The Albanian Ombudsman Erinda Ballanca has stated that her institution is assessing the governments “anti-corruption” package and will appeal to the Constitutional Court if necessary.
“If the Ombudsperson Institution considers that human rights are violated, it may also file a complaint with the Constitutional Court on various issues. These are all the elements we are considering. We will send our recommendation and position to the Albanian parliament as well,” said Ballanca in an interview with A2 Media.
Ballanca, a lawyer who was involved in drafting the Constitution said that the government’s decision to implement the law immediately as a “normative act” is also problematic.
Referring to a 2006 Constitutional Court decision, she said “there must be an unusual situation in the country where the risk of harmful consequences in the public interest and the fundamental rights of citizens can be clearly identified…The crime situation in Albania has not changed in the last five to six years. If the crime situation worsens, then those laws that are now in force should be implemented.”
She also raised concerns over the new powers vested in the State Police that allow them to use wiretaps and surveillance on citizens without a court order.
“It is a real threat to the rights of individuals. Interceptions for individuals are only legal when they are clearly authorised by the prosecution.” Ballanca also stated that the removal of the article which demanded wiretap recordings be deleted after six months is a violation of human rights.
The law that was enforced with immediate effect, creates a special police and intelligence unit under the de facto control of Prime Minister Edi Rama. This unit operates independently of the court, without supervision, and has the power to search, arrest, detain, restrict from movement, confiscate passport and assets, surveil, and intercept online and voice communications without the need for a court order.
EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca said that the EU is monitoring the implementation of the law to ensure that it is “in accordance with human rights.