Impact of the ECHR on the change of Albanian legislation.

With the establishment of the ECHR, the protection of human rights is a very important tool to build a unification between European countries. By providing a practice for bringing Balkan countries closer to Europe, the convention has contributed to harmonization of domestic law of the member states in the field of civil and criminal procedure.

In the case of Kaçiu and Kotorri vs Albania, the applicant Olsi Kaçiu was tortured whilst in police custody. He was forced to give a statement incriminating someone in a crime. The statement was then used against Mr.Kaçiu at trial, as evidence that he had failed to report the crime. He was sentenced to two years in prison. 

The court found that Mr Kaçiu had been tortured by police until he could not walk or stand. Given that the criminal prosecution against him had been based solely on evidence obtained through this torture, his trial and conviction had been unfair. This breached his basic rights.

As a result of this case and others, the Albanian government introduced legal changes as well as practical and awareness-raising measures. These were all designed to prevent ill-treatment of detainees and the use of evidence obtained as a result.

The reforms included a change to the Criminal Code of Procedure in 2013 to establish the right of access a lawyer at the time of arrest or detention, the rights of the accused during questioning and to prohibit the use of statements taken in violation of these rights; a 2014 amendment to the law on the rights of remand prisoners, to introduce clear rules about their treatment; and a new Code of Ethics for prison officers in 2015.