Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on IRMCT

First of all, I would like to thank President Anguis and Prosecutor Brammertz for their insightful report and briefing.

As Judge Angius is relinquishing his position as President, we would like to pay tribute to his tireless work and efforts, and express our hope that the Mechanism will continue to benefit from his vast experience and wisdom as part of the judicial body.

Dear Colleagues,

From the outset, I wish to state Albania’s strong support for the Mechanism as part of our unwavering commitment for accountability. The work of the IRMCT is key to continue to ensure responsibility for the most serious crimes under international law.

We express our appreciation for the excellent work of the IRMCT over the years, in the face of manifold challenges, and support its continued engagement to ensuring justice for the victims of atrocity crimes in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

There is hardly any need to recall it: justice contributes to reconciliation, peace, and development.

Justice helps heal the wounds of the past and brings comfort in the hearts and minds of survivors.

Justice clears and cements the path towards the future.

I would like to highlight the following points:

First: Albania supports every effort to bringing to justice those responsible for war crimes in former Yugoslavia, Rwanda or anywhere else. We commend states for their cooperation with the Mechanism in arresting and surrendering fugitives.

We welcome the recent progress regarding Kabuga case and look forward to the appeals phase for Stanišić and Simatović; and the rendering on Fatuma and al.

The legal obligation to cooperate with the Mechanism is not optional and arrest warrants should be executed without further delay.

In this respect, the arrest warrants for Jojic and Radeta, who have been charged with witness interference, must be executed. Contempt cases are part of the Mechanism’s work in its important role to ensuring the rule of law.

There should be no illusions, lasting peace and stability will not be ensured as long as those responsible for atrocity crimes remain at large.

Second: Glorification of war criminals, genocide denial or history revisionism are unacceptable. They should not have any place anywhere, even less in the Western Balkans, since they dishonor the memory of thousands of victims, of the genocide in Srebrenica, of the atrocities in Vukovar or in Racak, they run against rulings of ICTY, and contradict the most fundamental European values.

It is utterly worrying that such abhorrent views are openly defended in the main squares, displayed in the streets, and shouted in the stadiums. We should stand firmly against hate speech, inflammatory rhetoric and incitements to violence. We cannot contemplate the risk of recurrence of the-never-again horrific crimes. We must therefore confront false narratives, face the truth, however painful, and stand firmly against the banalization of hatred. History has taught us where ethnic-based hatred and persecution of certain groups can lead; we cannot afford to succumb to collective amnesia. As we see in various places and continents; it is only a matter of time: what is tolerated somewhere will happen elsewhere.

Third: We welcome the IRMCT’s significant work responding to national authorities’ requests for assistance, which, as we have noticed, have multiplied. It remains a critical aspect of the IRMCT for its future as it continues to play an important role in facilitating the rule of law. Therefore, we support the renewal of its mandate.

Colleagues,

While IRMCT scales down in accordance with the Security Council’s vision for a small, temporary, and efficient body whose functions diminish over time, we must ensure that, for as long as it will be in function, IRMCT is able to implement its mandate in full as provided for by the Council.

Let’s not forget: during tenure, the ICTY has achieved a lot. It has indicted 161 individuals, convicted 90 and acquitted 19 individuals, from different countirs, of different nationalities.

The wheels of justice may be slow but they grind finely. Those behind bars know it. We also do.  It is in this way that we make war criminals must know that they will not find shelter anywhere, anytime.

It is our common responsibility to support internationals mechanisms and deliver justice, for the families of victims, their communities and the countries concerned.

One final point, at this stage: As far as the allegations of the involvement of Albania, mentioned by the Russian delegation, I just need to say that this is the overdose of an obsessional fantasy.

What we heard regarding my country, bears the same credibility as what we have heard here from the same delegation, that there “there is no war in Ukraine”: who would believe this; that “Ukrainians are killing themselves” that they are “staging crimes of people executed with hands tied”? Who does believe such inepties, and I spare on other horrors.

Do I need to remind that a Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo and a prominent politician, Rramush Haradinaj, who was mentioned specifically, was twice tried and was twice cleared of any wrong doing?

He did not hide, he resigned from the office of Prime Minster, made himself available to justice, faced the facts, was acquitted and went free.

Will the Russian soldiers and politicians guilty of a crime of aggression and other serious crimes, do the same?

ICTY, investigated in Albania, openly, freely and found nothing, I mean nothing, to substantiate any of the allegations.

Not then, not later, not now, not ever, for the very simple reason that allegations were built on nothingness.

Thank you.

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