Applicable Legislation - Presidential Decree No. 1188, dated 10.08.1995 "On the Judicial Police" and the Criminal Procedure Code (articles 30, 31, 32 and 33). The Judicial Police Officers respond both to prosecutors and police superiors.

The organisation and the competencies of Judicial Police in the Republic of Albania are regulated by the Presidential Decree No. 1188, dated 10.08.1995 "On the Judicial Police".

According to the system set up by the Decree and the Criminal Procedure Code, the judicial police in the Republic of Albania is organised in various sections which are attached to the Offices of the District Prosecution. The relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code envisage that the law may attach sections of the judicial police to other bodies that are active in the criminal investigation process.

From its very nature, the Judicial Police, exercises its investigative functions, for the most part, in strict co-operation with the Prosecution. The Judicial Police officers are supposed to investigate criminal offences that are reported to the Prosecution Office as well as any other case assigned to them by the prosecutor (article 3 of the decree). Moreover, they (the Judicial Police officers) are supposed to perform their duties under the supervision, orders and directives of the prosecutor in compliance with the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (article 4 of the decree).

Whereas the scope of duties for the Judicial Police and the procedure whereby such duties are performed are relatively clear, the place of the force in the overall Government hierarchy has been a major source of turbulence that has affected the efficiency of the criminal investigation in the past and present time.

Namely, while officers of the judicial police are expected to act under the supervision and orders of the prosecutors as indicated above, the latter have no administrative authority whatsoever on the officers of judicial police.

This solution is provided for in articles 5 and 6 of the present Decree which stipulate respectively that the officers of the Judicial Police are part of the administrative structure of the police and that the prosecution and courts do not dispose administratively any of the police structures (read judicial police), but make use, however, of their services in order to perform smoothly their investigation (the prosecution) and judicial (the courts) activity.

Needless to say that such a complicated structure of the hierarchy has brought about institutional tension at the expense of the fight against crime. Even article 7 of the Presidential Decree which obliges the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Defence and all other heads of police structures to co-ordinate their efforts so that the functions of the judicial police are carried out smoothly and in conformity with the orders of the prosecutors, have proved to be of little effect.

Article 10 of the Decree complicates the situation even further as it stipulates that "the nomination, transfer and dismissal of the judicial police officers ……of the district prosecution offices are made at the order of the Prosecutor General. The nomination, transfer and dismissal of the judicial police officers …of the various police structures are made by the heads of these structures, upon the approval of the Prosecutor General".

It might be of some use to know that the Judicial Police Force consists of the so-called officers and agents. The former must hold a bachelor's degree (preferably law degree) and the latter may have only a high school degree.

Already from a formal point of view (let alone the actual malfunctioning), regulating the organisation and duties of the Judicial Police with a Presidential Decree is not correct under the light of the new constitution of 1998. Consequently, the Government of Albania is preparing a draft law On Judicial Police to be adopted by the Parliament (please find attached a hard copy of the English version of the draft law). Hopefully, the new law will address the present problems and provide a lasting and functioning solution to the question of Judicial Police.

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Institute for Policy & Legal Studies 2000