The 2013 US State Department Report on human rights said corruption was the core problem hampering human rights in Albania.
Besar Likmeta BIRN Tirana
The latest State Department report noted that corruption in Albania in 2013 remained “pervasive in all branches of government, and particularly within the judicial system”, while prosecutions have targeted only low-level public servants.
“Authorities removed some government officials who were clearly implicated in abuse cases but gave them other government positions without any penalty,” the State Department said.
“Prosecuting higher-level officials remained problematic, and high-profile defendants usually were found not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence,” it added
According to the watchdog organisation Transparency International, Albania is the most corrupt country in the Balkans and one of the most corrupt in Europe.
The Berlin-based organization’s “Corruption Perception Index” saw Albania drop in its rankings from 113th place out of 176 countries in 2012 to 116th position in 2013, the worst performer in the region for a third year in a row.
In the period from January through to June 2013, investigative units in the prosecutor’s office began 651 new investigations and sent 230 cases to court.
Trials concluded for 82 cases, rendering guilty verdicts for 122 defendants and dismissing cases against 19 defendants. As of June, 275 individuals were still in trial.