OF NATIONWIDE RECONCILIATION
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From the meeting of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation with
representatives of the community and social factors.
About the culture of law and rule of Justice in facing crimes against human life
Held on February 22nd 2010
In Academy of Sciences
The meeting of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation with representatives of the community and social factors about the culture of law and rule of justice in facing crimes against human life, held on February 22nd 2010 in Academy of Sciences, expressed the gratitude and appreciation for the recent contribution of the representatives of international community in Albania in establishing the dialogue between the political majority and opposition for avoiding the political crisis that has negatively impacted the social life in the country as well. The meeting expressed the gratitude for the work of the special rapporteur of United Nations, Prof. Filip Alston and his staff, which are currently in Albania, studying the phenomenon of murders related to Kanun.
This meeting was organized for analyzing the causes of the increase of the intensity of murders and conflicts among citizens. The phenomenon of murders with Kanuns mentality for revenge and blood feud, honor issues, property and land, instant quarrels etc. remains the most alarming problem of Albanian society. This situation, caused by the abundant number of crimes and the deformations of Kanun, has become an issue for the international community as well. The meeting welcomed the interest shown by a group of European Parliament members for releasing a resolution by the European Parliament for the stoppage of the phenomenon of Kanun related murders in Albania.
In December of 2009 and in January of 2010 the rate of murders intensified extremely by reaching the peak in the end of January and beginning of February 2010. On January 27th and 29th two members and a relative of Curri family in Durres and three brothers of Mulliri family in Devoll were executed. On January 31st and February 1st members of Hasani family in Tirana and Daxha family in Dibra are shot to death. On February 3rd and 5th, the husband murders his wife and heavily wounds his daughter in Librazhd, while a 22 years old mother commits suicide and kills her 2 years old daughter by jumping from the eights floor of a building in Kavaja. On February 6th, a bomb explodes in attempt to murder the member of city council of Vlora, Morand Haxhia, and in Tirana an athletics coach, Hasan Rakipi is shot to death with 6 bullets. On February 7th three persons get shot in Shijak. On February 8th a parent is killed for a conflict related to boundaries of the property in Kukes, and another citizen is killed for past enmities in Buliqiza. One of the above mentioned victims was sentenced in 2004 for rape, but was set free and declared not guilty by the Supreme Court, while the three victims of Mulliri family, apart their several years enmity caused by the actions of their mother (sentenced with 25 years of imprisonment for murdering an 8 year old child), had also another conflict for honor issues. For all the cases, the relatives of the victims declared that the police was aware of the situation.
On February 2nd, The Prime Minister, concerned about the situation, requested detailed information from the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation regarding the murder on January in Rinia village caused by conflicts on land ownership. Even though the author of the crime surrendered to the police and is being prosecuted by the justice organs, the four families of the sons of the murderer were forced to abandon their houses and interrupt their daily life to avoid the danger of blood feud. Even in this case, the endangered families have called for the help of the police officer in area for moving some of house furniture, but he did not show up.
In the majority of the cases, even though the police is aware of the conflicts, they are unable to intervene because through their involvement they might deepen the conflict or cause also the murder of the police officers. The police actions in some cases are hindered by their corrupted colleagues, as in the case of the murder of the four high officers of police in Durres and two other in Kukes in 2009.
The author of the crime in Librazhd, arrested for the murder of his mother and the injury of his daughter, admitted to have committed three other murders done 15 years ago. He had murdered, buried and reported his wife as missing, while the murders of two other victims were declared as accidental. The community was aware of these murders, but the police had no information and had reported them as accidents and missing person. The data about the enmities in the territory of Republic of Albania show that the number of people killed for different conflicts, and declared as missing persons, drowned, suicides, or accidentally killed is alarming. In the past 20 years the police have registered 5200 murders, while the enmities for these kinds of crimes have touched a big number of Albanian families. Many families are in enmity with the family of the husband of their daughter that committed suicide. The meeting expressed also the concern about the inability of clarifying the murders of persons engaged in public activity and the murders committed secretly by the state institutions themselves.
The work of the missionaries in the reconciliation process and the punishment of the authors of crimes have influenced the decrease from year to year of the murders for blood feud. As a result of the improved work of the state institutions and the emigration of the families in enmity from Albania, after 2000 there has been a decrease in the number of murders.
The non-application of Law 7501 for land, unsolved property issues, conflicts caused by different phenomena, human trafficking, property violations, daily assaults, keep Albanian society in a continuous conflictive situation and the mentality of Kanun killings for honor and blood feud keeps 1400 families self-isolated or hidden, impeding the freedom of women and children as well. Over 50% of the families in villages remain in conflict for property titles. In the commune of Bushat there are 1050 families involved in land disputes. The owners of the land pretend that these families have unjustly invaded 3.5 km2. Only in Shkjeza village there are 200 families involved in such conflicts. In Llugaj village of Tropoja district, the member of the communal council, Gjovalin Nikolli, has presented in the meeting a list of 29 correspondences with the state institutions of all levels about the sharp social conflict that has involved 3000 inhabitants of this area, caused by the non-application of law 7501 on property. Even though the Prime Minister has supported the concern of the inhabitants of this commune and has asked the application of law, the official responses of the representatives of local administration and Ministry of Agriculture have left this conflict open and unable to be resolved.
