»Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit / The Code of Lekë Dukagjini«, optryk af Shtjefën Gjeçov's Albanske udgave fra 1933 samt oversættelse til Engelsk ved Leonard Fox. Gjonlekaj Publishing Company, New York 1989. Jeg planlægger at skrive en artikel om bogen engang i løbet af 2003.
Margaret Hasluck: »The Unwritten Law in Albania«, Cambridge University Press, Camb. 1954 [bogen ser overordentlig grundig og nyttig ud, men jeg har endnu ikke læst den; forhåbentlig bliver det senere på 2003].
Anne Knudsen fortalte om 'hævn' i P1 12.5.2001 (i Birgitte Rahbek's »Synsfeltet«). Hvis du har installeret RealPlayer kan du høre indslaget ved at klikke på flg. adresse: http://www.dr.dk/p1/synsfeltet/audio/2001/011205th.ram [Der er problemer med link'et; måske er klippet forsvundet?]
OSCE har i februar 2004 udsendt en omfattende rapport om retsforholdene i Albanien.
Nedenfor følger første del af forordet hvor rapporten præsenteres:
The Rule of Law is the backbone of democracy. When actions of the state are based on these principles, the population is more likely to have confidence in authorities and to work with each other as members of one society. Absent the Rule of Law, people function very individualistically. The Rule of Law pre-supposes a functioning legal sector that provides guidance on the basic rules governing social organisation and helps to ensure their application. For these reasons, and generally to contribute to the Rule of Law, the OSCE has prepared this report on the current state of eleven elements of the Albanian legal sector.
Public Confidence in the Legal Sector Must Improve
The Legal Sector Report shows that public confidence in the Albanian legal sector is low. Such public confidence is necessary for economic development, as it creates a climate where investors are secure that they are on a fair playing field, where banks have security that delinquent loans can be retrieved, and where people pay their taxes, which in turn serve for improving infrastructure. The legal sector is a key actor in ensuring that culture develops, as it ensures that basic rules for television, schools, or publishing are enforced. With a non-functioning legal sector, people generally feel insecure. The key element in the creation of public confidence is the belief that rules agreed to in a democratic manner are followed by the entire society and by state structures.
One chapter in this report is on the Office of the Bailiff in Albania. We find that citizens throughout the country have considerable difficulties in enforcing court judgements. Often bailiffs simply do not have the necessary resources; sometimes the legal framework is faulty. Most disturbing, however, is that citizens who win monetary judgements against the Albanian state often find it especially difficult to execute their title. This violates the principle that the state and those exercising power on its behalf must obey rules just as any citizen must.
We also see several methods used by immediate superiors to prevent prosecutors from carrying out their duties in accordance with the law. They argue that they can be prevented in their career advancement if they refuse to sign documents they consider to be improper. They complain of harassment through unreasonable oversight of their routine duties. Prosecutors claim that important cases are often assigned outside official assignment structures. As long as state employees in key functions do not feel secure in their positions when they carry out their duties in a conscientious manner, and as long as official routines are easy to circumvent, the public will not have confidence in authorities. Albanian notaries frequently are responsible for poorly drafted contracts or worse, for false certification of property ownership or transfers. This action leads to numerous court cases in spheres where security is crucial for economic development, for until title to property is reliable, investors will choose other places to locate their assets.
The Legal Sector Must Operate More Transparently
Transparency is a major issue in this report. When an actor in the legal sector behaves in a transparent manner, people will be far more likely to have confidence in that actor. A system that is transparent must necessarily seek to eliminate corrupt elements. It should be noted that corruption is a phenomenon in which some people become involved involuntarily. For that reason, it is important for the legal sector to protect its participants against involuntary corruption. For those who are voluntarily corrupt, the legal system must apply sanctions in a strict and uniform manner.
The legal sector in Albania possibly has a reputation that is worse than it deserves. This results from people not understanding how institutions function and thus becoming suspicious. We have suggested improvements with a view to eliminating distrust. In a transparent system, corruption is considerably more difficult than in a nebulous one; when people understand processes they are less likely to assume that they are corrupt.
