The highest judicial organ was the Supreme Court, whose members
were elected to a four-year term by the People's Assembly in a
secret ballot. The Supreme Court consisted of a chairman, deputy
chairmen, and assistant judges and made its decisions collegially.
Officers of courts at the lower levels--district and regional
courts--were elected in a similar manner by people's councils.
Trials were generally open to the public and were often held in
places of employment or in villages in order to make them accessible.
After abolishing the Ministry of Justice in the 1960s, the Albanian
leadership placed supervision of the country's legal and judicial
system in the hands of the prosecutor general. Then in 1983, the
Ministry of Justice's Office of Investigations, charged with investigating
criminal cases, was placed under the direct supervision of the
Presidium of the People's Assembly, ostensibly to make the legal
system more responsive to the needs of the people. Whatever organizational
changes occurred, the courts themselves had little independence
in practice because of party interference in both the investigative
process and court proceedings. In 1990 the Ministry of Justice
was reestablished, with a mandate for supervising the courts and
coming up with a program of judicial reform. As of early 1992,
the creation of such a program was still underway.
Data as of April 1992