OSCE Presence, Ambassador Eugen Wollfarth, hands certificates to children participating in an anti-discrimination event co-organized with the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, Tirana, 11 April 2011. (OSCE/Joana Karapataqi)

Head of OSCE Presence, Ambassador Eugen Wollfarth, hands certificates to children participating in an anti-discrimination event co-organized with the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, Tirana, 11 April 2011. (OSCE/Joana Karapataqi)

Rule of law

The Presence assists the national authorities with legislative and judicial reform, and supports the development of an effective and transparent legal system. 

Legislative support

The Presence produced a report on the legal sector that looked at all major law-related institutions and offered recommendations on projects to increase transparency in courts and other bodies in the legal sector. It regularly provides comments on draft legislation, which is usually reviewed if it is of broad public interest or affects other projects being implemented by the Presence. It works to increase public participation in drafting legislation and has assisted the drafting of the State Police Law, the Law on the Office of Internal Control, probation legislation and secondary legislation to implement these laws.
The Presence supported the creation of the Office of the People’s Advocate and continues regularly to assist this institution. It also supports the Civil Service Commission with its efforts to increase professionalism and freedom from political interference, and has provided input on draft legislation to create administrative courts.

Judicial reform

The Presence’s Fair Trial Development Project has published three reports, which looked into courts in Tirana and major cities, as well as into criminal appellate proceedings. It is currently preparing a study based on a closer review of civil trial proceedings in courts.
The Presence follows the implementation of the Law on Protection of Witnesses and Collaborators of Justice and its secondary legislation. It holds a deputy chair position in the International Consortium Working Group on Witness Protection, which works with the police.
The Presence is also working on a project to raise the ethics standards of the judiciary and to modify legislation in order to provide effective remedies when ethics violations are noticed.

Human rights

Activities to promote minority rights are an important part of the Presence's work, particularly efforts to improve the situation of Roma people. In co-operation with its four Project Offices, the Presence assesses the conditions of pre-trial detention facilities and monitors the observance of prisoners’ rights to be treated with humanity, dignity and respect while in detention.
Working with civil society organizations, support was provided in the drafting of the Law against Discrimination. The Presence is helping to draft secondary legislation to help implement this law.
(Source  Presence in Albania )

Courts & Judgments

Albania's civil law system is similar to that of other European countries. The court structure consists of a Constitutional Court, a Supreme Court, and multiple appeal and district courts. The Constitutional Court is comprised of nine members appointed by the Assembly for one 9-year term. The Constitutional Court interprets the Constitution, determines the constitutionality of laws, and resolves disagreements between local and federal authorities. The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal and consists of 11 members appointed by the President with the consent of the Assembly for 9-year terms. The President chairs the High Council of Justice (HCJ) which is responsible for appointing and dismissing other judges. The HCJ is comprised of 15 members--the President of the Republic, the Chairman of the High Court, the Minister of Justice, three members elected by the Assembly, and nine judges of all levels elected by the National Judicial Conference.
The remaining courts are each divided into three jurisdictions: criminal, civil, and military. There are no jury trials under the Albanian system of justice. A college of three judges, who are sometimes referred to as a "jury" by the Albanian press, render court verdicts.
Source: U.S. Department of State

Albania's assembly

Albania's unicameral assembly (Kuvendi) consists of 140 seats, 100 of which are determined by direct popular vote. The remaining seats are distributed by proportional representation. All members serve 4-year terms. The Speaker of Parliament has two deputies, who, along with 13 parliamentary commissions, legislate Albanian affairs.
The President is the head of state and elected by a three-fifths majority vote of all Assembly members. The President serves a term of 5 years with one right to re-election. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and approved by a simple majority of all members of the Assembly. The Prime Minister serves as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (cabinet), which consists of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and other ministers. Members of the Council of Ministers are nominated by the Prime Minister and approved by the President.
Source: U.S. Department of State

Monday, August 20, 2012

4th Judicial Reform Index for Albania Released

USAID, 4th Judicial Reform Index for Albania Released

USAID, 4th Judicial Reform Index for Albania Released
Tirana, April 10, 2009    The American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), with support from the U.S. Mission through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), released today the 4TH Judicial Reform Index for Albania, at an event at the Magistrates School in Tirana.
“A strong judiciary is the key to Albania’s long-term success,” said USAID’s Mission Director to Albania, Roberta Mahoney in remarks at the ceremony. “The United States Government is firmly committed to the development of an effective, impartial and democratic judicial system in Albania.”
Mahoney urged legal professionals to use this assessment to build a transparent and fair judicial system comprised of professionals guided by principles of integrity and independence. She also underscored the importance of justice sector reforms to foreign direct investments and reforms in Albania’s public administration.
The Judicial Reform Index (JRI) is an assessment tool implemented by ABA ROLI in order to assess a cross-section of factors important to judicial reform in emerging democracies. The JRI is designed to help international organizations, donors, and local partners to better target judicial reform programs by creating a quantifiable measure of their impact. It also functions as a tool to refine program implementation and monitor progress towards establishing an accountable, effective, and independent judiciary in the country.
The JRI for Albania examines Albania’s judiciary through a prism of thirty factors reflecting the most fundamental characteristics of successful judicial systems.  The JRI explores such issues as judicial education, and qualifications and appointment procedures of judges; independence and transparency of judicial decisions and judicial powers; budgetary considerations and issues of compensation; maintenance of trial records; adequacy of court staff and facilities; access to laws and other legal information; and ethics; discipline; and self-government.  ABA ROLI previously implemented JRIs for Albania in 2001, 2004, and 2006.