The Purpose of this Report
The ultimate goal of the Legal Sector Report is to help establish a transparent legal system, working for and trusted by the Albanian people. Therefore each chapter gives an overview of what the OSCE considers priorities in legal sector reform. Each chapter also seeks to explain how the various parts of the legal sector are meant to function from a legal point of view. This is meant primarily for those working in other state institutions and for international organisations. It is hoped that these descriptions will help these organs in their contact with the legal sector.
The OSCE intends to develop projects to address several of the recommendations made in this report. It is hoped that the Albanian authorities and other international organisations will also consider the recommendations important and will develop projects where the OSCE does not have the resources to act. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the development of projects likely will require additional research. The Legal Sector Report is a long document even without great details on the exact implementation strategies for various legal sector reforms. It is hoped, however, that the Legal Sector Report will serve as a catalyst for change in that it gives ideas for change and the introductory information necessary for developing useful projects.
EU & Europarådet om korruption og organiseret kriminalitet i Albanien (1998)
Octopus(1998)55 - Albania Strasbourg, 22 July 1998 (public as from 17 November 1998)
CORRUPTION AND ORGANISED CRIME IN STATES IN TRANSITION (Octopus)
Joint project between the Commission of the European Communities and the Council of Europe
Final Recommendations and Guidelines for action addressed to the Government of Albania
Report prepared by Professor William C. GILMORE
For further information concerning this document please contact: Ludovic AIGROT, Programme Officer, Council of Europe, Directorate of Legal Affairs, Division of Crime Problems, F-67075 STRASBOURG CEDEX (Tel : (33) 388 41 2354, Fax : (33) 388 41 2794/3745)
The expert's comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council of Europe, the Commission of the European Communities or the authorities for which the expert works.
1. OVERVIEW AND ASSESSMENT
In every phase of the "Octopus Project" the Albanian authorities have emphasised the high degree of concern which they have over the problems associated with organised crime and corruption and the gravity of the challenge posed by these phenomena.
At the Conference held in Sofia, Bulgaria in December 1996, the then Minister of Justice of Albania stressed the seriousness of the threat which criminality poses to human rights and civil liberties and the extent to which it undermines efforts to build a real democracy within the framework of the rule of law. The very considerable seriousness of the current situation was underlined by the presentation made by the Albanian delegation to the Octopus Project Evaluation Conference held in Strasbourg in early December 1997. In that context reference was made to the growing involvement of organised crime groups in a broad range of activities including financial fraud, trafficking in drugs, stolen vehicles and arms, prostitution, and the smuggling of migrants and of contraband. In several of these areas there are acknowledged links with organised crime groups in other countries. Similarly, the Albanian delegation noted the connection between the activities of such groups and the growing perception of the prevalence of corrupt practices. From the contributions to the Sofia and Strasbourg meetings and from the information supplied by the Albanian authorities in response to the Questionnaire and subsequently, it is clear that organised crime and corruption are significant contributory factors to the seriousness of the current problems facing the country and are deserving of priority attention.
It is also apparent from the information provided by and the dialogue conducted with the Albanian authorities that there is an awareness of the complexity of these phenomena and of the need for a multi-faceted strategy to respond to them in an effective manner. Similarly, there is a growing appreciation of the transnational dimension to these issues and of the consequent need to enhance international co-operation and co-ordination.
In spite of the many constraints and difficulties faced in the recent years of transition and in the dislocation following widespread civil unrest in 1997 some progress has been recorded. There is, for example, a willingness to consider the need for the modernisation of aspects of the criminal justice system and to embrace new strategies and concepts. In the context of their participation in the current project, for example, the Albanian authorities have identified a range of issues, both domestic and international, which constitute sources of difficulty that need to be addressed in a creative manner.
