Albania approves agreement with ICMP to find the remains of communist regime victims

 Albania approves agreement with ICMP to find the remains of communist regime victims

 The government of Albania approved an agreement on Wednesday with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) for the search and identification of victims of the communist regime.

The agreement, approved after eight years of debate, will engage the ICMP to investigate, seek and identify a part of nearly 6,000 Albanians who were killed or disappeared during the 45-year communist rule in the country, one a process that started about three decades after the collapse of the regime,because of the skepticism that the process has started too late and currently has scarce funds.

ICMP has received a European Union grant of around 450,000 euros for start-up work, which will cover the search on two well-known burial sites: Kazermat 313, near Tirana and the tombs near the former forced labor camp in Ballsh, among dozens of sites suspected.

The International Commission on Missing Persons was established in 1996 and has since been engaged in many countries that have been undergoing bloody wars or have experienced fierce dictatorships such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Libya, to search for missing people in conflicts, dictatorships or natural disasters.

ICMP offered assistance to Albania initially in 2010 after an investigation by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network found out how the victims' families tried to uncover the fate of their own people while the authorities were deaf to their requests for information or assistance. Upon approval by the Council of Ministers, the agreement will need to go through parliamentary procedures before it enters into force.

The search will begin with the notorious burial site known as "Kazermat 313" on the outskirts of Tirana below Mount Dajti, where a considerable number of people were buried in secret after being executed during the 1970s and 1980s. According to BIRN's investigation, Jovan Plaku, the son of oil engineer Koço Plaku, executed in 1976, was searching for his father's bones when he discovered twelve buried there. Eight years later, none of the findings have yet been identified.

ICMP will begin collecting DNA champions from relatives of the missing in order to match them with the DNA of the missing persons. Another search site will be a cemetery near the former forced labor camp in Ballsh, south of Albania. This cemetery is believed to be carrying the remnants of those who died at the work camp built on behalf of the refinery. Communist Albania used prisoners as free laborers in mines, agriculture and construction.

Since when rised to power in 1945, the communist government refused to give to the families the executed troops with the intention of denying them the funeral. Those who died in prisons were often buried in the area around the prisons.
Albania approves agreement with ICMP to find the remains of communist regime victims Albania approves agreement with ICMP to find the remains of communist regime victims Friday, June 08, 2018 Rating: 5
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