Nearly a year after first proposing to compensate the family members of Ziver Veizi and Hekuran Deda, two of the protesters killed during the protests of January 21, the Albanian government has finally decided to pay out the promised compensation. In a Decision of the Council of Minister from December 29, 2017, the government decided to transfer a total of €109,200 to the family members.
A decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) from March 28, 2017 approved the settlement between the government and the family members, after the government proposed it in December 2016 and it was accepted by the plaintiffs.
In the settlement, the government also acknowledges that, contrary to the electoral promises of Edi Rama in 2013, no justice has been given to the families, while also stating that new “domestic criminal proceedings” will be opened:
The Government regrets the death of the applicants’ father and brothers in the protest of 21 January 2011. The parties acknowledge that the compensation, including pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, in connection with this death, will be addressed by the domestic courts.
The Government further accepts that the investigation carried out into the circumstances surrounding the death of the applicants’ brothers was not compatible with Articles 2, 13 and 6 of the Convention, and that these matters were not addressed in the above-mentioned domestic criminal proceedings that were held.
The Government furthermore undertakes to reopen the domestic criminal proceedings in this case in view of including the victim’s next of kin, in those proceedings.
The government’s inaction since 2011, which led to the ECtHR case, has led to annual protests around the anniversary of the protest. So far, the January 21 case has not been reopened.
January 21, 2011
The January 21 protests, during which 4 protestors were killed by the Republican Guard neat the Prime Ministry, followed on the surfacing of a secret video tape showing then Minister of Foreign Affairs and current President Ilir Meta with former Minister of Economy Dritan Prifti, in which he tried to bribe Prifti into handing out concessions to his friends.
Meta responded to the protests as follows in a declaration on January 22, 2011:
Edi Rama went in front of the media to tell all of them and to make all Albanians look stupid that his thugs and his criminals had been provoked by the water cannons while everyone saw that for nearly one hour the bandits, criminals, thugs, and drug addicts of Edi Rama violated, attacked with whatever they could get their hands on the policeman of this people, who are humans, family members, who have children and cousins, who have relatives, and who tried to control themselves, and sacrificed themselves precisely not to hurt the thugs and criminals who yesterday wanted to take power.
Because that what had been promised to all of those who were brought to Tirana, that yesterday Edi Rama would seize power… [this] bastard who has nothing political anymore, who replaced the Socialist Party with vulgar organized crime, who sullied Tirana yesterday, who covered it in blood yesterday.
The corruption scandal didn’t negatively affect Meta’s political future: Edi Rama entered in 2013 into a coalition with him, and Meta became President in 2017.