*SEED: Support for East European Democracy
** AEECA: Assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) programs work to strengthen the rule of law, and establish a culture of lawfulness in Albania, by supporting the development of strong law enforcement and judicial institutions that are resistant to corruption. Specifically, programs focus on promoting judicial accountability, enhancing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, developing police capacities in management/leadership, training, academy operations, internal control and organized crime/corruption investigation, anti-trafficking (people, narcotics), border and port security, procurement and information management.
In the justice sector, INL funds are used to train prosecutors, improve the competence of the judiciary, establish model transparent and service delivery-orientated courts, foster the implementation of key legislation, interconnect prosecutors with law enforcement information management systems, strengthen audit institutions, establish a computerized prosecution case management system, and improve civil society monitoring. In Albania, INL works through the Department of Justice, Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP).
OPDAT has established the highly regarded Joint Investigative Unit, comprised of top police and prosecutors, which have actively investigated and prosecuted a number of public corruption cases involving high level officials. There are two Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) in Albania, one embedded with the Joint Investigation Unit (JIU). The JIU model has been replicated in regions outside Tirana, and neighboring countries have come to Albania to seek their advice and assistance in standing up their own JIUs.
OPDAT has contributed to several important pieces of legislation, which have greatly increased the ability of police and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute criminal activity; including the anti-Mafia civil forfeiture law, which went into use soon after it passed, witness protection, asset forfeiture – all critical tools in investigating and prosecuting organized crime.
The ICITAP program provides technical assistance and training through full time resident advisors in the following areas: Integrated Border Management, Port Security, Police Standards, Training and Human Resource Development, Total Information Management System (TIMS), Anti-Corruption, and the Police Development Center.
Specific accomplishments in these program areas include:
Compliance with the International Shipping and Port Security Code (ISPS)
ICITAP advised the Port of Durres in making substantive improvements in physical security, procedures, training, and equipment, and in 2009 a US Coast Guard inspection found Albania to be in compliance with ISPS standards. As recently as 2005, Albania was on the US Coast Guard’s “black list” of ports that did not meet international security standards.
Establishment of a Maritime Administration
ICITAP assisted the Albanian Ministry of Transport in establishing a Maritime Administration to oversee the operations of port facilities and vessels operating under the Albanian flag.
Transparency Hiring Practices in the Albanian State Police (ASP)
As a result of intensive ICITAP-led mentoring and oversight the recruitment cycle included; widely publicized vacancy announcements, standardized, anonymous written testing; physical and psychological screening; and physical agility testing, the ASP successfully conducted the first-ever modern, transparent recruiting cycle in the history of the country. The policies and procedures adopted will deter nepotism and corrupt hiring.
Merit Based Promotion Standards Adopted by the Albanian State Police (ASP)
ICITAP provided technical assistance in revising the ASP promotion policy manual, and provided advice and training in conducting leadership assessment evaluations as part of the promotion process. These efforts resulted in a promotion cycle lauded as fair and transparent by participants and upper management. This led to the first merit-based promotion of officers from the operational ranks into middle management. Previously, a police officer with experience was limited in promotion opportunities while management appointments were made based on politics, bribes, or nepotism.