The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: A NATO Ally, Albania struggles with wide-spread corruption, weak institutions, and a limited economy, but continues to be an active and willing partner for the United States in regional security efforts. Transnational organized criminal networks based in the Balkans and abroad have a direct impact on the United States through criminal activities, some internet-based and some through trafficking.
Goals: The United States seeks to foster a democratic and stable Albania that is fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community and adheres to the rule of law. INL programs work to strengthen the rule of law and build the capabilities of Albanian law enforcement to more effectively interdict crime and serve as capable partners on transnational criminal threats. Programs also promote judicial accountability and the long-term development of the criminal justice system through legislative reforms and the successful prosecution of organized crime, corruption, and financial crimes.
Accomplishments: INL assistance to the Government of Albania contributed to the following successes:
- Establishment of a process to recruit and select prosecutors for the Special Structure against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK), Europe’s only constitutionally protected, vetted prosecution office with jurisdiction over corruption, organized crime, and the crimes of high-level officials.
- Implementation of the recruitment, testing, and vetting of candidates for Director of the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI).
- Revision of the Criminal Procedure Code and civil forfeiture law to develop a broader scope of victim rights. INL assistance helps Albania to implement these critical changes with workshops, the training of victim assistance coordinators throughout Albania, and the drafting of guidelines for victim rights.
- Support to the International Monitoring Operation with an embedded Resident Legal Advisor who, with international partners, oversees a system to vet judges and prosecutors for unexplained assets, ties to organized crime, and competence.
- Establishment of a tailored nationwide Police Case Management System in use by over 7,000 officers to document Albanian State Police response to citizens’ requests for service, which allows for increased accountability, investigation integrity, accurate data on criminal activity, and investigative actions.
- Deployment of nationwide Traffic Fine Management System to eliminate opportunities for police corruption which was cited by citizens as the most common corrupt interaction with government services. This system increased accountability, accuracy, and options for electronic payment resulting in an eight-fold increase in revenue and the disappearance of complaints related to fine payment process.
- Creation of the first-ever polygraph examination unit in Albania in support of National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) vetting requirements which produced five American Polygraph Association-certified examiners.