ARCT Data on Political Persecution in Albania

Based on its transitional justice mechanisms, and the clear-cut focus on the EU integration, Albania has created its legal framework to ensure the respect for human rights. However, existing legislation and policies are implemented unevenly due to shortcomings in the rule of law and law enforcement, as well as due to lack of transparent process of priority-setting agendas of central and local government structures.Since early ‘90s in Albania, the transition has produced variety of methods and instruments for dealing with the memory of communist crimes: such as the status of innocence for the victims (the former political persecuted), measures aiming at rehabilitation of victims, reparation and restitution of property, but unsuccessfully resolving the struggle of social justice and integration for the category of former political persecuted (FPPs) and respective families/ relatives, affecting directly the applicability of the Rule of Law standards in Albania.Despite the implementation of the so-called “policy” of reparations for victims but virtually nothing has been done in the arena of criminal justice, institutionalizing the miss-functioning of domestic and international laws on condemnation of communist crimes in the country. The granted amnesty (1991) was instrumented by the Albanian parliament in the way that it created a vicious circle for those affected by such law, creating legal and administrative impossibilities for the FPPs to approach the civil and/or criminal trials. Additionally, justice system has perfectly functioned for perpetrators: through trials against some main figures from the repressive regime, the trials were successfully used as a mean for amnesty and property rights/restitution and possession of sequestered belonging, housing rights, pensions, etc.Likewise, removal of symbols of the authoritarian regime was not totally accomplished up-to-date.Today, Albania does not have a consolidated national legislation which explicitly refers to the denial of crimes by totalitarian communist regime[3]. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is increasingly becoming a check-and-balance judiciary instrument for the Albania’s performance in protecting human rights; the legal instruments, measures and practice have shown a dysfunctional implementation of the rule of law, and clear violations of fundamental rights endorsed in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (with reference to Article 6, in conjunction with Article 46 of ECHR, Article 2 (right to life) and 3 (torture).

According to ARCT data base, an estimate number of those affected by these unsolved problems goes to more than 40.000 lives:

  • The categories of the FPPs who were executed with or without a trial, for political reasons (5,577 men and 450 women); those who died in prison - 952, those dead in deportations - 7,022 persons of all age groups; those killed on the border: more than 100 persons only in 1990.
  • The categories of the former political persecuted (FPP) who suffer imprisonment (17,900 persons were politically sentenced; 7,367 of them were women);
  • The categories of the FPPs whose families were sent to exile and forced labor camps (deported for political reasons - 30,383 in 23 prisons and 48 concentration camps throughout the country.On the other hand, as shown in ARCT studies and surveys, the occurrence of torture in Albania is rooted also to the practices and mentalities of the past as well as to a vague position the state is keeping towards political persecution and political persecuted during dictatorship. Rehabilitation of torture survivors remains a topic outside the attention of state institutions and public health services, although a parliamentary resolution approved in 2006 as a result of long pressure from ARCT is in place. As such, the social environment is largely involved on simple daily political fights and in-effective democratic-like rhetoric without a sound action towards building a democratic culture. One of the missing components is a poor level of non-politicized discourse on human rights issues in media, school texts and curricula, reflecting somehow the level of information and knowledge in the general public.

 (Latest update, February 2016)