The Office of the Prosecutor in the Republic of Albania, from a constitutional point of view, is independent (it does not belong to any of the classical branches of Government). The language of the Constitution (article 148 and 149) is very clear in that regard. It stipulates that "In the exercise of their powers, the prosecutors are subject to the Constitution and the Laws".

The drafters of the Constitution had to give up their original idea to make prosecution a part of the executive branch.

The Prosecutor's Office is a centralized authority, organized in three levels, that functions near the System of Justice. The prosecutors are assigned to the district courts, the appellate courts and the Prosecutor's General Office. The prosecutors exercise their functions not only in ordinary courts but also in military ones.

Under the Constitution, the office of the prosecutor is expected to exercise criminal prosecution and represent the accusation in the courts in the name of the state.

Anyway, the office of the prosecutor may take on other duties set by law.

The General Prosecutor is the highest authority in the hierarchy. The President of the Republic, with the consent of the Assembly appoints the General Prosecutor. The President of the Republic is ultimately in charge of the appointments and dismissals of other prosecutors upon a proposal from the Prosecutor General.

Bearing in mind the centralized nature of the Office of the Prosecution and for the sake of its independence, the General Prosecutor is strongly entrenched in his/her position. Namely, he/she may be discharged by the President of the Republic upon the proposal of the Assembly and only for violations of the Constitution or serious violations of the law during the exercise of his duties. Mental or physical incapacity, as well as acts and behavior that seriously discredit the position and reputation of the prosecutor (this is the language of the constitution) constitute yet another ground for the dismissal of the General Prosecutor.

In line with the constitutional concept of independence, the General Prosecutor merely informs the Assembly from time to time on the status of criminality.

Under the former Constitution, the Office of the Prosecutor was regarded as part of the judicial power. Nominations, dismissals and disciplinary proceeding of prosecutors were made by the High Council of Justice, which consisted at that time of both judges and prosecutors.

Following the advent of the present constitution in November 1998, the Office of the Prosecutor needs a new legal regulation that would reflect the shift of the office from the judiciary into absolute independence. In fact, a new law on the Office of the Prosecutor is already under way.

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Institute for Policy & Legal Studies 2000