Support to the justice system in Albania
Development of alternative conflict solving methods
By Hans Henrik Brydensholt, Senior Legal Advisor
Miqλsia er albansk og betyder venskab
support to the People's Advocate (Ombudsman)Out of a total budget of 40 mio. d.kr. for the legal sector, Dibra alone has got 20 mio. d.kr.
support to the General Prosecutor's office
support to the Judicial Inspectors
support to the Law School, University of Tirana
support to the Magistrate School
support to Media Reform
support to the Dibra region
Chairman Mr. Artan Hoxa [Hoxha], Judge of the Supreme CourtThe aim of the Technical Committee is to develope and implement a comprehensive plan for the Danida programme. The plan should insure a high degree of co-ordination between the activities on the central level and between the central level and the Dibra-project. The main reason for the Danida support to the Dibra region is to have a testing ground for general reforms. The Technical Committee will in its work analyse possible ways of improving the existing institutional and legal framework of the legal sector.
Ms. Arjana Fullani, Director of the Magistrates' School
Ms. Luljeta Laze, Director of Judiciary Budget Administration
Mr. Dhimiter Prifti, Chairman of the Judicial Inspectorate of the High Council of Justice
Mr.Izmet Shameti, Head of Section, General Codification Directorate, Ministry of Justice
Mr. Ardian Visha, General Prosecutor's Office, Head of the Division for Foreign Relations
Mr. Sψren Stig Andersen, Danish Legal Sector Adviser
Ms. Iva Zajmi, Assistant to the Danish Legal Sector Adviser
Tirana Legal Aid Service
Legal Aid Clinic of the Tirana Law Faculty
Womens Legal Center
Institute for Mediation and Democracy
Magistrates' School's Department of Mediation
Tuesday 20 Nov.
Arrival at Rinas. Transportation to Tirana International Hotel
|14.30||Briefing with SSA|
|15.30||Meeting with Mr. Rasim Gjoka|
|17.00||Meeting with Mr. Grunnet and Mrs. Ibrahimi, CoE|
|19.30||Election evening with Danish expatriates|
Wednesday 21 Nov.
Meeting with Ms. Schaar, ABA-CEELI
|12.00||Meeting with Head of Codification Directorate Mr. Dvorani|
|16.00||Meeting with Mr. Artan Hoxha|
|17.00||Meeting with Chief Justice Mr. Kondi|
Thursday 22 Nov.
Meeting with Ms. Imholz, OSCE
|11.00||Meeting with Mr. Gilles Lacan, CoE|
|13.30||Lunch with Sψren Knudsen|
|15.00||Preparation for workshop|
Friday 23. Nov.
Conference by Institute for Democracy and Mediation
|10.00||Meeting with Minister of Justice Mr. Sokol Nako|
|12.00||Meeting with Mrs. Fullani and professors of Magistrates' School|
|14.00-18.00||Workshop with the Technical Committee and other interested parties|
Saturday 24 Nov.
Meeting with Mr. Rakipi
|11.00||Board meeting in AFCR|
Sunday 25 Nov.
Lunch with Advocate Perparim Kalo and Ardiana Kalo, TLAS
|18.00||Meeting and dinner with People's Advocate Mr. Dobjani|
Monday 26 Nov.
Meeting with President of Constitutional Court Mr. Abdiu
|10.15||Meeting with Mr. Ibrahimi and Mr. Dhima, IPLS|
|13.00||Meeting with President Mr. Meidani|
Internal work proceduresOn the other hand, specialized functions and capabilities concern areas, which are mainly dealt with at central level or in the bigger districts, e.g. organized crime, economic crime, drug crime, trafficking, international cooperation.
Cooperation and coordination with other prosecution offices - horizontal as well as vertical
Cooperation with the police and the judicial police
Cooperation with other public entities
The practical preparation of a case for the procedure in court
Non-fulfillment of legal requirementsThe lack of a concise description of uniform procedures also implies a wide range of problems in regard to institutional development, e.g. introduction of management tools, new IT, formulation of training programmes, etc.
Lack of transparency
In the context of transfer from one district to another: Difficulties of getting accustomed to new and different practices
Dependency of the younger prosecutors
Vulnerability towards corruption
To utilize the well-established contacts between Danida and the Danish authorities, not least the Danish General Prosecutor, thereby inter alia ensuring a high degree of commitment on the Danish sideSecond, the study and the other outputs will require certain skills relating to project work, such as:
To facilitate the coordination with other components of the Dibra project (e.g. the police component)
Overall management of the activities according to the detailed management structureA consultancy firm will be hired to perform these tasks (Terms of Reference for the consultancy are attached to this document as Appendix X). If possible, an Albanian firm will be chosen for the following reasons:
Gathering, compiling, and presenting data originating from observations at the District Offices, interviews with the staff etc.
Drafting of the report
Preparing a suitable design for the draft manual and coordination of its drafting
It will have a prior knowledge and understanding of the Albanian contextExperience in project management and institutional development should be given priority in choosing the consultancy firm whereas the legal expertise will be ensured by the participation of Albanian and Danish experts.
To support the development of the Albanian management and consultancy capacity
To avoid excessive costs
To minimize linguistic difficulties due to the participation of Albanian and Danish experts and in cooperating with District Prosecution Offices
A list of Albanian experts, who will participate in the study of the District Prosecution Service. (The GPO)The consultancy firm will be responsible for preparing the report and the draft manual, which, however, will be based upon or reflect the input of the Albanian and Danish experts.
Identification of Danish participants with expertise hi the functioning of the Prosecution Service at district level. (Danida/the Technical Committee, the Danish General Prosecutor)
Identification of a consultancy firm, which will be responsible for coordinating the study and preparing the report. Terms of Reference for the consultancy. (The Technical Committee)
A comprehensive report on the functioning of the District Prosecution Service containingo A detailed description of the tasks of the District Prosecution Service A draft manual for the District Prosecution Service with a comprehensive description of procedures, timing, formulas, etc. including, but not necessarily limited to, the following aspects:
o A detailed description of the work procedures with appropriate use of graphs and figures
o Identification of work procedures, which can be improved with or without organizational or legal changes
o Identification of areas where there are or - if changes are carried out - will be need for trainingo Internal work procedures Issuing of a manual based on the abovementioned draft. (The GPO)
o Case management
o Cooperation and coordination with other prosecution offices horizontally, i.e. with other District Prosecution Offices, as well as vertically, i.e. with the GPO and the appeal level
o Cooperation with the police and the judicial police
o Cooperation with public authorities and other entities
o The practical preparation of a case for the procedure in court
Identification of Albanian experts based on a dialogue between the GPO and the Technical CommitteeThe Technical Committee/the Legal Sector Adviser will supervise the implementation of the different components of the project and will offer advisory assistance.
Identification of Danish experts based on a dialogue between Danida/the Technical Committee and the Danish General Prosecutor, possibly carried out through meetings between the Legal Sector Adviser and representatives from the Danish General Prosecutor
Formulation of Terms of Reference for the consultancy (the Technical Committee)
A tender procedure to select the consultancy firm (NB: This will depend on legal requirements, Danida policy, and the practical need) and signing of contract (the Technical Committee/Danida)
Visit by Albanian experts to Denmark in order 1) to get acquainted with the functioning of the Danish Prosecution Service at District Level and 2) to meet the Danish experts, who will participate in the project, and to discuss with them the implementation of the project (Undecided)
Study of the three District Prosecution Offices in Dibra Region (the Albanian and the Danish experts and the consultancy firm)
Drafting of a comprehensive report on the functioning of the District Prosecution Service (the consultancy firm)
Preparation of a draft for a manual for the District Prosecution Service (the consultancy firm)
Between two and four experienced prosecutors or other staff- from the General Prosecutor's Office and perhaps from Dibra Region - whose availability hi the project period should be guaranteed, e.g. at least 40 hours per monthThe District Prosecution Offices of Mati, Bulquize, and Dibra will provide the following input:
Detailed input for and coordination of training activities identified in the report when this has been approved
Active cooperation with the team of experts and consultants.The Technical Committee will provide the following input:
Supervision and advisory support.
Funding (estimated at USD 80.000 very tentative! - see below under "Budget and financing")
Ensuring the participation of Danish experts
A baseline study of the District Courts in Dibra Region in order to obtain a comprehensive insight into the administration of the courtsThe project will be implemented as an integrated part of the pilot project in Dibra in accordance with the strategy of a broad support to the legal sector and the surrounding civil society.
