Search and seizure - national proceedings


Albania - Constitution (2012) EN



Article 37

1 The inviolability of the residence is guaranteed.
2 Searches of a residence, as well as premises that are equivalent to it, may be done only in the cases and manner provided by law.
3 No one may be subjected to a personal search outside a criminal proceeding, with the exception of cases of entry into, or exit from, the territory of the state, or to avoid a danger that threatens public security .

Albania - Criminal Procedure Code 2011 EN





Article 202- Grounds for conducting searches

1. When there are reasonable grounds to think that someone hides in his body material evidence of the criminal offence or items belonging to the criminal offence, the court issues a decision for body search. When these items are located at certain place, search of the place or house is ordered.

2. The court which has issued the decision may act itself or order judicial police officers to conduct the search, stipulated in the search order.

3. In case of flagrant arrest or chasing of a person fleeing, which does not allow the obtaining of a search order, judicial police officers conduct a search of the person or place, complying with the rules prescribed under article 299.

Article 203- Request to hand in

1. When a certain item is sought, the proceeding authority may request its handing in. If the item is handed in, the search is not conducted, except when it is judged necessary.

2. In order to specify the items that may be seized or to verify certain circumstances, necessary for the investigation, the proceeding authority or its authorised judicial police officers may search bank operations, documents and correspondence.

Article 204- Body search

1. Prior to conducting a body search, the one who will be searched, is handed over a copy of the search order, informing him of his right to request the presence of a reliable person, provided that can be found immediately and is suitable.

2. The search is conducted in compliance with the dignity and safety of the one being searched.
Article 205- Search of premises.

1. Defendant, when present and the one who is in charge of the place, is handed over a copy of the search order, informing them of the right to request the presence of a reliable person.

2. When the persons stipulated in paragraph 1 are absent, a copy of the order is handed over to a relative, neighbour or to a person who works with him.

3. The proceeding authority may search the persons present when it judges that they may conceal material evidence or items belonging to the criminal offence. It may order that persons present may not leave prior to conclusion of the search and may use force to get back those who leave.

Article 206- Time of house search
1. A house search or a search of a closed place attached to it may not commence before seven o’clock and after twenty o’clock. In urgent cases, the proceeding authority may order in writing that the search be conducted beyond these restrictions.

Article 207- Seizure during search
1. Items found during search may be seized in compliance with the provisions on seizures.





Article 208- Scope of seizure

1. A judge or prosecutor may order, by a reasoned decision, seizure of material evidence and items connected to the criminal offence, when they are necessary to prove the facts.

2. Seizure is carried out by the one who has issued the order or by judicial police officers being authorised in the same order.

3. A copy of the seizure decision is handed over to the interested person, if he is present.

Article 209- Seizure of correspondence

1. When the court has reasonable grounds to think that in the postal or telegraphic offices there are letters, negotiable instruments, envelopes, boxes, telegrams and other items of correspondence sent by or to the defendant, even under other name or through another person, it is ordered their seizure.

2. When seizure is performed by a judicial police officer, he must hand in to the judicial authority the correspondence items seized without opening and without having access to their content in any other way.

3. The items seized but do not form part of the correspondence that can be seized, are returned to the one they belong to and may not be used.

Article 210- Seizure in banks

1. The court may order the seizure of bank documents, negotiable instruments, sums deposited in current accounts and any other thing, even if they are in safety vaults, when there are reasonable grounds to think that they are connected to the criminal offence, even though they do not belong to the defendant or are not under his name. In urgent cases this decision may be taken by the prosecutor.

Article 211- Obligation to hand in and maintain secrecy

1. Persons bound to maintain professional or state secrecy must immediately hand in to the proceeding authority acts and documents, even in the original copies, and anything else kept by them because of their duty, service or profession, except when they declare that it is a state secret or a secret related to their duty or profession. In the latter case, the necessary verifications are conducted and, when it results that the declaration is groundless, the proceeding authority orders the seizure.

2. When the competent authority confirms the state secret and the evidence is crucial to the solution of the case, the proceeding authority decides to acquire the evidence.

3. If within thirty days from the request, the competent authority does not confirm the secret, the proceeding authority orders its seizure.

Article 212- Appeal against the seizure decision

1. Defendant, the person in whose possession the items have been seized and the one who has the right to request their return, may appeal in court against the decision of seizure.

2. The appeal does not suspend the execution of the decision.

Article 213- Copies of seized documents

1. The preceding authority may order the issuing of copies of seized acts and documents, returning the original copies and, when the original copies must be retained, orders the secretariat to issue certified copies.

2. In any case, the person or office where the seizure took place has the right to have a copy of the records of seizure.

3. When the seized document is part of a volume or register which cannot be severed from, and the proceeding authority needs the original, the volume or register shall be under the order of the proceeding authority. Secretary of the proceeding authority issues to the interested persons, when they request, copies, extracts or certificates of parts of the volume or register which have are not subject of seizure.

Article 214- Custody of seized items

1. Items seized are kept under the custody of secretariat. If this is not possible or appropriate, the proceeding authority orders that they be kept in custody in another place, specifying the manner of custody.

2. During the delivery, the person in charge is warned on the obligation of custody and presentation of items when requested by the proceeding authority and the punishment also provided by the criminal law for the one who violates the obligation of preservation.

Article 215- Sealing of seized items

1. Seized items are kept under the seal of the proceeding authority or, depending on the nature of the items, by other adequate means, stating that they are maintained for the needs of justice.

2. The proceeding authority issues copies of the documents and photographs or other reproductions of seized items which may alter or which are difficult to be preserved, which he attaches to the documents and orders them to be filed in the secretariat.

3. Items that may alter, the proceeding authority orders, as the case may be, their conversion or destruction.

Article 216- Opening and closing of seals

1. The proceeding authority, when it wants to open seals, verifies whether or not they are damaged and when it ascertains any changes, it keeps the records. After performing the action that required the opening of seals, the items seized are sealed again, attaching close to the seal the date of intervention.

Article 217- Return of seized items

1. If retaining of seizure is not necessary for purposes of evidence, the items seized are returned to the one they belong to, even before the final decision is issued. When it is necessary, the proceeding authority orders the repossession of returned items.

2. The court may order, on the request of prosecutor or civil claimant, not to return the items seized, when seizure must be retained to secure the civil claim.

3. The items seized are returned to the person they belong to, after the decision becomes final, except when confiscation is ordered.

Article 218- Rules on returning of seized items

1. The court decides to return the seized items where there is no doubt on their belonging.

2. When items are seized from a third party, they may not be ordered to be returned in favour of others parties, without the third party being heard by the court.

3. During the preliminary investigations, the return of seized items is ordered by the prosecutor. Interested parties may appeal in court against the order.

Article 219- Provisions in case of non-returning of items

1. If after one year from the day the decision has become final, the request for return has not been filed or has not been accepted, the court which has issued the decision, orders that the money and negotiable instruments shall be deposited in a bank, in a special account. Items are ordered to be sold, but when they have scientific or artistic value, they are transferred to the relevant institutions.

2. The sale may be ordered also before the time period stipulated in paragraph 1, when the items may not be preserved without the danger of deteriorating or considerable expenses.

3. The proceeds gained from the sale are deposited in a special bank account.

Article 220- Expenses for seized items

1. Expenses necessary for maintaining seized items, are covered by the state, which has priority over any other creditor to the sums deposited from the items and values not returned.





Article 517-Seizure

1. Upon request of prosecutor the competent court may impose the attachment of sequestrable objects.

2. The decision is subject to appeal.

3. Shall be respected, as far as they are applicable, the provisions regulating the preventive attachment.

Rome Statute

Article 93 Other forms of cooperation

1. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and under procedures of national law, comply with requests by the Court to provide the following assistance in relation to investigations or prosecutions:

(h) The execution of searches and seizures;