The situation for the rule of law in Albania has taken a nosedive in recent years, reaching an all-time low in 2021, according to the World Justice Report Rule of Law Index for 2021, published this week.
The report, which surveys 130,000 households and 4,000 legal representatives worldwide, ranks and scores countries based on corruption, governance, transparency, security, criminal and civil justice, and fundamental rights.
Albania scored 0.49 points out of a possible 1 (the maximum), falling from 0.52 when the country was first ranked on the index in 2015. It falls below the regional average of 0.50 and the global average of 0.56, putting it among the worst performers in the world.
It ranked 83 out of 139 countries, performing more poorly than Serbia, Algeria, India, Brazil, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Hungary. Grouped in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia section, all its Western Balkan neighbours did better, except Turkey.
The worst performing category was the “Absence of Corruption”, where Albania scored just 0.37, ranking it 105 out of 139.
The most significant areas of corruption, according to the results, include the way government officials in the legislative branch use public office for private gain. Albania scored just 0.22 in this section, way below the regional and global average.
High levels of corruption were also perceived in the judicial and executive branch in terms of pubic office being used for private gain. Across each sub-category, this refers to high levels of bribery, informal payments, embezzlement, lack of enforcement, and tendering and procurement irregularities.
Turning to criminal and civil justice, Albanian scored 0.40 and 0.47 respectively demonstrating a seven point decline since 2019. The biggest concern here was improper government influence on the criminal justice system, followed by a corrupt criminal system, and a slow legal system.
The same issues were reported in the civil justice system, signifying an across the board issue with corruption and interference.
Another are of concern was the right to information and a lack of public information on laws and government data. Albania scored just 0.45 on both sections. Civic participation was also below the global and regional average with just 0.43.
In terms of the government’s power, low scores were registered for sanctions against government officials for misconduct and the judiciary’s control over those in parliament.