A report with the findings of the study, analysis, possibly recommendations for changes, and detailed description of training needs
A draft manual to be issued by the Ministry of Justice or with the consent of the Minister to assist the courts in implementing the administrative rules correctly
At present a secretary is attached to one or two judges and sits with them in the same room. Their main responsibility is "to take care" of the one or two files lying on the judge's desk. Thus, many resources are not being used to the full extent.In order to develop a manual for the administrative staff, which meets the needs of the courts, it is necessary first to deliberate how the provisions of the Regulatory should be applied and what difficulties such an application will imply for the courts.
The communication with the public is very deficient and characterised by a lack of transparency. A specific function in charge of this task does not appear to be established within the present organisation of the district courts.
The clerks, who take notes during the process, are often not able to cope with the rythm of the procedure in the courtroom. Due to lack of appropriate training and qualifications, the notes are often not accurate and make incorrect use of technical terms.
The system of notification does not function satisfactory because of multiple deficiencies, e.g. lack of infrastructure and registers. It also appears that an insufficient level of education and commitment plays a role.
It appears that the judge during the judicial process in the courtroom as well as elsewhere has to perform various tasks, which are purely administrative and which could well be performed by non-judicial staff.
To utilize the well-established contacts between Danida and the Danish authoritiesThe Albanian and Danish experts will be referred to as a team.
To facilitate the coordination with other components of the Dibra project (e.g. the police and the prosecution component)
To provide the Ministry of Justice with a draft manual for the administrative staff of the courtsAdditional objectives include:
To perform a baseline study of the functioning of the District Courts including proposals for changes and detailed description of training needs
To enhance the functioning of the judiciary in Dibra
To strengthen the coordinated strategy of the Dibra Project as regards the involvement the courts
To develop the relationship between the Albanian and the Danish judiciary
Identification of 2-3 Albanian experts from the Ministry of Justice and representative the judiciary, who will participate in the project (Ministry of Justice, National Conference of Judiciary)
Identification of Danish participants with expertise in the functioning of the District Court and Court Administration. (Danida/the Technical Committee, the Danish Office of Court Administration)
A baseline study of the District Courts in Dibra Region covering a number of issues including, but not limited, to the following:o How is the legal division of competencies and responsibilities?(the expert team)
o How is the actual division of competencies and responsibilities?
o Who performs the various tasks of the court, and when?
o How is the cooperation between judges, chancellors, and other administrative staff?
o How does the administrative staff fulfil their tasks?
o How is the level of training of the administrative staff?
The findings of the baseline study will be presented in a comprehensive report, which will include:o A detailed description of the work procedures(the expert team)
o Analysis and identification of work procedures, which can be improved with or without organizational or legal changes
o Identification of areas where there are or - if changes are carried out - will be need for training
A draft manual for the District Court administration with a comprehensive description of procedures, timing, formulas, etc. The manual shall be hi accordance with the Regulatory on the Organisation and Functioning of the Administration of the Judiciary taking into account possible changes proposed hi the report and approved by the Ministry if Justice, (the expert team)
Chairman, Mr. Artan Hoxha (AH), Judge of the Supreme Court
Ms. Arjana Fullani (AF), Director of The Magistrates' School
Ms. Luljeta Laze (LL), Director of Judiciary Budget Administration
Mr. Dhimiter Prifti (DhP), Chairman of the Judicial Inspectorate of the High Council of Justice
Mr. Izet Shameti (ISh), Head of Section, General Codification Directorate, Ministry of Justice
Mr. Ardian Visha (AV), General Prosecutor's Office, Head of the Division for Foreign Relations
Mr. Sψren Stig Andersen (SSA), Danish Legal Sector Adviser
Ms. Iva Zajmi (IZ), Assistant to the Danish Legal Sector Adviser
A comprehensive work plan should be prepared.
The members, in particular AH, will participate more actively in the drafting of the documents, which constitute the basis of the discussions within the Committee.
At every meeting there will be a very brief summary on the development of the various activities.
At the end of the minutes from the meetings there will be a short recapitulation of the main points.
At suitable intervals, a document summarizing the main achievements of the Committee will be forwarded to main stake holders, i.e. the Minister of Justice, the General Prosecutor's Office, the Chief Justice, the High Council of Justice, etc.
The Committee should convene more frequently, e.g. twice a month.
Assessment of problems facing institutions due to frequent legislative changesSuch an activity is much needed. It was proposed to hold a seminar with high-level participation. The precise objective/expected result would, however, have to be defined.
Possible ways to support to the Inspectorate under the High Council of Justice in the present situationThis topic was discussed together with the next topic.
