Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Push for Judicial Reform in Albania

At a conference organised by the EU and US delegations in Tirana, participants called for reform of Albania's criminal code and changes to immunity rules that protect judges and politicians from prosecution.

Besar Likmeta


Tirana | Photo by : Pedrag Bubalo/ Flickr

Speaking during the roundtable on Friday, US Ambassador in Tirana Alexander Arvizu stressed that Albania’s criminal code was problematic in at least four areas, according to experts.

Arvizu identified Albania’s constitutionally guaranteed immunity for judges, parliamentarians and other high government officials as a significant problem, describing the practice as an “outdated privilege.”

“While many European countries offer various types of limited immunity to certain government officials, Albania stands alone in Europe in limiting almost all investigative activity,” said Arvizu.

“For investigations to be successful, they must be secret, while the current system requires the Prosecutor General to disclose not only the investigation but also much of the evidence which has been gathered in order to successfully lift immunity and proceed further in the investigation,” he added.

Arvizu said that the criminal code has strict time limits on criminal investigations which, according to both prosecutors and police, prevent the effective investigation of certain types of complex cases, especially corruption and financial crimes. .more see:

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