Below, the speech of the Head of the OSCE Presence, Ambassador Bernd Borchardt in the meeting in awareness of alternatives to imprisonment, organized by the OSCE Korca, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General:
"I am pleased to be here with you in Korça: a town with a long and distinguished history. For the OSCE presence in Albania this town has a particular value, this is the site of one of the pilot courts for our “Justice without delays” project. Korça has shown that justice sector reform is not only about committees and documents in Tirana; it is also about real life for real citizens in real places. Korça – and our partnership with the Court here – shows that justice sector reform is possible on a daily basis in Albanian courts.
Our partnership with a broad variety of justice actors, allows the OSCE Presence also to look at different angles when supporting justice reform. Justice reform must be comprehensive to be effective. Laws and structures are being reform, but we must not forget that, for it to be accomplished, introducing measures to increase public trust in the justice system is a must.
In a democracy where people trust their institutions and feel protected by their state, detention cannot be the only answer. I would emphasize that deprivation of liberty should be a measure of last resort. It should only be applied where the seriousness of the offence would make any other measure clearly inadequate.
The Presence has recommended an increased use of alternatives to custody. The aim of probation is to contribute to a fair criminal justice process. In appropriate cases, probation is more efficient that imprisonment, and more effective – because it combines punishment with rehabilitation. We have therefore been actively involved for a number of years, supporting the Ministry of Justice in the establishment of a functioning National Probation Service and in contributing to its effectiveness. I am very pleased to see that the number of offenders on probation has continuously increased, from 705 in 2009 to about 24,130 offenders in 2016.
One of the keys to probation effectiveness is electronic monitoring. It reduces prison population while keeping offenders under supervision. Since the 1990s, electronic monitoring programmes are successfully used around the world, for pre-trial monitoring and as an alternative sentence. It maintains public safety and builds trust, while avoiding imprisonment negative effects. Still, electronic monitoring must be combined with rehabilitation efforts to be successful and crucial part of this is strong inter-institutional co-operation between all actors involved.
With your participation at this event today, we can, together, make the justice system fairer and more effective, by putting more emphasis on offender’s rehabilitation and re-integration and improve public trust in the institutions.