How to use the judges' declarations of assetsThis was found to be a topic of high priority. DhP especially stressed the need for assistance, as this is a task, which the Inspectorate does not have any experience with. The objective of an initiative in this field should be to support the Inspectorate in performing the task, the method should be to employ an international consultancy company, and the outcome should be a report, which will form the basis for deciding on the need for further steps, e.g. disciplinary measures.
Introducing community service as alternative to imprisonmentAll members agreed that there is an outspoken need for developing alternatives sanctions to that of imprisonment. The penal code provides for such alternatives but there is no institutional framework for execution of community service. It was agreed that using Dibra as testing ground for executing such sanctions would be an appropriate way of assisting the government in institutionalising community service on national level.
Land property CommissionThe Committee found that this is not an urgent issue.
Strengthening of mediation in judicial contextsThe Committee found that this issue should be further elaborated after the Conference on mediation arranged by the Magistrates' School together with the Council of Europe.
A commercial publication centre for legal publicationsAsked to do so by the Committee members, SSA elaborated further on this topic. Today, very few Albanian legal books are published. In most, if not all, Western countries, certain publishers have specialized in legal publications. Normally, such publishers have close links to the legal community. This set-up has several obvious advantages. The publisher will, for instance, have the necessary insight for identifying areas of law in which there is a sufficient market for economically profitable, or at least sustainable publishing activities. Further, the publisher will be able to assess whether there are potential authors with the required capacities, and, if the answer is affirmative, who would be most suitable. The principles of market economy are thus the underlining principle of the publishing activities. This, however, does not constitute any unhealthy restriction on the amount and quality of publications. On the contrary, the experiences from Western countries indicate that publication of legal texts is very attractive and profitable, and gives rise to intense competition among various publishers.
Reduction in number of judges (Meta wants 50% cut within state administration and double up on salary. How much could the number of judges be reduced?)
The challenges facing the Bar Association and its future roleIn the opinion of the Committee, this issue should not be given priority at the moment.
1) Have we achieved what we expected?
2) Have we fulfilled the Terms of Reference?
3) Have we contributed Actively to the development of the Albanian legal sector?
4) What is the value of gathering representatives from different institutions?
5) What is the future of the Committee?Based on the discussion of the meeting on 3 October 2001, some ideas to what a detailed work plan might contain is included in a separate, attached document.
6) Is there a need for changes in the Terms of Reference and/or composition of the Committee?
7) Make a strategy for the future work
8) Consider the content of a detailed work plan
1. IndependenceIt is necessary to agree on/formulate a strategy in order to ensure the fulfillment of the conditions. But it is also necessary to have "creative planning", i.e. input from creative persons/individuals. Lastly, political planning is indispensable in order to ensure that the political forces will not obstruct initiatives. These three facets are uniquely united in the Technical Committee.
2. Incorrupt judiciary
3. Professionalism: recognized legal standards, effective transparent administration, human resources, working conditions
Set-up of institutions within the legal sector in accordance with recognized principles
International Conventions including ECHR
Need for the courts
Political will for development
National Conference of the Judiciary as organ of self-reliance within the judiciary
Functioning structure for the budget of the judiciary
Poor judicial standard
Poor administrative staff
Management information system
Dependence of other agents
Too few judges in some districts
Resisting pressure (media, politicians)
General weaknesses in the sector are inherited from other parts of the public sector
Career ladder unclear
Too many judges
Procedures relating to prosecution
Distribution of judges
Uncertainty relating to relationship between budget for judiciary and state budget
Unclear structure concerning the relationship between court president and chancellor
Alternative conflict resolution:
- arbitration Membership in EU
National Judicial Conference
Alternative conflict resolution
Donor support disappearing
Legal changes in structures
Informal and undemocratic rules
The system is not better than its weakest link: important that no institutions lack behind
Verification and investigation procedures relating to the judges' declarations of assetsThe participants raised different questions relating to the verification and investigation procedures relating to the judges' declarations of assets.
