â€œBerishaâ€™s son order for Gerdecâ€ 02/09/2011 19:30
The Wikileaks cable of 20 June 2008 reveals important and previously
unknown details for the tragedy of Gerdec, which the US Embassy has
secured after a meeting of the Ambassador Withers with the Commander Luan
Hoxha, with request of the latter.
“In a hot political climate, the Commander of the Albanian Army, Luan Hoxha asked to meet the ambassador and talk about his dismissal and the cooperation with the General Prosecution, including facts about Gerdec”, the cable says.
In this meeting, General Hoxha has told his version of the facts for what happened on 15 March 2008.
Different to what was said in a public press release which blamed the way Gerdec dismantling process was operated, Hoxha says that all decisions were taken by the former Minister Fatmir Mediu, from the selection of Gerdec village as a dismantling area to the types of ammunitions that would be destroyed there, including the time that the dismantling process would take.
According to Luan Hoxha, the army personnel had orders to transport ammunitions, to guard the dismantling area and nothing else.
During the half of the project, on December 2007, Hoxha was ordered by Mediu to proceed, regardless his concern that was sent to the Prime Minister Sali Berisha, the Parliament Speaker Jozefina Topalli and the Defense Minsiter Fatmir Mediu.
After this, pressures came through the phone call of a young boy who according to Luan Hoxha was confirmed as Shkelzen Berisha, the son of the Prime Minister Sali Berisha. Hoxha’s declaration says that after this phone call, they started sending big caliber ammunition to be dismantled in Gerdec, without delaying it, according to the cable.
General Luan Hoxha was asked by Ambassador Withers if he gave this information to the Prosecution, and he confirmed that he had presented all the documentation to the prosecutors, but not the part of Shkelzen Berisha, because Hoxha wouldn’t feel safe to give it.
According to the same cable, Withers suggested that for a successful investigation, whoever that knows some truth should speak.
During this dialogue, Hoxha has admitted that he should talk, on behalf of justice, but he hasn’t confirmed if he would ever do that.
Hoxha has also confirmed that there are many other people who are aware of this information.
By commenting the declarations of Luan Hoxha, ambassador Withers says:
“This is the second incident when a high rank official, fearing his life and profession, expresses his confidential concern to an ambassador. The first case is that of the Vice Chairman of the High Council of Justice, Kreshnik Spahiu. There are other proofs that support the version of Luan Hoxha. As Commander of the Army, his relations with the former Minister Mediu were always tense. Same as in our relations, it seems that he was frequently left aside, lacking of the authority to fulfill the duties of his office. According to public data, the General Prosecution seems of having focused her investigation beyond the Army and Mediu, maybe because there’s where the evidence has led her until now. If the version of Luan Hoxha has true elements, it could help in answering other relevant questions and the greatest one: why has the Prime Minister advanced with his constant attacks against independent institutions exactly during this time, by alarming the international community and by raising great question about Albania’s democratic credentials, right before the agreement with NATO”.