In the light of the response of the Government to the project questionnaire, the content of its contribution to the Sofia Conference and information supplied immediately thereafter, certain recommendations and guidelines for action were prepared in March 1997 (Octopus (97) 19). These sought to reflect existing or emerging standards of best practice and relate them to the situation prevailing at that time in Albania. In this regard recourse was had to the recommendations and other texts emanating from, inter alia, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the United Nations and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.
Unfortunately the outbreak of significant civil unrest during 1997 necessitated a delay in the sending of an expert mission to Tirana to evaluate the implementation of the recommendations and guidelines for action. This was eventually dispatched in June 1998 and was composed of Mr. L. Aigrot (Council of Europe) and Professor W. Gilmore (United Kingdom). Importantly, this study visit provided the valuable and necessary opportunity to assess, in consultation with Ministers, Senior Officials, the Attorney General and representatives of the Judiciary, the extent to which the proposed measures were appropriate to local circumstances or had been overtaken by developments since they were first formulated. Attention was also paid to the feasibility of the implementation of the suggested measures and to the identification of potential obstacles. Excellent arrangements put in place by its hosts in the Ministry of Justice facilitated discussions with a range of relevant individuals in, among others, the Ministries of Justice, Public Order and Finance. The expert mission was also received by Mr. Kastriot Islami, Vice Prime Minister of Albania. The expert mission would like to take this opportunity to record its thanks to the Government of Albania for the kindness and co-operation afforded to it during its stay.
The expert mission also took advantage of its visit to Tirana to meet local representatives of a number of international institutions, governments, and Non Governmental Organisations with an interest in relevant issues. These included discussions with, among others, the European Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Western European Union, the OSCE, the Italian Special Mission and the Embassy of the United States of America. The expert mission wishes to extend its thanks to all who so readily gave of their time and valuable insights.
The original recommendations and guidelines for action formulated under date of 17 March 1997 have been amended, as appropriate, in the light of the findings of the expert mission. Account has also been taken of other relevant developments, including the conclusions and resolutions of the 21st Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Prague, 10 - 11 June 1997), the Declaration and Action Plan adopted by the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government (Strasbourg, 10 - 11 October 1997), Resolution 97(24) on the Guiding Principles for the Fight Against Corruption (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 6 November 1997), and the European Union Action Plan to Combat Organised Crime (adopted by the Council of the European Union during 1997). The revised and final version which follows should be understood as suggestions that the Government of Albania may wish to consider in assessing its priorities and areas of focus.
2. SUGGESTED RECOMMENDATIONS AND GUIDELINES FOR ACTION
As noted above, the Government of Albania has recorded some progress in putting in place various initiatives, particularly in the field of legislation, designed to improve the effectiveness with which the relevant authorities can confront organised crime and corruption. For instance, the law on the organisation of the judiciary passed on 18 December 1997, as well as the standing rules for the organisation and the functioning of the High Council of Justice appear as promising steps towards the reorganisation of the judiciary. The creation of the role of inspector among judges and prosecutors (judge/inspectors, prosecutor/inspectors) with authority to verify violations of disciplinary measures by judges or prosecutors also promises to be a useful tool in efforts to combat corruption. Importantly, it has also clearly indicated a recognition that criminal justice measures, initiatives to improve international co-operation, and preventative strategies all have important contributions to make. Similarly, the establishment of several specialist units in the Ministry of Public Order with responsibility for addressing issues relevant to the fight against organised crime constitutes a recognition of a need for continuous policy development and assessment in that important sphere.
A recent and highly significant recognition of the need to adopt a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to policy formulation in these complex areas is provided by the 30 January 1998 Decision of the Council of Ministers on the establishment of a Drafting Commission to elaborate Institutional Plans on the fight against corruption. This important initiative was further consolidated by an Order issued on 17 February which settled the composition of this inter-ministerial commission. Its major functions are to develop short and medium term proposals to combat corruption and improve the functioning of public administration in collaboration with relevant international institutions. The Commission, which has formed several working groups, was expected to present its proposals for discussion at an open workshop which was due to be held in conjunction with the World Bank and others at the end of June 1998.
While the nature and extent of the proposals of the Commission were not available to the expert mission it wishes to afford its full support to the process which has been put in place. However, it is understood that, at present, no similar procedure for the formulation of a comprehensive policy in respect of organised crime is envisaged. It is accordingly recommended that consideration be given, as a matter of high priority, to establishing or identifying an appropriate mechanism through which a comprehensive approach can also be adopted to the formulation of policy in respect of efforts to effectively address the issue of organised crime and its acknowledged relationship to the problem of corruption.
2.1 GOAL: improving the assessment of corruption and organised crime
For the policy formulation process in the spheres of organised crime and corruption to operate efficiently and effectively in the identification of initiatives appropriate to the particular circumstances faced by the Albanian authorities it is essential that the deliberations of those involved be as fully informed as possible as to the actual situation prevailing within the country including an appreciation of the relationships which exist with those involved in similar criminal activities in third countries. It would appear from the dialogue conducted with the Albanian authorities to date that there are serious deficiencies in the current arrangements such as would be expected to impede the process of the formulation of appropriate policies. It is recommended that existing procedures for data collection and analysis in relevant spheres be subject to critical review with a view to articulating a strategy designed to secure appropriate improvements.
It is also of the greatest importance that policy makers have available to them appropriate research on the nature and extent of organised crime and corruption in Albania. This is of particular importance in providing a basis upon which to build a proper understanding of any special national or regional characteristics and specific risks. This need has been clearly recognised in the planning process for the June 1998 workshop on corruption mentioned above. In particular it was envisaged that the discussions at that time would be informed by the results of empirical research designed to shed light on the nature and scale of corruption in Albania. It is of considerable importance that steps are taken to build on such studies and to extend the reach of relevant activities to embrace organised crime. It is accordingly recommended that the Government consider the adequacy of its existing policy in relation to support for research in relevant areas.
2.2 GOAL: improving public awareness of the dangers of corruption and organised crime and related matters
In its response to the Questionnaire Albania indicated that the mass media, and especially television, radio and the press, afforded considerable coverage to the issues of organised crime and corruption. At the Sofia Conference its delegation also highlighted the positive role which the media can play both in raising public awareness and in contributing to the prevention of relevant offences. Discussions with, among others, the Minister of Public Order also served to underline a growing recognition of the benefits to be derived from greater public awareness and involvement.
It is recommended that consideration be given to the possibility of devising a comprehensive strategy in this sphere. Any such strategy might include the following elements:
- Public education - Developing education programmes to create a culture of morality and legality
- Public awareness - Implementing measures to raise public awareness regarding the effects of organised crime and corruption, enlisting the support of the public, the mass media and the private sector for efforts against organised crime and corruption.
- Channels for complaints - Informing the public of effective channels for the submission of complaints and the identification of methods of redress.
- Channels for reporting - Establishing effective channels for voluntary reporting of incidents of corruption and organised crime (the offering of rewards, the establishment of anonymous hotlines, publicity campaigns).
- Providing appropriate protection to "whistle blowers" and other informants from adverse consequences.
2.3 GOAL: prevention of corruption and organised crime
Albania has indicated an appreciation of the considerable importance which should be attached to preventative measures and strategies in any comprehensive programme to combat organised crime and corruption. Indeed, certain initiatives have already been taken in this area such as the 1996 law on the declaration of personal property by civil servants (though discussions in Tirana indicated that effective utilisation and enforcement of this measure remains problematic).
Similarly, the Albanian authorities have drawn attention to their desire to articulate and give effect to a strategy for the prevention of money laundering. This initiative is consistent with the broad consensus which has developed over recent years that action to address the problem of the laundering of the proceeds of crime cannot rely exclusively on penal measures. The financial system itself must also play a positive and constructive role through prevention. This is not only because financial institutions are well positioned to detect illicit transactions and thus to assist the relevant authorities to counter the process of the consolidation of the economic power of criminal organisations. It also, and importantly, helps to ensure that public confidence in the emerging banking structure and other institutions, is not undermined by association with criminals. It is recommended that a high priority be afforded to the early conclusion and effective implementation of this initiative appropriate steps being taken to ensure its consistency with relevant international norms and standards as reflected in, inter alia, the 1991 EC Directive and the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force. It is noted in this regard that Albania participates in the work of the Council of Europe Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures (PC-R-EV) and that its progress in this and related spheres is thus likely to be subject to international review in due course.