Community service as alternative to imprisonment
Problems facing institutions due to frequent legislative changes
Mr. Thimio Kondi, President of the Supreme Court
Mr. Artan Hoxha, Judge in the Supreme Court, Chairman of the Technical Committee
Mr. Sokol Como, President of Tirana District Court
Mr. Bujar Musta, President of Elbasan District Court
Mr. Ardian Dvorani, Director of the Codification Department in the Ministry of Justice
Mr. Sokol Pasho, Director of the Judicial Organization Department in the Ministry of Justice
Mr. Izet Shameti, Specialist in the Codification Department, Ministry of Justice, member of the Technical Committee
Ms. Arjana Fullani, Director of The Magistrates' School, member of the Technical Committee
Ms. Luljeta Laze, Director of Judiciary Budget Administration Office, member of the Technical Committee
Mr. Ardian Visha, General Prosecutor's Office, Head of the Division for Foreign Relations, member of Technical Committee
Mr. Gilles Lacan, Legal Counsellor in the Council of Europe, Tirana
Ms. Alba Ibrahimi, Attorney in the Council of Europe, Tirana
Mr. Ylli Manjani, Legal Counsellor in the OSCE Presence in Albania
Ms. Gina Schaar, Liason Officer of ABA-CEELI, Tirana
Mr. Hans Henrik Brydensholt, Judge in the Eastern Division of the Danish High Court, Senior Legal Adviser of Danida Programme in Albania, moderator of the workshop
Mr. Sψren Stig Andersen, Danish Legal Sector Adviser
Ms. Iva Zajmi, Assistant to the Danish Legal Sector Adviser
In strengthening the mediation process and increase the number of conflicts solved through the mediation alternative.
Training activities organized during the year 2001 in Tirana, Shkoder, Vlora, Berat, Mirdita and Mati served to the strengthening of organizational and mediation capacities of the Mediation Centres.
Court staff, prosecutors and local authorities attended these activities, where the trainers were experts in legal, psychology and sociology from AFCR and other organizations.
An important step in this process was the three days qualification seminar organized in April in Dhλrmi (Vlora district). The focus of this qualification activity was "Promotion of management skills and capacities of the Mediation Centres".
The AFCR staff, members of AFCR Board, coordinators of Mediation centres and some of the mediators attended this activity. The activity was financially, supported and in expertise on organizational/leadership/project drafting and presentation, etc., provided by the project of the Foundation "Open Society for Albania" (Soros).
Joint program between AFCR and the Mediation Service in Norway in the fields of training and exchange of experiences in mediation and conflict resolution.
A four days seminar with Albanian and Norwegian experts and mediators; Tirana, March 2001.
Financial support and technical assistance to the Mediation Centre in Rreshen, Mirdita.
The joint program of AFCR and the Danish Centre for Conflict Resolution organized in training the mediators was accomplished during the first half of the year 2001.
Thus two workshops were organized in this respect; the first was a three days seminar in Tirana through which the Danish experts Vibeke Vindelψv and Steen Clausen provided their experience in the field of training the mediation alternative in conflict resolution. The second workshop was for one week in Danemark, where Danish experts presented to the 19 Albanian coordinators and mediators from AFCR.
The training modules presented in this week long workshop covered a wide scope of treatment of conflicts and conflict situations, mediation alternative and the fields where it can be implemented, as well as the links between peace education and human rights. The presentation and demonstration of concrete cases, the analyses of conflict situations before and after the mediation process, the Danish experience in crime prevention was taken into consideration and highly valued by the Albanian (AFCR) participants in this workshop. (Ref. 1)
The promotional and qualification activity was present to the community level through the activities organized by the Mediation Centres. Thus, local workshops were organized with the participation of judges, prosecutors, "and local authority staff. These workshops were focused on concrete conflict cases, on making the Law "On Mediation" as operational as possible and in particular in shifting the conflict cases from the court system and prosecutor's office to the Mediation Centres to be solved through the mediation alternative.
It is worth mentioning that during January - August 2001 AFCR has accomplished its objective of setting up three new mediation centres, thus increasing the number of operational mediation centres to 9 throughout the country. After the AFCR Board decision, new Mediation Centres were set up in Kor9a, Gjirokaster and Peshkopi. The process of opening such mediation centres was done through respecting all the regulations previously decided by the AFCR Board, like announcing the coordinator vacancy, selection of the coordinator by a special group set up at AFCR, presentation of terms of reference, finding the respective premises for the offices and furnishing them.
Speaking on the functioning of each of these new Mediation Centres, it is to be noted that the Mediation Centres in Kor9a operates under the financial support of AFCR ("DANIDA" project), the Mediation Centre in Gjirokaster is financed through a joint project of AFCR and the Foundation "Open Society for Albania" (Soros) and the Mediation Centre in Peshkopi, after an application presented by AFCR is financed by the project of the Danish Embassy on Dibra prefecture. The AFCR has already selected the full time coordinators, who have already started their mediation work.
