U.S. Ambassador Yuri Kim Remarks to Press at the Palace of Justice

I see that there are a lot of conspiracy theories already circulating all over the place, so I want to explain myself. I want to explain why I came.

This is a really important moment for justice reform and for SPAK. Why did I come? I came to say exactly that, to emphasize that this is an important moment. I came because what’s very important about this transition is the integrity of the process. I’m not here to tell anybody who they should vote for or who they should not vote for. There’s no secret message. The United States has always been straightforward with the people of Albania. You know this, and you know that I personally am not a subtle person. I say what I mean, I mean what I say, and I represent the policy of the United States Government.

A priority of the United States is to ensure that justice reform is implemented fully and properly. There has been tremendous progress made and lots of people deserve credit, beginning with the government of this country. You have to give them credit. Credit also goes to the opposition and to the critics for keeping the government honest – that’s their job. Credit goes to those who participate in the system, to the media, to regular citizens for watching this process. The job of the United States in this process is to support you. You must want justice reform, you must want change, far more than we do. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said something very wise recently: “The people must want the change. Without the people, the change is not lasting.” All over this country, it’s very clear to me that the people want change. So this is an important moment.

It’s important for the members of the High Prosecutorial Council to have gone through this exercise of listening to the various candidates and asking tough questions. And we’re very lucky because we have three candidates who are very qualified, all three of them. But they’ll have a tough decision ahead of them. The basis of that decision must be objective, it must be an examination of the criteria, of the qualifications. It must not be based on perceptions of threats or promises of favors. That would break the integrity of that election process. It’s also important because whoever is elected must know that he was elected on the basis of his qualifications and criteria, not because of perceptions of threat or promises that were made because that would give you a chief prosecutor who thinks he owes his job to somebody. Whoever is elected must consider that his only master is the law and that he serves the people of this country.

So, again, there is no special meaning (to the timing of my arrival at the Palace of Justice): I came when I did because that’s when my schedule allowed. I’m very blunt. This is why I’m here; this is my message.