Based on media reports, we have been informed that there will be no amnesty this year. This is an exclusive competence of the Assembly. However, the Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) deems it necessary to highlight the intent of the amnesty, referring to international standards as well as amnesty laws approved by the Assembly of the Republic of Albania in past years.
Amnesty is guided by the principles of humanism, the achievement of the goal of sentences, the low level of threat posed by persons being amnestied, education and rehabilitation as well as the protection of public interest. From this standpoint, AHC suggests to the Assembly of the Republic of Albania that, even within the month of January 2018, it consider the possibility of granting an amnesty.
AHC has monitored continuously, including during 2017, the respect for the rights of persons suffering their prison sentences as well as other measures taken for their humane treatment, with the goal being their rehabilitation and reintegration in society. During these monitoring processes, AHC has found that there are inmates who meet the legal criteria for being amnestied and, it is our opinion, that a penal policy that reflects the sense of humanism should be applied toward them. Among these convicts, there are chronically ill persons, women and juveniles, elderly people who have not committed offenses that pose major social threat and who have little time left to serve from their sentences.
As is known, the principles of rehabilitation and humanism are universal principles, which have been embodied in Conventions and important international documents. Their implementation is not only in the interest of certain individuals or families, but also in protection of public interest. In this way, the state demonstrates the will to pursue a contemporary penal policy, whereby other alternative ways are sought besides the punishment through imprisonment; these other ways may achieve rehabilitation and reintegration in society of a category of inmates who are in need and do not pose social threats.