1 December 2006
A discussion of the new draft law concerning the State Police was held on 1 December 2006 at Tirana International Hotel with the broad participation of the civil society and the financial support of the Soros Foundation. The round table called “Decentralization and community policing” centered around the new draft-law on the State Police. Particular attention was paid to comparisons of certain provisions in the existing law and the way they appeared/disappeared in the new draft. Concern was expressed over the fact that the drafting process was kept closed thus not allowing for the input and comments of civil society organizations. Among the various issues discussed at the round table mention can be made:
- The draft law was not submitted to a broad professional discussion with the participation of leaders of the various levels of the State Police; Neither did it draw the input of civil society stakeholders, thus leaving out valuable insights especially by human rights groups.
- The fact that many provisions in the present law are left out from the new draft-law such as article 57 (relations with the public), article 58 (relations to the public administration), and article 59 (relations with the local government) may create the premises for cutting off the direct relations of the State Police with the communities and community representatives at the local level of government.
- The new draft is ambiguous in many instances. The flaws in the use of legal terms may create space for misinterpretations and coverage of abusive acts.
The discussion was organized by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation, the Association of the Municipalities, the Albanian Helsinki Committee, the Albanian Human Rights Group, the Albanian Center for Human Rights, the Center for Parliamentary Studies, the Forum of Free Thought, and the Association of Albanian Communes. In addition, the round table was attended by experts, representatives of PAMECA and ICITAP, OSCE, the Delegation of the European Commission, the Council of Europe, former police leaders and senior police experts, media representatives, etc.
The organizers published an open letter addressed to the parliamentary commissions on law and national security in which they demand that the deadline for the draft law’s submission and voting by the Parliament be postponed so that experts and stakeholders are given the opportunity to provide their input and comments towards improving the draft-law on the State Police.