On Thursday, the Albanian parliament rejected an opposition resolution condemning the Srebrenica Genocide committed by Serbian troops in 1995.
The opposition accused the majority led by Prime Minister Edi Rama, who all voted against the resolution, of having close ties to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, a Srebrenica Genocide denier. Meanwhile, the Socialist majority said it could not vote in favor of a document supported by one specific member of parliament: Sali Berisha.
The resolution was initiated by Democratic Party MP Tritan Shehu at a time when Prime Minister Edi Rama has been facing increased criticism over his support for and collaboration with Vucic, which the opposition and many experts consider to be at the detriment of Kosovo.
Simultaneously, the opposition has ramped up its rhetoric against the Albanian government since MP Sali Berisha launched an initiative to take over the main opposition party.
In 1995, Serbian troops killed more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys in less than two weeks in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
While the genocide was ongoing, Vucic, then an MP, threatened the international community, warning them not to interfere: “For every Serb killed, we will kill 100 Muslims,” he vowed from the Serbian parliament.
Vucic later became a minister of propaganda under President Slobodan Milosevic during the Serbian massacres in Kosovo in 1998-1999.
The government of Kosovo is preparing to ask the International Court of Justice to recognize Serbia’s systematic killings of thousands of Albanians during the Kosovo war as genocide. Last year, a similar resolution condemning the Srebrenica Genocide was adopted by the parliaments of Kosovo and Montenegro.
Speaking in parliament today, majority whip Taulant Balla said they could not support a resolution that is also supported by MP Sali Berisha who served as Albania’s president during the Srebrenica Genocide. Balla alleged that Berisha had helped Milosevic commit the genocide by sending him oil in violation of an international oil embargo against Serbia.
Balla defended his party’s decision to shut down the resolution. Following Prime Minister Edi Rama’s example, who calls the 78-year-old opposition leader “the dead one” since he toppled the previous opposition leader Lulzim Basha, Balla also referred to Berisha as “a representative from the other world” and vowed to never support any initiative also supported by the latter.
Berisha denied allegations that he had sent oil to Serbia in 1995, but noted that he had been against the oil embargo as it harmed Kosovo, then under Serbian rule. He added that his government had fought oil smuggling while allowing arms to be sent to Bosnia and Croatia, who were fighting against Serbia at that time.
The opposition leader slammed Vucic for enabling the Srebrenica Genocide, and called him a “little Putin”, while warning the international community that the Serbian leader is willing to commit another genocide in the region.
Update, 7:40 p.m.
Prime Minister Edi Rama clarified in a tweet that the majority has “simply refused to include in the parliamentary procedure for the next three weeks” a document signed by Sali Berisha. He reiterated vows that no document supported by Berisha will ever pass in the Albanian parliament.
Rama has harshened his rhetoric against Berisha since he launched a successful movement to take over the Albanian opposition Democratic Party last year. He has vowed to never engage with Berisha because he was designated by the US Department of State over corruption – which was also Rama’s stated reason as to why the majority blocked the resolution condemning the Srebrenica Genocide today.
The prime minister invited people to ask themselves “why this resolution today?” in order to find out the real intent behind it, but gave no explanation as to why this resolution today. Instead he called it a “dirty game” by Berisha, and repeated allegations the the then president had helped Milosevic commit the Srebrenica Genocide in 1995 by sending oil in violation of an international embargo.
Rama concluded that he was sorry for those who believe Berisha’s game and loathed those who go after him.