Albanian Prosecution Says it Cannot do its Duties

The prosecution office in charge of investigations says its competencies are in limbo because of the incomplete state of judicial reform in Albania.

640x480 General Prosecution
General Prosecution

Albanian law experts are expressing alarm over what they call “MPs’ negligence” in providing constitutional transitory arrangements designed to enable the normal work of current law institution until new ones are created.
The Albanian General Prosecution office warned on Thursday that it is now unable to perform all its duties until new institutions – that will assume some of its competencies – have been set up.
Sokol Hazizaj, former Vice-Minister of Justice and an expert on law, told BIRN that politicians have to deal with the issue speedily as a constitutional impasse had been created.
“Imagine the incidents that can happen … I see no institution fully in charge to take over its duties now,” he said in reference to the Prosecution Office.
Hazizaj said the only way to handle the situation is a session of parliament and the approval of a transitory provisions in the constitution that allow the Prosecution Office to continue normal work until the establishment of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, SPAK.
Up to now, the General Prosecutor was in charge of conducting initial investigation into senior officials, MPs, ministers and judges, but, following constitutional amendments passed by parliament on July 22, this right to launch investigations into these categories of officials belongs to the SPAK.
However, the law that will create the SPAK has not yet been adopted.
“Under the new constitutional provisions, the right to conduct investigations into these officials belongs to SPAK. The General Prosecutor considers the lack of a structure that will conduct investigations at this level until the creation of SPAK problematic,” the Prosecution Office statement reads.
“Equally problematic is the need to find an emergency solution for cases of investigation that are currently under judgment or investigation,” it continues.
The statement of General Prosecutor also emphasized that the institution is in limbo regarding the right to promote prosecutors all over the country.
“The new constitution has taken away the General Prosecutor’s right to decide the careers of prosecutors and given it the High Prosecutorial Council, KLP.
“This new structure should be established within the next eight months and up to then an impasse is created in some levels of the prosecution,” the same statement reads.
The new constitution also hands the right of inspecting and control over prosecutors to the KLP, leaving the General Prosecution unclear about what to do with cases currently under its own monitoring.
The judicial reform package in Albania, compiled with the expertise of EU and US justice missions in the country and suggestions from Venice Commission, aims to end the widespread corruption in the justice system noted in a series of European Commission progress reports and in polls of the perceptions of Albanian citizens.

Balkan Insight 

5 September, 2016