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Petro Koçi: Here is the evidence that Sali Berisha disappeared to cover up the massacre of 'January 21' and the scheme he followed to hide the traces of the 'Gërdec' affair, the role of Shkëlzen and the evidence that sinks him
Written by SOT.COM.AL 27 Shtator 2023
While GJKKO has started the trial for Fatmir Mediu regarding the massacre of Gërdec and the investigations are continuing, still after 15 years there is no justice, while for the first time the testimony of Shkëlzen Berisha is also required. The Socialist MP, Petro Koçi, stated during an interview for the "SOT" newspaper that the judicial bodies should take as evidence the minutes of the meeting of the National Security Council, called on March 21, 2008 by the former president Bamir Topi, a week after the tragedy of Gërdec The testimonies of all the participants would be very valuable for the court and the investigations at the stage of the judicial process where they are currently. Meanwhile, MP Koçi emphasized that the tragedy of Gërdec, according to him, is a corruption scheme that brought about a technological accident. He also talks about the evidence that Sali Berisha destroyed to cover up the January 21 massacre.
- Mr. Koçi, the former Minister of Defense, Fatmir Mediu, requested a few days ago in the Special Court to question about 90 witnesses on account of the process against him in this court for the Gërdec explosion, as a result of which 26 people lost their lives in March 15, 2015. Among them senior defense officials of DASH and governments, NATO generals and former defense ministers of the Albanian government. Mediu also requests that those who have been convicted in court proceedings with a final decision, as well as all the family members of the victims, be called to testify. Do you have a comment and how do you remember that day?
Gërdeci as an organization scheme, as instruments used to profit in a macabre way, is not a technological accident, but a real scheme of corruption.
-Meanwhile, to my knowledge, there was an important meeting of the Security Council a few years ago, a few days after the Gërdec explosion, what happened in that meeting, since you were part of that meeting?
The National Security Council must be understood that it is not a decision-making institution, in certain events or situations it serves to coordinate the actions of the institutions because it has departments that cover certain areas of security. At that time I was in the role of the vice-chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security, what impressed me was the fact that in Berisha's discussions, an attempt was made to address this event to foreign services. There was nothing concrete, but of course it was absurd to have drawn so many conclusions in such a short time. So that was noticed. It seemed that he wanted to avoid the corresponding responsibility that belonged to the Ministry of Defence. Every institution tried to remove the responsibility from itself and talked about the responsibility of others. SPAK must take it as proof, the minutes of the meeting. It is not the only material that supports the investigation and trial of the case, but I believe it serves to refer to other evidence that SPAK has.
- What was President Bamir Topi looking for at that time?
I remember that he required each institution to speak about its responsibilities. Every institution tried to remove the responsibility from itself. This was everyone's reaction, everyone was talking about the responsibility of the others. It was more of a formality than a meeting where officials are dedicated to reflecting on the event.
- Was there an argument between Mediu and Luan Hoxha?
Yes, there was some kind of conversation, where at least the military part tried not to accept any kind of responsibility. One of my reactions was that I thought responsibility should not be concentrated at one level. There, everything happened in the administration of the directorate that deals with armaments, but it was the military structure involved, even if politics goes crazy, some institutions should be sacred, such as the Guard, the Intelligence Service, these are the symbol of the national interest. When we talk about January 21, it is imperceptible that the commander of the Guard does those kinds of actions.
- What were Mr. Mediu's reasons?
We were dominated by the logic that all of them were responsible, and the worst was that they passed the responsibility to foreign services. In my opinion, this is a true fact which proves that the responsibility lies with those who try to shift the blame to someone else. For me, there was corruption, misuse of duties and negligence of a technical nature, but the explosion of weapons also highlighted the great corruption of that affair. It is a very complex affair.
- Do you think there should be a retrial for those who abused?
It depends on the evidence, for every case when it starts it is updated with new evidence, reopened and revived.
-When do you remember that it was said that even Shkëlzen was involved in this event, was it talked about in those days or later?
Kosta Trebicka spoke those days and he accused the Berisha family. Kosta was a man who became public at that time and I remember him telling me that they met with Shkëlzen to talk about the process, cartridges, etc. He should have been more careful because even his elimination is to raise questions. Costa had his own interests in that kind of business and affair and considered himself unfairly shunned. He accused the government of interfering in a business, which according to him belonged to him. He also talked about prices, things, as far as I remember. He accused the Berisha family.
-According to you, do you believe that SPAK is on the right track to go to the end of this event?
So far no important witnesses have been questioned, Berisha is absent, and former chief of staff Luan Hoxha is also absent. So I believe there is room to dare for new witnesses. Until yesterday, the judiciary found it impossible to touch high levels of politics, they were considered inviolable and scary. The situation has changed and changed significantly. It is not taboo to call Berisha to SPAK, why not to start an investigation if the evidence shows that someone is guilty.
- Could there be a disappearance of the evidence or is the evidence already there?
This is a matter of expertise in the field because I know what may be disappearing, but the people are there. There has been talk of a responsibility of the Berisha family, and Trebicka, as I said, made him responsible. There was a kind of violation of one's own interest, but to me, at least for my standard of political morality, it seemed unacceptable for the son of a prime minister to be involved in some kind of business or affair that also had to do with security. Another thing seemed strange to me.
- Where do you see common points with Gërdec and January 21?
In both events, political governance is undoubtedly responsible. January 21 in terms of the number of damages is smaller, but it is a more obvious fault because the event happened under the surveillance of television cameras, if the explosion in Gërdec was accidental on January 21, it is the people who shot at the protesters and were in charge defense minister, prime minister, the latter also deleted the camera recordings inside the prime minister's office because he didn't want to find out which people entered and left the prime minister's office that day.
- Do you have an appeal for SPAK?
SPAK has ignited people's hope that in this country justice can be done to anyone, my appeal is for them to dare further because I wanted them to come out. Two are the most important moments for the country, when Albania was made with the Constitution and when the justice reform was made, as it is the reform above every reform that will in some way put the points on the many things that have happened in this country.
Interviewed by: Rigels Seliman