The network of mediators, which is effective in the districts where there is no mediation centre, we have meanwhile opened new networks of mediators in Kurbini, Saranda and Puka and throughout October 2001 we shall select the mediators who will start their mediation activity in Kukes, Elbasan, Durres, Fier and Bulqiza.
The process of strengthening the public awareness on mediation alternative has been accompanied by an ever enriching activity of coordinators and mediators thus reflected in the increase of the number of conflict cases solved through the mediation/reconciliation alternative to 1121 cases during January - August 2001. Further information on this issue is found at the respective tables.(Ref.2)
A survey on conflict situation and on the most typical conflicts/disputes to be solved through the mediation alternative was accomplished through February - June period. The data received through this survey composed the subject matter of discussion, comments and reflections presented to the meeting of AFCR Board.
The data and conclusions of this survey served as the basic material for the preparation of the National Conference "Reconciliation & Mediation in the Albanian Society", and the Conference organized with the School of Magistrates and the Council of Europe on "ADR and Mediation in the Albanian judiciary".( Ref.3)
The monitoring scheme of the cases mediated by the Mediation Centres is another important part in strengthening the mediation process. This activity initiated by a working group composed of members of the AFCR Board was implemented in Shkoder, Mirdita and Tirana. The working group prepared a Resolute and a brief Questionnaire, which are approved by the AFCR Board and will thus help in the monitoring process. (Ref.4, ). The monitoring of the mediation process will cover the other Mediation Centres, respectively in Vlora, Berati and Mati, as well.
Regarding the decentralization process and giving more autonomy to the coordinators of the Mediation Centres, the AFCR has taken concrete steps, like the decision of the AFCR Board to implement it in the form of a pilot project to two of the Mediation Centres, that in Berat and Shkoder.
The respective documentation was accomplished and we managed to register these two Mediation Centres as separate branches at the respective district court. But, this was only in paper as the new law "On the Activity of non-governmental organization" was enforced in June 2001.
This new law did change the operational and registration procedures of non-governmental organizations; the registration of such organizations should, after this law be done only at the district court of Tirana. So, from the institutional point of view the decentralization process we started is for the moment suspended. From a practical point of view of management, after broad debates, the AFCR Board reached the consensus to leave open initiative to the Mediation Centres in respect to planning of activities and administration. We are working in compiling the respective institutional regulation in accordance with the present legislation.
The experience of the Mediation Centre in Burrel in respect to the Advisory Board (with the participation of the Mayer, Chief Judge of the district court, district prosecutor, chief of the police station and leader of another local NGO) has been found as an effective model, which we are taking into consideration the possibility of spreading it to the other Mediation Centres. Based on this positive model we are experiencing that the local authorities are with each passing day understanding better and better and valuing even more the role of Mediation Centres and mediation alternative in crime prevention and conflict resolution in the community, thus preventing the aggravation of the conflicts.(Ref.5)
National Conference on "Reconciliation and Mediation in the Albanian society", September 2001.
Training seminar with mediators, coordinators and the working group of the program "Peace education and conflict resolution among the school age groups", September 2001.
Contribution in and participation at the conference organized by the Council of Europe on "ADR and mediation at the Albanian court system", October 2001.
Round table to present the results and conclusions of the monitoring of the written media on conflicts and conflict situations, October 2001.
Three days training program on ADR and mediation with the new mediators and coordinators of AFCR, November 2001.
Three local workshops, at the new Mediation Centres (Peshkopi, Gjirokastλr and Korηa) with the participation of judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers of each respective district, November 2001.
Two days qualification seminar with the specialists and the network of voluntary mediators of three districts, respectively Peshkopi, Gjirokastλr and Korηa, December 2001.
Continuous monitoring of the activities organized by the Mediation Centres on community level.
Showing a series of TV programmes on the public TV channel and the local TV channels on the mediation process, the law on mediation and the activity of AFCR, October - December 2001.
The new group of student mediators of the Law School (University of Tirana) have been selected and trained through a two days training seminar. This training seminar stressed the introduction of the modern concept of mediation, to the Law "On Mediation" and other communication elements, psychology of the people in conflict, etc. the students were as well introduced with the experience of AFCR in peaceful resolution of different conflicts.
Trainers and experts from Denmark, Norway and USA further trained the working group of the program "Peace Education & Conflict Resolution among the School age Groups" during the first quarter of 2001.
