8 October 2015: A delegation from the Albanian Government completed a three-day study trip to ICMP’s offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina today. In April, ICMP staff held talks with officials in Tirana following a government invitation to visit the country. ICMP and the relevant institutions in Albania are now developing a roadmap to address the issue of around 6,000 people believed to have gone missing as a result of political persecution between 1944 and 1991.
The Albanian delegation, comprising Ermira Shtino of the Directorate for Policy for the formerly-Persecuted, Laura Saro of the Office of the Chief Prosecutor, Orkid Spahiu of the Institute for the Integration of Politically Persecuted Persons, and Refik Golli of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited ICMP’s laboratories in Sarajevo and Tuzla as well as the Podrinje Identification Project in Tuzla; they were briefed on all aspects of ICMP programs that could be applied in the Albanian context.
Members of the delegation and the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday discussed practical steps towards finalizing roadmap activities that will help to resolve missing persons issues in Albania. They also discussed the prospect of Albania signing the ICMP Declaration on the Role of the State in Addressing the Issue of Persons Missing as a Consequence of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Abuses, and acceding to the Treaty on the Status and Functions of ICMP.
The object of roadmap activities will be to provide the Albanian authorities with the essential tools and necessary capacities to implement an effective, long-term missing persons program.
“The Albanian authorities are demonstrating the political will to account for the estimated 6,000 missing persons from the Communist era, and fulfill the rights of families of the missing to truth and justice,” said Matthew Holliday, ICMP Head of Western Balkans Program. “This is of key importance to ensuring that the state takes responsibility for political violence that occurred in the past and for establishing genuine rule of law.”