Round Table: Control and Oversight of the Intelligence Services in Albania

30 October 2012 – Hotel Rogner 

IDM organized in the premises of Hotel Rogner Europapark the round table: Control and Oversight of Intelligence Services in Albania. In the framework of the contribution to improve Security Sector Governance in Albania, IDM presented a policy brief on intelligence accountability. This event brought together interested actors and stakeholders with the aim to refresh the ongoing debate on intelligence accountability and discuss viable solutions that can be applicable in the Albanian context. The round table was attended by MPs across the political spectrum, representatives of the Parliamentary Committees on National Security, Legal Issues, Public Administration and Human Rights, Economy and Finance, senior representatives of the intelligence agencies in Albania, senior representatives of the independent oversight institutions, former leaders of these institutions and civil society representatives and international community in Albania.

This roundtable is the first event that follows the two days conference dedicated to the discussion of Security Sector Reform and Governance in Albania that IDM organized in March this year.  

Mr. Arjan Dyrmishi, Senior researcher in IDM, stressed the Intelligence services accountability requires a clear definition of all actors involved, and then specific measures to tackle the situation. Owning the necessary oversight tools ensures the prevention of potential crisis. IDM since many years has expressed its concern about the increasing number of intelligence agencies and the broadening of their competences. In a situation where a clear oversight system is missing, intelligence services have the tendency to identify themselves with the political party in power. Due to the lack of a clear legal framework, lack of a good practice and experience as well as lack of agencies to provide oversight of the intelligence services, the success of any measure would be unguaranteed. 

Mr. Ilir Gjoni, Member of the Parliamentary National Security Committee pointed to the fact that oversight of the intelligence services in Albania contributes to a better management of the resources and services from the governing institutions. Concerning the activity of the National Security Committee, its work is mostly focused on the annual reports in the Committee. However the executive seems reluctant to cooperate, inventing obstacles for an efficient oversight of this sector. According to Gjoni there are two kind of problems: lack of a well elaborated legal framework, and problems in implementing existing laws. 

Mr. Damian Gjiknuri, MP of the Socialist Party in Albania raised his concern about the new law being drafted in the Committee may negatively affect the opening of the sensitive information. He suggested the need for a better balance of control and efficiency, stressing the important role of civil society in this oversight. 

Mr. Sajmir Kodra, High Inspector of State Intelligence Service addressed the audience with his remarks regarding the new law on intelligence being currently drafted in the Parliament. According to Kodra the draft law needs to be amended for a better control and oversight of the intelligence agencies. On the other hand, the activity of NIS has been in accordance with the law and the fact that Ombudsperson did not issue any complaints for NIS in the last year indicates that NIS has respected rule of law and human rights. 

Mr. Shkelqim Spahiu, NIS representative claimed that the most important obstacles on parliamentary oversight is the lack of a good law, therefore the new law has been revised by NIS and needs to be amended by the parliament as soon as possible.