1- A repproach for the Prosecutor’s Office
Around mid May, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Nasip Naco, reported in the Parliamentary Committee of Laws regarding inspections made from the Ministry of Justice in the Prosecutor’s Office, during the period 01.03.2014 – 01.03.2015. The inspection of the Ministry of Justice is an external control, evaluated as a possibility to ensure harmonization of the work of different powers and ensuring the balance and coordination to serve the state criminal policy.
From a statistical point of view throughout the checks, 1200 criminal proceedings were inspected of which 830 belong to the First Instance Prosecutor and 370 to the Appeals Court. Based on these control reports, the Minister of Justice recommended to the General Prosecutor the start, within this year, of disciplinary proceedings for 6 prosecutors, whose activity had infringements, taking under consideration the principle of proportionality and repercussions of infringements noted.
One of the recommendations of the Minister of Justice for 2014, was making Prosecutor’s requests for criminal acts that foresee at least 5 years in prison harsher, especially for corruption charges, organized crime; illegal possession and production of weapons; illegal construction and stealing electricity. Meanwhile, the inspection has identified among others that despite the fact that prosecutors of first instance courts have complained regarding the sentences given by the court, appeals prosecutors either have not increased the sentence or have not appealed the decision when the Appeals Court upheld the decision of the first instance court. This situation has brought a reaction from the General Prosecutor’s Office, which is expected to explain in a special report the reasons why it did not follow the government’s policies for specific crimes such as: illegal construction; stealing of electricity and driving under influence.
2- What about the reform?
Last month we offered a detailed analysis on the progress of justice reform as one of the 5 key priorities to open accession negotiations with the EU. Since the analysis concluded with a slow rhythm in implementing the reform, while on the other hand Prime Minister Rama promised its implementation within September 2015, the expectation was that many things would have been achieved during this month. However, our findings (at least those published as public information) show that little has been done in this direction. The only event was the conduct of six roundtables to introduce the analytic document on the justice reform as follows: Anti-Corruption Strategy; Justice System; Criminal Law; Financing and administration of Justice Budget; Education and Free Professions, organized on 4-8 May by the Albanian Assembly in cooperation with EURALIUS (Project of EU Assistance, which will support and assist main Albanian institutions to bring their performance closer to EU standards by December 2017).
The roundtables were attended by a large number of participants and interested parties like the High Council of Justice, the Supreme Court, representatives of District Courts, Civil Society, Ombudsman, observers of foreign representations, professors of law etc, invited to discuss the findings and problematic issues in the entire justice system, identified by the Analytic Document of the Albanian Assembly.
Comments collected from participants and interested parties, although not yet summarized in a public document, will serve for the second phase of this reform, which is ‘’Adoption of a Strategic Document for the Justice Reform’’.
3- Local elections: Security measures in prisons
Mr. Nasip Naco, Minister of Justice, made public during May a plan of measures related to increasing security in the prison system during the election campaign for the June 21 local elections, where among others he ordered a halt in special permissions from May 21 until July 1.
Heads of all Penitentiary Institutions received several recommendations that aim to increase security and prevent involvement of people in conflict with the law during this period, as well as voting in each such institution from all prisoners that fulfill legal criteria.
Through his speech the minister expressed once more the will of the Albanian government not to allow taking advantage from the state’s power towards prisoners or engagement of criminal elements to maximize political results. Politically the speech is correct and the measures seemingly within expectations, but how to avoid corruption of vote in these institutions? We are one of the few countries with a large number of immigrants abroad with no right to vote, maybe for technical reasons, but above all because they cannot be part of rallies, cannot be offered jobs and whose votes cannot be calculated. What can we say for people suffering a sentence, whose votes can be easily calculated and easily bought in exchange for special permissions or even worse under pressure from ‘’tough guys’’?
1- Euralius. Maj 2015. Tryeza te rrumbullakëta mbi reformën ne drejtësi.
2- Ministria e Drejtësisë. Maj 2015. Zgjedhjet vendore. Plani i masave për rritjen e sigurisë.
3- Ministria e Drejtësisë. Maj 2015. Mbi inspektimet ne prokurori. http://www.drejtesia.gov.al/al/newsroom/lajme/ministri-naco-raporton-ne-komisionin-e-ligjeve-mbi-inspektimet-ne-prokurori&page=1
4- Panorama.al. Maj 2015. Ministria e Drejtësisëpërplaset me Prokurorinë.