Police officers in terrain have always had and continue to have the support of the reconciliation missionaries in all the cases of blood feud, but the action of the police officers is powerless against this phenomenon. The police still remain not backed up by the justice and are misused by politics. The police officers in terrain do not have even the minimal tools for intervening in the prevention of crime or discovering the endless enmities throughout the whole territory. The police have not filed even 10% of the conflict in the social life. The process of reconciliation remains the only institution for the prevention of crime. Even though the office of European Commission in Albania is seriously concerned and in the progress report of the European Commission for year 2009 they appreciated the contribution of the reconciliation missionaries and stressed the necessity of a national strategy against this phenomenon, the Albanian government and parliament have taken no measures in this direction. This strategy, compiled and approved by all the reconciliation associations in their third congress, on March 30th 2009, was sent to the highest state institutions, but no step forward was taken in this direction.
The directors of the State Police, under the pressure of politics, have the tendency to hide the real number of Kanun related killings for honor and blood feud, because the state feels powerless in dealing with them. This is done also for hiding the situation from the international institutions. Facing the pressure of the international community for the phenomenon of blood feud murders, they are often named murders for revenge, murders for weak motives, or categorized as murders for other reasons. Even though the murders for revenge actually constitute blood feud considering the mentality under which they were committed, they still remain unpunished justly due to the purposeful misdirection of the investigation, because the murders for blood feud are punished by at least 25 years of imprisonment up to life sentence in the penal code. The murders for honor issues, which are the most tragic ones, are considered as murders for weak motives even though in parliament, the Prime Minister of Albania himself has asked a life imprisonment for these murders.
The political agenda of the State Police and the corruption of justice system have caused situation in which the majority of the cases, even after the author of the crime turns himself in, the family and relatives still remain endangered and are obligated to self-isolate or hide until the reconciliation is reached. For avoiding the severe punishment or the endangerment of the relatives, the murders for honor issues or revenge and blood feud are being organized and committed secretly and through paid killers. Murders such as those of the UNICEF employee and Irena Seli, which shocked the public opinion, still remain unsolved and the authors unidentified.
On February 1st, the Vice General Director of Police declared in front of the public opinion that the increase of the number of murders is a result of the increase in the number of emigrants that return from the western countries. In the last three years a considerable number of emigrants in enmity, that returned in Albania because their asylum requests were refused, were confronted with murder attempts.
The Albanians in enmity that request for asylum in the western countries are not criminals, but are individuals and families endangered because one of their relatives has committed a crime or an unacceptable moral act. They work with devotion and honesty in every country that provided them with the asylum right. The contribution of the EU countries in this direction has been enormous but it is necessary that this support continues and should not be focused only in the families emigrating because of the danger in Albania, but also on the process of reconciliation and prevention of murders in order for them to progress together with the establishment of culture of law and rule of justice.
The meeting reconfirmed the support for the conclusions of the third congress of reconciliation missionaries and associations and considers the commitment of Albanian state institutions in dealing with the mentioned issues as necessary for the realization of the national strategy against blood feud and the acceptance of Albania in EU without Kanun.
The meeting reconfirmed that for the realization of the national strategy against blood fud, the increase of the responsibility of the government for the avoidance of the factors that created the terrain for the application of Kanun and blood feud is required. This will be reached through:
1- The commitment of the Albanian government for taking respective measures and making respective decisions that all the institutions of the Albanian state, public administration and the institutions of the fight against crime have the statistics of the families in conflicts for issues on land, inherited estates in the cities, human trafficking and honor issues within families.
2- The commitment of the Albanian prosecution, investigation and law enforcement institutions for raising the level of cooperation with the community and civil society for discovering and preventing crimes against life, property family and organized crime.
3- The commitment of judicial system for giving justice, and fight the corrupted individuals in the courts.
4- The commitment of the Ministry of Education and Science for raising the level of the educative work in schools, so that children get knowledge about the law and rule of law, love for life, education, work family and about the rights and obligations in a contemporary society. In the educational programs there will be a weekly class about the knowledge for democracy, law and rule of law.
5- The commitment of the clergy for playing a greater role in the orientation of the followers for respecting the rule of law.
6- The commitment of media for censoring shows that incite the psychology of crime, murders, revenge and blood feud.
7- The commitment of all the factors of the society for sensitizing the citizens that the removal of death sentence is one of the reforms of the civilized Europe that should be supported and that the re-installment of this sentence, requested by the majority of the population and representatives of politics, guarantees neither the installment of justice, nor the stoppage of self-justice murders. The examples of the work of the reconciliation missionaries show that the application of the positive tradition for the support of the rule of law is one of the most efficient forms in the stoppage of blood feud, in the resolution of conflicts and in the peaceful cooperation between different groups.
8- The prevention of the tendencies of the Albanian government for hiding the number of murders, suicides and crimes within the family, the situation of poverty, unemployment and enmities crated by the nonfunctional laws.
9- Union of the political factor with the social one to confront the tendencies and challenges in the way of integration firstly by improving the law and the government.
The meeting asked that this report should be sent to the Albanian state institutions and international organizations together with the data about this phenomenon during the political transition period.
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Tirana on February 22 2010