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 : )

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