Key to success against organized crime

Key to success against organized crime

Analysis/Without an efficient and professional justice system and without a cross institutional coordination of the activity of all law enforcement agencies, there cannot be a constant and successful fight against organized crime. In order to achieve this objective, there must be an increase of efficient cooperation between justice institutions, in order to strengthen the rule of law, to lead a harsh war against organized crime, improve the quality of investigation and prosecution

By Xhezair Zaganjori

Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of Albania

Organized crime poses one of the biggest threats for the security and development of a country. It bears very negative implications of a political, social and economic nature. The free movement of people and the opening of international markets in our region was also accompanied with the internationalization of organized crime. Criminal organizations started to take their criminal activities across national borders by “benefiting” from the shield of the sovereignty of states, differences or obstacles in legal systems, lack of cross border coordinated cooperation, bureaucracy, the self isolation of justice system operators and the lack of knowledge as to the danger that this phenomenon poses for society and state.

For these reasons, in the recent years, fight against organized crime in our region too has been the focus of international organizations and different states, especially those who have a consolidated democracy and experience.

Among the first measures in this aspect have been the efforts for the elimination of legal and institutional barriers by increasing cooperation between law enforcement agencies in preventing and efficiently tackling organized criminal groups on a regional level and on other levels.

Nevertheless, there’s still a lot to do in this aspect. The European Union has justly appealed to all Western Balkan countries, including Albania, to be more engaged in an efficient war and concrete results  in the constant battle for the strengthening of the rule of law, especially the judiciary system and other law enforcement agencies; fight against organized crime and corruption.

***

In order to intensify the striking power against organized crime, Albania saw the creation  and functioning of courts for serious crimes and respective prosecutions, as specialized institutions which investigate and try dangerous crimes for the state and society. For a more coordinate and inclusive approach of the efforts of justice institutions in the fight against organized crime, there was the approval of the “Cross sector strategy of the fight against organized crime, traffic and terrorism”, the scope of which was to determine the strategic priorities of the fight against organized crime.

In spite of this, without an efficient and professional justice system and without an institutional coordination of the activity of all law enforcement agencies, there cannot be a constant and successful fight against organized crime.

In order to achieve this objective, it’s necessary to have more efficient collaboration between justice institution, in order to strengthen the rule of law, to lead a harsh fight against organized crime, the improvement of the quality of investigation and criminal prosecution.

***

In Albania, criminal prosecution is an exclusive attribution of the Prosecution. It plays a crucial role in the prevention and fight against criminal elements. Although prosecution is centralized, it’s necessary to strengthen the independence of the Prosecutor in the phase of the holding and assessment of investigations.

In the fight against organized crime, it’s necessary to have a better cooperation between all operators of the justice system, especially between prosecutors and judges.

Based on the legal and constitutional framework and international obligations, the Albanian court and prosecution are obliged to closely collaborate on issues of extradition, mutual legal assistance, exchange of information, transfer of criminal proceedings, confiscation of assets, the recognition of judicial verdicts, etc.

There are many positive changes and results in this aspect. Nevertheless, we must do more in order to achieve the required results. For this, it’s necessary to undertake reforms for the improvement of the legal framework.

For a successful fight against organized crime, which knows no border to meet its goals, it’s necessary to have an increase of the level of collaboration between the countries of the region and with international partners, in order not to allow organized crime to strengthen and have a negative impact on the social, economic and institutional life, thus seriously threatening the life of the citizens and preventing development in our countries.