From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Albania Registers No Improvement in Global Rule of Law Report

Albania has ranked at number 71 out of 126 countries on the World Justice Report Rule of Law Index 2019. 

Based on the analysis of citizens and independent foreign and in-country experts, the Index presents an overview of the rule of law in 126 countries based on a number of factors. These include judicial independence, media freedom, government accountability and civil justice.

Scoring just 0.51 out of a possible 1, the country has registered no change on its 2018 score, suggesting that in the last 12 months, nothing has improved for citizens and residents.

Albania ranks 6th in the region, beaten by Georgia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan and Belarus, but surpassing Ukraine, Serbia, Moldova and Turkey. Overall, the country found itself lagging behind Tunisia, Suriname, Panama and Hungary which is currently in the midst of a rule of law and media freedom crisis.

The report takes into account a total of 7 factors, the first being constraints on governmental powers. Measuring the extent to which those who govern are bound by law, it analyses constitutional and institutional ways that members of government, officials and agents can be held to account and it also considers the freedom of the media to report independently and to criticise those in power. Albania ranks at number 79, beaten by Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Philippines and Liberia, showing an overall poor level of constraint on the government.

In terms of the absence of corruption in government including bribery, improper influence and misappropriation of public funds, Albania ranks a dismal 103 out of 126, making it one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It ranks alongside Nicaragua and Nigeria and is surpassed by most of African and South American countries as well as all of its regional neighbours.

Albania ranks at number 77 in terms of government openness, which is defined as the extent to which a government shares information and empowers citizens with the tools to hold them accountable. According to the report, corruption is most prevalent in the legislature, the judiciary, the government and the police. It also considers whether basic laws and information on legal rights are published and it also evaluates information published by the government.

Regarding fundamental rights such as those established under international law, Albania fairs slightly better, ranking at number 49, sitting between Georgia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria.

In the index for order and security, Albania ranks at number 31, one place under China, demonstrating that the state ensures the security of persons and property to a somewhat adequate level.

But when it comes to regulatory enforcement and the way in which regulations are fairly and effectively implemented and enforced, Albania plunges to number 97 alongside Liberia and Uzbekistan. This shows that the country has significant issues in fairly implementing legal and administrative regulations both in and outside of the government.

It is a disappointing result for Albania’s civil justice as well, ranking at number 100 meaning citizens struggle to resolve their issues through the civil justice system. It indicates that the Albanian justice system is not easily accessible or affordable and is prone to discrimination, corruption and improper influence by public officials.

These results, particularly in terms of the judiciary, legal process, civil justice and other matters pertaining to laws and the justice system, comes at a time when Albania has been implementing a justice reform that has been positioned as a saving grace for Albania’s rule of law crisis.