Overview: Albania was a strong supporter of counterterrorism efforts in 2017 and continued its participation in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, making significant donations of weapons and ammunition.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Albania criminalizes terrorist acts, financing of terrorism, conducting transactions with persons on United Nations (UN) sanctions lists, recruiting and training people to commit terrorist acts, incitement of terrorist acts, and establishing, leading, and participating in terrorist organizations. Albania is establishing and sustaining a port security oversight system to more fully comply with requirements under the International Maritime Organization's International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.

Albanian law enforcement increased its efforts to counter potential terrorist threats. The recently expanded Albanian State Police Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ's) International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program to match Albanian government requirements for equipment and training with U.S. expertise and resources. As a result, the ATU developed its own plans and programs for improving equipment, training, and development, and renovated the central ATU facility. Through participation in the ATA Program, the ATU received training on interviewing terrorist suspects. Other Department of State funding provided counter-surveillance training, vehicles, intelligence analysis training, surveillance equipment, and computer workstations for investigators. Despite a scarcity of resources, the ATU also participated in several successful interdictions of known or suspected terrorists.

DOJ's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training Program, funded by the Department of State, continued to provide mentorship, assistance, and training to prosecutors, law enforcement officials, financial investigators, intelligence analysts, and judges from Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia. These officials work on foreign terrorist fighter and terrorism-related cases through the Balkan Regional Counterterrorism program located in Tirana.

Corruption and barriers to information sharing among government agencies, insufficient intra-agency coordination, and a poorly functioning judicial system continued to hinder Albania's law enforcement efforts at all levels. Recent constitutional and legal reforms to the judiciary are underway, beginning with the vetting of Albania's 800 judges and prosecutors for corruption, proficiency, and ties to organized crime. As of December 2017, the vetting commission and international monitoring operation began work on the first 57 personnel files. Other reforms will begin after this first group is vetted.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Albania is a member of the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. The General Directorate for the Prevention on Money Laundering, Albania's financial intelligence unit, is a member of the Egmont Group.

Albania continued to work with the FATF and MONEYVAL to address identified weaknesses in its anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism regime. As a result, Albania made major improvements to its legal framework for identifying, tracing, and freezing terrorist assets; enhanced international cooperation; extended customer due diligence; and required the filing of suspicious transaction reports and currency transaction reports.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): The Government of Albania implemented a "Schools for Safer Communities" program aimed at educating teachers throughout Albania about the risks of radicalization to violence among youth. It included processes for teachers to recommend interventions for students on the path to radicalization to violence. The Albanian cities of Cerrik, Elbasan, Librazhd, and Tirana are members of the Strong Cities Network.

Regional and International Cooperation: Albania is a member of the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Regional Cooperation Council for Southeast Europe, the Council of Europe, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Albanian criminal justice actors participated regularly in various regional associations, conferences, and other counterterrorism information sharing exchanges. In December, Albania co-sponsored UN Security Council resolution 2396 on returning and relocating foreign terrorist fighters.

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