From the information supplied by the Albanian authorities it would appear that relatively little use has been made to date of codes of conduct for public officials or for other groups and professions exposed to corruption. The expert mission was, however, briefed on the Code of Ethics, possessing legislative force, which has been elaborated for members of the law enforcement community and of the ongoing efforts to put in place a structure to facilitate its effective enforcement. The adoption of such codes, and their effective implementation, has come to be regarded in specialist circles as of crucial importance especially in efforts to combat corruption. This issue has been afforded a high priority by the Council of Europe Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption as well as in other international discussions. It is recommended that a similarly high priority be afforded to the formulation of a code or codes of conduct for Albanian public officials and other relevant groups which are not yet covered and to the early and effective implementation of any such code or codes.
More generally, it is suggested that in the context of the formulation of a comprehensive policy, as suggested above, to counter organised crime and corruption, due attention should be paid to the adequacy of existing policies of a preventative nature and the possibility of taking new and supportive initiatives. Among the issues which should be subject to consideration in this regard are:
- relevant regulatory and administrative mechanisms;
- policies and procedures concerning transparency in decision-making;
- policies and guidelines concerning the identification and treatment of conflicts of interest; and
- the adequacy of current policy concerning the prevention of unjust enrichment by persons holding positions of public trust.
2.4 GOAL: increasing the effectiveness of crime control policies
From the response to the Questionnaire it is clear that Albanian law contains a broad range of criminal offences relevant to efforts to combat the phenomena of organised crime and corruption. Indeed, it is apparent that in recent years particular emphasis has been placed on the strengthening of the criminal justice system in these spheres. It is understood that several initiatives have been taken to increase the effectiveness and scope of the legislative framework. Notwithstanding these accomplishments the Albanian authorities have identified the inappropriateness and ambiguity of legislation as being among the factors which continue to give rise to difficulty. This issue was given particular emphasis in discussions held with members of the Judiciary. It is accordingly recommended that a review be undertaken of both existing and draft legislation with a view to the identification of such deficiencies and the formulation of proposals for change.
It would be prudent if the scope of any such review was extended to embrace an assessment of the need for any new criminal justice initiatives including any that might be required in order to facilitate improved harmonisation and international co-operation (see 2.8 below). Any such process should include consideration of the adequacy of existing legislation and criminal justice policy in the following spheres:
- the legal definition of corruption and organised crime;
- the legal consequences flowing from membership of a criminal organisation or participation in its activities;
- the nature and scope of provisions permitting the confiscation of the proceeds of crime;
- the use of the criminal law to make enterprises answerable for relevant offences committed in the exercise of their activities without exonerating from liability natural persons implicated in said offences (corporate criminal liability); and
- the extraterritorial application of relevant laws and the criminalisation of the corruption of foreign public officials, the officials of international institutions, and like persons.
It is understood that the possibility of establishing a Law Reform Commission is currently under discussion. Should this proposal meet with approval serious consideration should be given to making these issues a high priority for early action by it.
