European Court Finds Albania Responsible for Deaths at 2011 Protest

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The European Court of Human Rights found the Albanian state responsible for the shooting of three people by the National Guard during opposition protests in 2011 and for not properly investigating their deaths.

The European Court of Human Rights, ECHR in Strasbourg ruled on Tuesday in favour of the relatives of one of three people shot dead while demonstrating in 2011 outside then Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s office in the Albanian capital Tirana.

The relatives alleged that “the commander-in-chief of the National Guard, in charge of protecting the prime minister’s office, had ordered his men to open fire on the protesters”.

The court found that there had been violations of the right to life and the right to an investigation under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judgment said that “although the authorities’ response to the incident had been prompt, the court considered that there had been a number of shortcomings which raised doubts as to whether the authorities had been attempting to divert or inappropriately interfere with the investigation”.

“The court therefore found, overall, that the investigation in the case had not been effective as it had failed to establish the truth or lead to the identification and punishment of those responsible,” it added.

The court also noted that “even though the national courts had found the state responsible for the death of the applicants’ relative and they had received compensation, the circumstances of the shooting have still not been clearly established”.

“Lastly, the court considered that the authorities had failed to show that the use of lethal force that had resulted in the death of the applicants’ relative had been absolutely necessary in the circumstances,” it added.

The protest was organised by the Albanian Socialist Party, the main opposition party at the time, against the government of Berisha, who was in power as prime minister from 2005 to 2013.

Berisha dismissed any responsibility, describing the protest as a “coup” against the state.

Source : Balkaninsight