COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
ADVANCED UNEDITED VERSION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
1. The Committee considered the initial report of Albania (CAT/C/28/Add.6) at its 649th and 652nd meetings, held on 10 and 11 May 2005 (CAT/C/SR.649 and 652), and adopted, at its 660th meeting, the following conclusions and recommendations.
2. The Committee welcomes the initial report of Albania and the opportunity to establish a dialogue with the State party but it regrets, however, that the report, due in June 1995, was submitted with an eight-year delay.
3. The Committee notes that the report does not fully conform to the Committee’s guidelines for the preparation of initial reports and lacks information on practical aspects of the implementation of the Convention’s provisions. The Committee acknowledges in this regard the difficulties encountered by the State party during its political and economic transition and the efforts done in this respect and hopes that in the future it will comply fully with its obligations under article 19 of the Convention.
4. The Committee also welcomes the additional information provided in writing by the State party and by the delegation in the introductory remarks and in the answers to the questions raised, which demonstrates the State party’s willingness to establish an open and fruitful dialogue with the Committee.
B. Positive aspects
5. The Committee notes with appreciation the ongoing efforts by the State party aimed at strengthening human rights in Albania. In particular, the Committee welcomes the following:
(a) The adoption of a democratic Constitution in 1998, which enhances protection of human rights, including the prohibition of torture, establishes a maximum 48 hour period detention before a person is brought before a judge as well as the direct applicability of ratified international treaties and their superiority over domestic laws;
(b) The adoption of:
(i) The Law “On Innocence, Amnesty and Rehabilitation of Ex-political Convicted and Persecuted Persons” in 1991, amended in 1993;
(ii) The Law “On Migration” in 1995;
(iii) The Criminal Military Code in 1995;
(iv) The Law “On the Rights and Treatment of Prisoners” in 1998;
(v) The Law “For the Ombudsman” in 1999;
(vi) The Criminal Code in 1995, amended subsequently in 1996, 1997 and 2001;
(vii) The Law “On the Organization and Functioning of the High Justice Council” in 2002;
(c) The ratification of:
(i) The European Convention on Extradition and its additional Protocol in 1998 and the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its two Protocols in 1996;
(ii) The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 2002 as well as of most of the conventions and international protocols of the United Nations for
the protection of human rights;
(iii) The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture in 2003;
(d) Specific measures for law enforcement personnel:
(i) The adoption of the “Code of Police Ethics” in 1998;
(ii) The organization of training for the police through a project of education in the field of prevention of torture, by the Ministry of Public Order in
cooperation with NGOs.
6. Furthermore, the Committee would like to commend:
(a) The suspension, since 1992, of the death penalty;
(b) The separation of juveniles from adults in all detention facilities;
(c) The publication of the reports of the four first visits of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to Albania (CPT/Inf (2003)11) and of the Government’s response thereto (CPT/Inf (2003)12) as well as the assurance of the Government that it will soon authorize the publication of the report of the 2003 visit;
(d) The involvement of national NGOs in the preparation of the initial report of Albania.
C. Subjects of concern
7. The Committee expresses concern about the following:
(a) Non-conformity of the definition of torture of the Criminal Code, with the definition of the Convention, which does not cover all the elements contained in its article 1, especially regarding persons acting in an official capacity;
(b) Qualification of acts of torture by law enforcement personnel only as “arbitrary acts” and, therefore, the treatment of those acts as less serious criminal offences;
(c) A climate of de facto impunity for law enforcement personnel who commit acts of torture or ill-treatment considering:
(i) Numerous allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement personnel, especially at the moment of arrest and interrogation,
(ii) Limited number of complaints regarding torture and ill-treatment, in particular to the Peoples’ Advocate,
(iii) Lack of prompt and impartial investigation of allegations of torture and illtreatment committed by law enforcement personnel, and
(iv) Absence of convictions in cases of torture, under article 86 of the Criminal Code, and limited number of convictions of torture with serious consequences, under article 87 of the Criminal Code, of law enforcement personnel, all of which may also indicate that there is a lack of victims’ awareness of their rights and that there is a lack of confidence in the police and judicial authorities;
(d) Difficulties for victims of torture and ill-treatment to file a formal complaint with public authorities, to obtain medical evidence in support of their allegations and to present that evidence;
(e) Allegations of cases of lack of independence of the judiciary;
(f) No universal jurisdiction of the Albanian courts in cases involving torture;
(g) Lack of clear legal provision prohibiting the use of any statement obtained under torture as well as of any clear legal provision stating that an order from a superior may not be invoked as justification of torture;
(h) Failure to ensure fair and adequate compensation, including rehabilitation for all victims of torture, including ex-political convicted and persecuted persons;
(i) Lack of implementation of the fundamental legal safeguards for persons detained by the police, guaranteeing the right to inform a relative, of access to a lawyer and a doctor of their own choice and to be provided with information about their rights and, in addition for juveniles, the presence of their legal guardians during
(j) Poor conditions of detention and long pre-trial detention period, up to three years;
(k) The existence of an additional 10 hour administrative detention period for interrogation before the maximum 48 hour period is calculated for a person to be
brought before a judge;
(l) Absence of visits to police stations by the Office of the Ombudsman on a regular and unannounced basis;
(m) Absence of systematic medical examination of detainees within 24 hours of their admission to prison, poor medical care in detention facilities, lack of training for medical personnel and medical personnel of prisons not under the authority of the Ministry of Public Health;
(n) Legal possibility of refoulement of persons without any procedures in cases of interests of public order or national security;
(o) The reported prevalence of violence against women and girls, including sexual and domestic violence, and the reluctance on the part of the authorities to, inter alia, adopt legislative and other measures to counter this phenomenon.
8. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Amend the Criminal Code in order to adopt a definition of torture that covers all the elements contained in article 1 of the Convention;
(b) Ensure strict application of the provisions against torture and ill-treatment, adequately qualifying, prosecuting and punishing perpetrators in a manner proportionate to the seriousness of the crimes committed;
(c) Investigate all allegations of ill-treatment and torture by law enforcement personnel, by carrying prompt and impartial investigations to bring the perpetrators to justice, in order to eliminate the climate of de facto impunity of law enforcement personnel who commit acts of torture and ill-treatment;
(d) Improve mechanisms to facilitate submission of complaints by victims of illtreatment and torture to public authorities, including to obtain medical evidence in
support of their allegations;
(e) Take all appropriate measures to strengthen the independence of the judiciary as well as to provide adequate training on prohibition against torture to judges and prosecutors;
(f) Amend domestic legislation to ensure that acts of torture are considered universal crimes;
(g) Adopt clear legal provisions prohibiting the use of any statement obtained under torture and establishing that orders from a superior may not be invoked as a
justification of torture;
(h) Implement the established legal mechanisms for victims of torture to obtain redress and fair and adequate compensation;
(i) Implement the fundamentals legal safeguards for persons detained by the police, guaranteeing their rights to inform a relative, of access to a lawyer and a doctor of their own choice and to be provided with information about their rights and, in addition for juveniles, the presence of their legal guardians during interrogation;
(j) Improve conditions in places of detention, ensuring that they conform to international minimum standards, adopt necessary measures to reduce the pre-trial
detention period and continue to address overcrowding in places of detention;
(k) Take the necessary measures to abolish the 10 hour administrative detention period for interrogation prior to the 48 hour period to bring a suspect before a judge;
(l) Allow visits to police stations by the Office of the Ombudsman, as well as by other independent bodies, on a regular and unannounced basis;
(m) Provide systematic medical examination of detainees within 24 hours of their admission to prison, improve medical care in detention facilities, establish training
for medical personnel and transfer all medical personnel of prisons to the authority of the Ministry of Public Health;
(n) Amend its legislation in order not to allow the refoulement of persons without a legal procedure with all required guarantees;
(o) Adopt measures to combat sexual violence and violence against women, including domestic violence, and promptly and impartially investigate all such allegations of torture or ill-treatment, with a view to prosecuting those responsible;
(p) Transfer the responsibility for all pre-trial detainees to the authority of the Ministry of Justice;
(q) Take all necessary measures to ensure effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention and of the adopted legislation, disseminate the relevant legislation to detainees and law enforcement personnel and provide adequate training to the latter;
(r) Provide in the next periodic report detailed statistical data, disaggregated by age, gender and origin, on complaints related to torture and other ill-treatment allegedly committed by law enforcement personnel, as well as on related investigations, prosecutions, and penal and disciplinary sentences;
(s) Consider making the declarations under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.
9. The Committee also recommends that the State party disseminate widely the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations, in all appropriate languages, through official web sites, the media and non-governmental organizations.
10. The Committee requests the State party to provide, within one year, information on its response to the Committee’s recommendations contained in paragraphs 8 (c), (d), (i) and (l) above.
11. The State party is invited to submit its next periodic report, which will be considered as the second, by 9 June 2007.