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Counternarcotics and Law Enforcement Country Program: Albania


Fact Sheet
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
January 20, 2009

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Challenges

Current  Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) activities encourage the Government of Albania (GOA) to combat organized crime and corruption, and help it develop the tools to do so through: legal reform; police development and professionalization; automated information systems; training for prosecutors and judges; and assistance with asset forfeiture, witness protection, and special investigative techniques. At the same time, we continue to promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation in law enforcement activities to combat trafficking and terrorism. The success of these law enforcement programs will contribute significantly to the GOA's ability to deal with border security and crime issues.

U.S. Programs

INL programs have provided assistance to the GOA since 2000, with the aim of strengthening criminal justice institutions, enhancing the capacity of criminal justice personnel to combat complex and transnational crime, and implanting the rule of law in Albania. We have assigned an experienced U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutor to Albania on a full-time basis as a Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) since 2000, to implement legal assistance programs. A second RLA was assigned in 2008.

Our work in Albania continues to be aimed at criminal justice issues that are both substantive and structural. Substantively, the top priorities of legal assistance are combating corruption, money laundering, organized crime (including trafficking in persons and narcotics) and terrorist financing. Structurally, legal assistance work is focused on:

(a) achieving implementation of important new laws in the realm of criminal procedure, witness protection, terrorist financing and asset forfeiture;

(b) realizing greater coordination between prosecutors and police, as well as greater coordination with other law and civil enforcement offices;

(c) enhancing prosecutorial effectiveness, through improved methods, equipment and structures;

(d) providing advanced training to prosecutors and police members of the recently created Joint Investigative Unit (JIU) to Fight Economic Crime and Corruption and other specialized corruption and financial crime prosecutors and police officers;

(e) increasing capacity nationwide to combat money laundering and financial crime; and (f) enhancing the computerized information management capabilities of the prosecutors’ offices.

As the Albanian Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Albanian State Police (ASP) have transitioned toward democratic civilian policing, our law enforcement support programs focused efforts on the growing problems of trafficking in humans, narcotics and other contraband, organized crime, and criminal intelligence. Throughout 2007, continued progress was made, resulting in the new State Police Law, border and port security advancements, police basic training reforms, and the establishment of automated police information and intelligence systems. In 2008, our programs continue to provide assistance to the MOI, ASP, and other GOA entities. Given Albania’s recent accession into NATO in April 2008, the U.S. Mission in Tirana continues to advance security and the rule of law as critical to Albania’s integration into Euro-Atlantic organizations and development in other sectors. INL assistance to the GOA will support ongoing police reform and service enhancements in police administration, operations, and training. INL assistance will also provide a greater emphasis on police integrity and accountability, and the management of human resources.



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