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Monitoring and Evaluation of the Security Sector Governance in Albania

The Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) with the support of Balkan Trust for Democracy, within the research project: “Albania Security Index 2013” organized a roundtable to launch the publication “Monitoring and Evaluation of the Security Sector Governance in Albania” on the 8th of April 2014, at the premises of Rogner Hotel, Tirana.

Background of the event:

After the publication “Monitoring and evaluation of Security Sector Governance in Albania ” in 2012 , the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) offered a new contribution , through a set of policy papers on specific areas of monitoring and evaluation of Security Sector Governance in our country . The study is based on data collected during the period 2011-2013. It used the same methodology as in the previous publication and focused on the same areas: (1) General Transparency of the security sector (2) Executive control; (3) Parliamentary oversight; (4) Judicial oversight of the security sector, (5) Financial transparency of the security sector and (6) The representation of women and minorities in security institutions.

This roundtable discussion gathered representatives of security institutions and independent oversight institutions, civil society organizations, while the panel was composed by Mr. Rexhep Meidani, the former President of Republic of Albania, as well as IDM representative Mr. Sotiraq Hroni, Mrs. Elona Dhëmbo, Mr. Foto Duro and Mr. Besnik Baka, IDM Associate.

In his opening speech, Mr. Hroni highlighted that the findings show that there have been very few changes and little progress from 2012-2014. He also stated that this roundtable coincided with the fifth anniversary of NATO membership, while little changes have occurred, despite contributions and support provided by the international security institutions such as the OSCE and NATO”.

Former President Mr. Rexhep Meidani emphasized the fact that “the monitoring of the security sector and findings presented today, are a valuable contribution, not only nationally speaking, but also from a regional perspective and that these studies help legislators, justice institutions to law enforcement and a functioning democracy as a whole.” He underlined the role of security institutions monitoring adding that “security reforms are a process to ensure that security institutions provide effective security for the country and its citizens, act in accordance with the principle of rule of law in support of the good governance, respect of human rights, and ensure accountability to the elected institutions”.

Ms. Elona Dhembo delivered a presentation of the findings on women and minorities in terms of jobs and career advancement. She stated that the representativeness of women and minorities, during the monitoring period 2012-2014, still remains at lower levels despite sporadic improvements in this respect.

In his presentation, Mr. Foto Duro underlined the fact that having to deal with money, financial control has the potentials to become a very effective means for overseeing and controlling of the security institutions by legislative, executive and even (though more indirectly) by the civil society. Even though, during this period (2011-2013) financial control of the SS institutions has suffered in the three main components: legal framework, institutional capacity to exert this role and political will. The actual legal framework for financial control of the SS, even though meeting in general the western democratic standards, still has many loop-holes and does not explicitly refer to all security institutions. On the other hand, the legitimate bodies (including their supporting staffs) suffer the lack of expertise for a professional financial control and oversight of security institutions. Finally, considering “political will”, it has been indicated a tendency of the ruling party/coalition in Albania to overly control the security institutions, on partisan basis, while blunting any overseeing effort, coming from the opposition through legislative or other democratic mechanisms.

Overall, the findings of the research study show that despite progress, there have been delays in a number of issues related to the improvement of legislation and administrative capacity. Harmonization of primary legislation with relevant bylaws, as well as with international law, in this sector, is progressing very slowly. Security institutions provide little information to the public and do not have effective and professional structures to address these issues. On the other hand, the institutions responsible for monitoring them, including the legislative, suffer the lack of will and capacities to exercise this function.

Through this new publication, the Institute for Democracy and Mediation provides a new perspective to policy-makers, security sector practitioners, journalists, academics and researchers and other interested stakeholders on Security Sector reform and governance in Albania.

During the “Question and Answers” session and free discussions, in particular, the participants presented interesting ideas related to the level of transparency and the way how different legitimate actors in Albania (especially the legislative) exert their oversight and control role over the security institutions. They stressed, in particular, the need for a better influencing role of the CSOs vis-à-vis state institutions (legislative, executive and judiciary) in the way how the CSOs see and weigh the level of democratic control and governance of the Security Sector in Albania. One of the issues coming out from the discussions was finding a better and more effective way of sharing the above mentioned findings with the top leadership of the state institutions.

The event was largely covered by the local media. The project’ activities have been part of the TV news reports at the local and national level. The final event was broadcasted in several media such as: UTV, Ora news (transmitted live), News 24, Vizion+ Tv. It was also presented in different online media. Some of the most important quotes are as follows: