Gërdec Victims: Time Has Come for Rama to Pass Our Vetting

In a press statement, the Society of Family Members of the Victims of Gërdec express their anger at and disappointment with the Albanian government, which after 9 years of juridical proceedings, and in spite of the electoral promises of Prime Minister Edi Rama, has failed to provide any recognition or compensation.

The explosion in Gërdec happened in an ammunition depot exactly 9 years ago, killing 26 people while destroying an entire area. Recently, the Administrative Court of Appeals had confirmed the responsibility of the state for the explosion, opening the way for compensation to the survivors. The state, however, has appealed the decision.

Today, 9 years after the tragedy of Gërdec, the family members of the victims of the explosion have known many disappointments. By now we have had enough time not only to know the murderers, but also the liars and flatterers, and we have understood that evil doesn’t have a political color.

We leave the criminal justice to the European Court for Human Rights, and despite the protection that this government is offering those who caused the tragedy, we have faith that Strasbourg will not believe the government and will be clear in its judgment.

Meanwhile, the court cases for the compensation continue to go on between the obstacles created by the government of a man who promised us on June 23, 2013 that things would be different. It is the same government that accepted to execute the verdict for the families of the victims of January 21, and, after pressure, also the inhabitants of Zharrëz, news in which of course all Albanians rejoiced. But in the case of Gërdec it refuses to accept the same solution, forgetting the beautiful words it wanted to exchange for our votes, while also forgetting the 26 lives of our people that were extinguished by the this state crime.

We know that Prime Minister Rama will repeat the same refrain about the long struggle of our court cases, that the courts would be to blame, while repeating the same old story that that’s why we need vetting.

But for the judgments about our compensation the courts are not to blame. Just like the government wants to vet the judges, we have also for a long time been doing our own vetting. Throughout a large amount of court sessions, one after the other judge of the Administrative Court have shown themselves to have the right level. Judges such as Gentia Hamitaj, Eriol Roshi, Emiljano Ruli, Erarbër Madhi, Selvie Gjocaj, Elda Vrioni, Bernina Kondi, Arbena Ahmeti, Gentian Medja, Nafije Hasko, Avni Sejdi, and others have passed the right verdicts and have acknowledged the guilt of the state, even though the entire current state apparatus was employed to overthrow these claims in court. Even the Administrative Court of Appeals, headed by chief judge Kastriot Selita, has now decided in the first two cases in our favor, while the government hurries to appeal in the High Court. And moreover, we emphasize that these judges, without exception, haven’t given us the smallest sign that they would want a small favor in exchange for justice. They have simply behaved correctly, professionally, and righteously.

On the other side, the government does not pass our vetting. It protects the perpetrators of the tragedy, delays procedures by endless appeals, and deforms the truth with the only aim to deny the state’s hand in this tragedy, changing absolutely nothing from the previous government.

Today is truly late, but not too late for the Prime Minister to find some strength to use his last chance to pass our vetting. Of course he is entitled to the same thought as his predecessor, but at least he can put an end to the obstacles on the road of inevitable justice, and to allow the execution of the court’s verdicts.