Organization of the summer school in peer mediation in Kristiansand (Norway) for Albanian and Norwegian teachers and students (August 2001).
We are under the process of equipping the Mediation Centres at "Arben Broci" secondary school (Tirana), which will serve as a model centre in training, publications and promotion of mediation experience among the students of secondary schools.
The monitoring of 8 main daily newspapers started in July and will be under way for 6 months, to close in December 2001. The results of the first half of this monitoring process will be presented at a round table and TV program.
reduce delays in the administration of justice;Agencies should agree explicitly amongst themselves, which objectives are to be set for which specific level and type of co-operation.
prevent problems for agencies caused by policy decisions of another agency;
improve case management;
improve the transfers and retrieval of information;
improve adherence to constitutional standards;
decrease overcrowding in prisons;
generate common statistics;
develop measures for crime prevention and community participation;
identify topics for joint training programmes;
iron out misunderstandings between stakeholders;
create an open and safe environment in which it is possible to discuss each others performances, strengths and weaknesses.
an offender or suspectThere are a number of differences between these various stakeholders. 'Some are institutional stakeholders, others are individuals who have their own personal interests. Some of the institutional stakeholders are formally established governmental organisations, others are traditional leaders or informal community groups. Some find their reason for existence, solely in the criminal justice process, others perform a much broader spectrum of duties and roles.
a victim or complainant
the police forces
the local authorities
the traditional leaders
the directorate of public prosecutions
a defence counsel
the Bar or Law Society
the legal aid organisations
the probation and welfare service
the prison service
organisations for non-custodial sentences
MeetingsThe most obvious and simple way of inter-agency co-operation is the regular meeting of all involved parties. Regular meetings can be planned in advance. An agenda should be prepared and the minutes of the meeting should be distributed to all participants as well as to the top management on the central level.
Insufficient compliance with constitutional standards;These problems were described in a number of reports and various recommendations how to deal with them were made. However, nothing really seemed to happen and the separate agencies were inclined to point to their peers when confronted with the lack of improvements within the criminal justice system.
Non-adherence to established investigation procedures
Cumbersome file handling and transfer procedures
Frequent case adjournments
Cumbersome procedures for case withdrawals
Overcrowding in prisons
Disproportionate ratio for remand/convict prisoners.
The presence of a Resident Judge, a Chief Magistrates' Court, a Resident State Attorney, a Regional CID officer and a central Prison;After some deliberations, Masaka was selected (120 km distance from Kampala, good tarmac road, all agencies represented on the medium management level)
Proximity to the capital (Kampala) for purpose of monitoring and supervising activities.
An Advisory Board with all top management representatives in KampalaAfter some discussions it was agreed that it was necessary to appoint a paid co-ordinator - a lawyer - on the local level, in particular to prepare the possible replication of measures on the nation-wide scale. In order to make such replication achievable, it was necessary to assess, select and document all feasible and successful measures. This activity would be too time-consuming to be carried out by the representatives of the local stakeholders.
A Case Management Committee on the local level in Masaka
Is the approach really useful at all?Such questions have to be answered later.
Is a paid co-ordinator with his own small budget really necessary?
Which results can be quantified?
Barriers between the criminal justice agencies in the capital have been leveled to some extent. The Advisory Board appears to be turning into a forum in which general policy matters concerning the administration of criminal justice are being discussed in the presence of all agencies.
Equally, the monthly meetings of the Case Management Committee in Masaka are well attended. They are held according to a fixed schedule, minutes are prepared and distributed to the all participants including the Advisory Board. Local problems are being discussed in detail.
600 'deadwood' cases clogging the administrative system of the judiciary and the prosecution were weeded out in a joint simplified procedure, ('prosecution discontinued pending re-arrest')
Some creative solutions have been developed in respect of the problems in the juvenile justice system by co-operating with the local council authorities.
Work is in progress regarding the development of certain performance standards for each agency, for instance setting targets file retrieval, for committal, for hearing a case, for judgement etc.
Preparing a baseline survey has turned out to be more cumbersome and complicated than anticipated. For future initiatives it may be advisable to use specialised external assistance for a rapid assessment survey.
All input of the representatives has been voluntarily. No allowances have been paid, other then a small remuneration for transportation of participants coming from far (>50km)
Although inter-agency co-operation initiatives may be personality dependent to a certain extent, the experience in Masaka shows that there are always new enthusiastic participants available.