2.5 GOAL: increasing the effectiveness of regulatory policies in the control of corruption and organised crime (other than criminal)
The potential for, and the complexity surrounding, the greater use of non-penal measures in the fight against corruption has been increasingly emphasised in recent years. For instance, the use of the civil law in this context was afforded a high priority in the Council of Europe Programme of Action Against Corruption adopted by the Committee of Ministers in November 1996. Similarly one of the guiding principles for the fight against corruption adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 6 November 1997 is "to ensure that civil law takes into account the need to fight corruption and in particular provides for effective remedies for those whose rights and interests are affected by corruption". There also appears to be scope to better utilise civil and administrative measures in efforts to address organised crime. Possibilities would include, inter alia, reviewing the relevant law relating to contracts and unfair competition to identify possibilities for the use of monetary and civil measures (for example, withdrawal of licences; taxing of the proceeds derived from offences; liability for damages; "black-listing" of persons convicted of certain offences from submitting tenders for public procurements). It is suggested that consideration be given to undertaking or promoting further study of the ways in which the civil law and other non-penal measures could take into account more fully the need to combat corruption and organised crime, including instances with a foreign element.
2.6 GOAL: modernising investigative means in a manner consistent with the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and other relevant instruments
Given the nature of organised crime and corruption offences law enforcement authorities often face significant difficulties in obtaining adequate evidence through reliance on traditional investigative means. For this reason it has become common elsewhere for national legislatures to make provision for additional and often intrusive special investigative means to be utilised subject to judicial or other appropriate forms of approval or supervision in order to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Such techniques include, among others, wire-tapping, electronic surveillance, undercover operations and controlled delivery. From the response to the Questionnaire and the discussions held by the expert mission it would appear that Albania permits a limited number of special investigative techniques to be utilised. It is recommended that a review be undertaken of the adequacy of existing provision in this regard with a view to the formulation and implementation of a policy designed to enhance the ability of the law enforcement authorities to obtain evidence related to organised crime and corruption. Any such policy should also address how best to facilitate international co-operation in these spheres taking full account of human rights and similar implications.
A closely related issue is the need to provide appropriate and effective measures to encourage co-operation with criminal justice agencies in the provision of evidence and in affording adequate protection to collaborators of justice and witnesses. Considerable concern was expressed to the expert mission by judges and officials in various Ministries over current law and practice in this area (particularly in respect of corruption) as well as to the adequacy of existing forms of protection for other vulnerable targets such as judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials. It is recommended that the adequacy of existing provision in these areas be reviewed in the light of emerging standards and best practice as reflected in, among other sources, the Programme of Action Against Corruption, as adopted in 1996 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the November 1995 Resolution of the European Council on the protection of witnesses in the fight against international organised crime, the Council Resolution of December 1996 on individuals who cooperate with the judicial process in the fight against international organised crime, and Recommendation No.R(97)13 concerning intimidation of witnesses and the rights of the defence adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in September 1997.
2.7 GOAL: improving the efficiency and effectiveness of relevant agencies, including co-operation among agencies
Given the difficulties and complexities often posed by corruption offences and crimes perpetrated by organised crime groups it has come to be generally accepted that special attention needs to be paid to a number of issues which can have an impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. These commonly include arrangements for inter-agency co-operation, the sufficiency of the resources for investigation, the availability of appropriate investigative skills (such as financial investigation), and the procedures for the sharing of sensitive information among relevant operational bodies in a timely and secure manner. Concern over the current position in these spheres was articulated in several of the meetings held by the expert mission with the relevant Albanian authorities. In relation to co-ordination, for example, deficiencies were identified at both the operational and policy levels although it was noted, in respect of the latter, that one of the duties of the new Commission drafting the institutional plan against corruption was to secure the efficient collaboration of the main ministries and other relevant actors. It is recommended that an early assessment be undertaken of the adequacy of existing arrangements in these spheres with a view towards the early formulation of practical steps to be taken to secure necessary improvements.
2.8 GOAL: improving the efficiency and effectiveness of international co-operation
In its meeting with the Vice Prime Minister the expert mission was made aware that Albania recognised the importance of international co-operation and co-ordination in efforts to combat organised crime and corruption. Dialogue with the Ministry of Justice and other bodies reinforced this perception which flows, in part, from a recognition of the significance of international links between organised crime in Albania and third countries. In recognition of this reality particular emphasis has been placed on improving operational cooperation with neighbouring countries on a bilateral basis. At a multilateral level Albania became a full Party to the European Convention on Extradition and its two Protocols in May 1998 and at the same time signed the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Notwithstanding these very welcome developments it has not thus far arranged for full and formal participation in a number of other key multilateral treaties. As the response to the Questionnaire indicates, however, the absence of such participation in relevant agreements is regarded as a significant factor contributing to difficulties in international co-operation. This state of affairs is self-evidently unsatisfactory and requires an urgent response.
