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Environmental Crime Legal Framework In Albania

Environmental legislation in Albania draws upon the criminal law and administrative law, imposing criminal liability and administrative liability on offenders. Article 56 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania states that “Everyone has the right to be informed of the status of the environment and its protection”.

Featured Legislation

1995 : The Criminal Code of the Republic of Albania included environmental offences in an attempt to combat environmental crimes. Prior to 1995, There were only three environmental offences in the criminal code:“ violation of provisions on the plant quarantine” (article 170); “illegal cutting or damaging of forests” (article 173); and “illegal fishing” (article 174).

1995: Albania’s criminal code featured a separate chapter, chapter IV, covering environmental crime such as:

  • polluting the air through emission of smoke, gasses and other toxic, radioactive substances
  • transporting toxic waste into the Albanian territory or the depositing therein
  • polluting waters of the seas, rivers, lakes, or the springs of the water supply system with waste either toxic or radioactive or other substances, which break the ecological balance
  • prohibited fishing
  • unlawfully cutting forests
  • cutting of decorative and fruit trees
  • destruction by fire of forests and of the forestal environment
  • unintentional destruction by fire of forests and of the forestal environment
  • breach of quarantine for plants and animals

2000 : Albania ratified the Aarhus Convention and the Albanian School of Magistrates organized training for judges and stakeholders involved in administering, enforcing and interpreting environmental law.

2002: Law No. 8905 on protection of the marine environment from pollution and damage.The present law lays down provisions aimed at the protection of the marine environment against pollution and damage. The following shall be particularly obligated to protect the marine environment: (a) individuals and legal entities, public or private, national or foreign, that use the marine environment or carry out their activities in the marine environment; (b) any deployment on the sea coast; (c) any vessel deployed or sailing the sea; and (d) aeronautical craft flying over the marine environment (art. 3). Article 6 contains the list of activities which shall be forbidden, such as discharge of hydrocarbons and polluted waters, dumping of waste and transportation of hazardous waste. The waste specified in Annex II may be dumped into the sea only upon authorization issued by the Ministry of Environment.

2011: Law No.10431 dated 9.6.2011 on the environment protection. The Law sets out the framework for providing a high level protection for the environment, its preservation and improvement, prevention and reduction of the human health-associated risks and improvement of the life quality of today and next generations as well as ensuring sustainable development. It consists of the following Chapters: General Provisions, The principles of environment protection, Protection of environment ingredients, Environment protection during the planning process, Prevention and control of pollution (including sections on environmental norms, and environmental permits), Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Information, Environmental responsibility, Policy instruments regarding environment protection, Responsible state bodies , And administrative Infringements, and Final Provisions.

2015: The Government of Albania prepared a draft to amend chapter IV of the criminal code in an attempt to add new offences and expand the criminalization of environmentally destructive activities in the criminal code so that the country can comply with international conventions such as CITES, BASEL and MARPOL. In the current criminal code, articles 201-207 cover environmental crimes.

2018: Albania National Action Plan on Renewable Energy 2018-2020. The National Action Plan on Renewable Energy Sources 2018-2020 is a sectoral plan prepared with the goal of achieving by the year 2020 the production from renewable energy sources of up to 38 percent of the total gross energy consumption in Albania. The Plan strategic objectives aim at promoting security in the energy supply sector in Albania and integration of renewable energy sources in domestic markets as well as the regional and European ones. Further, increased security in energy production will support economical development and macro-economic stability in the country.

2019 : The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Academy of Security administered a public survey with 1,559 interviewees stating environmental crime as the second most dangerous threat to Albania (26.9%). The OSCE concluded that Albania needs to strengthen its enforcement of waste crime, nature crime and transboundary environmental crime. Amendments to the criminal code in 2019 have criminalized many violations that were once only administrative violations. Today, offenders can face up to 15-20 years for certain environmental crimes. A ministerial order has been issued to establish an inter-institutional group against environmental crimes (IGEC). This group draws upon various stakeholders: government agencies, technical expertise for municipalities, NGOs, the media and academics.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Gropa-Biza-Martanesh Mountain is a hot-spot for illegal logging. Deforestation accounts for 60% of environmental crimes in Albania, driven by global demand for the country’s ornamental and fruit trees. Despite the preponderance of environmental crimes such as illegal logging, only 285 people have been convicted of environmental crimes since 2015 and a malfunctioning police-prosecutor-court chain has been cited as the reason for the lack of evidence in bringing offenders to justice.
  • Despite Albania’s ban on logging in parts of Shebenik-Jabllanice, the country’s protected national park, “chain gangs” have emerged as criminal networks, supplying timber to the black market. The country’s forests stabilize regional climate through the regulation of rainfall and air circulation, but is also home to rare plants and animals – namely, the Albanian Lily, brown bears, golden eagles and an endangered lynx known as the “tiger of the Balkans”. Illegal logging, the result of weakened administrative capacities, underfunding and corruption, has led to the deforestation, fragmentation and destruction of the national park’s ecosystem.

References and Further Reading


Albanian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration: Ms. Enkelejda Malaj,