It is recommended that, as a first step, Albania considers taking immediate steps to become formally bound by, and to fully implement, the 1988 United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The need for this course of action is indicated by a number of factors including the significance of organised crime involvement in drug trafficking in Albania as well as other countries within the region, the extent to which the same drug trafficking groups are believed to resort to corruption to facilitate their activities, and the reported emergence of narcotics cultivation within Albanian territory.
Positive and early action by Albania on this matter would bring it into line with the great majority of European states which have already taken this step. Implementation of its obligations would also result, of necessity, in a further significant movement towards the harmonisation of legislative approach in an area of common concern and provide a solid and modern basis for co-operation in the areas of confiscation and mutual legal assistance.
It would be prudent if in formulating alterations of law and practice necessary to give effect to the obligations imposed by the 1988 Convention consideration were afforded to the possibility and desirability of extending their scope beyond drugs to encompass other crimes; especially those connected with corruption and other forms of organised crime. Such an approach would also ease the process of securing full and effective participation in other important multilateral arrangements. In this regard, it is recommended that a high priority be afforded to taking the necessary steps to become a full party to:
- the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959; and,
- the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime of 1991.
Given the acknowledged centrality of these instruments the Government is urged to consider establishing a tight time-frame within which the above developments would be expected to take place.
This is also a time in which significant progress is being made in the elaboration of other agreements within the framework of the Council of Europe which are of great potential relevance in assisting Albanian efforts to combat corruption. It is suggested that, in particular, the relevant Albanian authorities focus on the Draft Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and the Draft Agreement Establishing the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) with a view to formulating, in a timely fashion, a policy concerning possible participation in the regimes envisaged by them.
Achieving participation in relevant international treaties is an important but not a sufficient step in securing the goal of effective co-operation. The experience of other European countries indicates the considerable frequency with which difficulties in this sphere can be traced to the nature of, or lack of familiarity with, domestic laws, practices and procedures. Among the practical issues which have been identified as being of importance are the effectiveness of existing channels of communication, the availability and formal acceptability of the use of modern means of communication, and the level of awareness, both domestically and internationally, of the relevant legal and procedural requirements. It is accordingly recommended that appropriate steps be taken to ensure the maximum effectiveness of relevant practices and procedures and to increase the level of awareness of users of the same. In the latter context the formulation of guidance notes along the lines included in the Council of Europe document entitled European Convention on Extradition: A Guide to Procedure (PC-OC/Inf(96)4, Extrad) might be considered.
A further approach which has commended itself to numerous governments has been to examine the possibility of reforming and modernising domestic laws relating to relevant forms of co-operation with a view to the identification and elimination of unnecessary barriers to co-operation, and to the modernisation of the law in the light of developing international practice. It is suggested that the Government of Albania consider undertaking such an assessment of domestic law in this sphere to determine its adequacy in the face of the particular challenges posed by organised crime and corruption.
3. CONCLUDING REMARKS
The Government of Albania has, in spite of the significant difficulties posed by the process of transition, recorded progress in its efforts to put in place laws, regulations, procedures and structures through which it intends to make the environment increasingly inhospitable for those who engage in both organised criminality and corrupt practices. Some of these measures, particularly in the sphere of legislative modernisation, have been drafted but have yet to complete the formal processes which will result in their entry into force. In other relevant areas, however, progress has been much less marked.
It is hoped that the suggested recommendations and guidelines articulated above will prove to be of assistance in moving forward the process and contribute to the formulation and effective implementation of a comprehensive programme which addresses the twin evils of organised crime and corruption.