Gjin Marku - Interview for foreign journalists
Date: Thursday, January 24 @ 13:23:27 PST
Topic: Albanian Blood Feud
Mr.Gjin Marku - Chairman of COMMITTEE OF NATIONWIDE RECONCILIATION - sent exclusively for ACLIS an interview given to the foreign journalists about the blood feud in Albania.
Classiclady Jan 24, 2008
Question: Do you know roughly how many families/people are affected by blood feuds, and how many children have no access to education as a result?
Some dates on the general situation about the blood feud in Albania, taken from the resolution of the year 2007:
In these 17 years, life of 6000 Albanians has been taken with self-justice. Over 20 000 families were
involved in sharp conflicts causing most of them to confine themselves. These families' children have abandoned school and have been confined for years inside the house, without being able to meet their friends and the relatives even for a moment. State laws are not recognised and observed because the citizens do not consider these laws as their own property. Laws have been drafted to adapt to the electoral interests. They are prepared and adopted without citizens' participation and without community cooperation. Drafting of laws served the politicians to place party, clan or personal interests above society. An example of adopting laws to electoral interest, which brought grave consequences for the people, is law 7501 'On Land', adopted with the consensus of the two big parties at the beginning of transition. In most of Albania's territory this law has not been accepted, and implemented. In the areas where it has been implemented, it has brought about conflicts causing murderers even among families with blood relations. Due to the conflicts that this law has brought about there are 200 000 files with the conflicts between people. Only in Bushati Commune and some villages of Shkodra, 1600 families with tribe relations do not communicate with each other and do not exchange visits because of disagreements on land. This enmity is very serious and is about to cause blood feud among 25 000 families in a country scale.
The Kanun of Lek Dukagjini
The law 7501 is totally against of the human right over their property. Most of the Albanian People have resolved this problem based on the inherited property, and without respecting this law.
Albanian positive tradition for order in community is a value and an important support toward the Rule of Law. The disregard of this tradition has weakened the democracy and has obstructed the development of the society. The main source of disorganization of the society, spread of corruption, conflicts and of crimes of every kind are the inappropriate laws and the lack of trust in state. The compiled bills have served only to the political groups, to disguise of the actual situation and to the tendency for justification to the international organizations. In the civil and penal code there are 21 laws and 73 articles that lead people toward and give space to self-justice. In the Parliamentary Laws Commission continues the presentation of inappropriate bills also for the murders for revenge and blood feud, started for personal profiting aims by individuals and donors that do not know the situation. These bills are deficient, do not get down to brass tacks of the phenomenon and favor the criminals, violators of property and family, murderers, women and children traffickers, and incite corruption in justice system.
In Albanian society, return of law authority will be a long and very difficult process because we do not yet have a capable and devoted political class. Political parties do not have a strategy, ideology, or mission. Their programs are only electoral, temporary farces. Energies of political class and money of Albanian taxpayers have been spent until now only in tactics of taking or keeping the power. People suffer under the extreme poverty stress, absence of elementary services and life security. Most of citizens have lost hopes for the future; they carry out an apathetic, inert life. Unemployment reaches the highest figures in eastern countries. Not finding a way out, they have embraced the way of crime; thousands of women are obliged to work on European streets as prostitutes. The governments have not encouraged, but they have even hindered market development and local production activity. Forests, productive land and agricultural infrastructure have been destroyed. Seeing the chaotic situation of distrust in law, after 1997-98 Nationwide Reconciliation Committee, drafted a strategy on prevention of murders for revenge and blood feud, based on positive traditions in order to observe the law and support the rule of law. Unfortunately, we found lack of cooperation and abandonment of this strategy by structures in government staff. New problems have now emerged that instigate enmity and murders. The newly adopted laws for the restitution and compensation of properties and houses legalisation have brought about murders without the start of their implementation. Enmities for honour and trafficking issues of women have affected 4600 families. A good part of the latter conceals the enmity because of daughter and family honour protection, but they wait for the proper occasion to revenge.
Likewise, in this deep social crisis, suicides and murders within families have taken concerning dimensions, bringing tragic acts in couples and even children. Albania has become the country with the highest number of suicides and crimes inside the family. In Tirana District Court, 10 family conflicts are judged every day, which leave trauma, especially in children. Unfortunately, there is no fair and useful law in this aspect, which could define preliminary cooperation hearings with reconciliation institutions, as the tradition was. Civil and Criminal Code have 21 laws and 73 articles that should be rewritten together with the Procedural Code because their current state favours wrongdoers' activity and corruption in justice leaving room for murders, revenge and blood feud.
The Committee required continuously the combination of the activity of reconciliation missionaries and representatives of the state, police and intellectuals, because we give thus the leading role and the necessary authority to the law, but we have not been supported by either the state or the international organisations. The only ones who have supported us in the reconciliation process have been some police managers. But police cannot operate in cases of blood feud because it aggravates the conflict more. There have been many cases when police interve3netion has increased the bloodshed or the police officer himself has remained killed. Albanian and International Interpol gave a good example of cooperation with Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation in finding trafficked girls, which have become object of blood feud among Albanian families. Due to their work, 430 families of trafficked girls are negotiating to close the case with no blood feud and not making it public, accepting the return of the daughter to the family. 280 deceived girls have returned to their families, 23 have married their pimp and continue the normal life in their country. Prosecution and the courts in this difficult and very necessary fight for cooperation of all institutions have not supported police and missionaries. Nationwide Reconciliation Committee sometimes made public flagrant when police, with the missionaries' help, has stopped the perpetrator, but he has been released by prosecution or by the court. Release of criminals, mitigation or pardon of their punishment has brought about the reaction of the victim's party causing the blood feud execution of the perpetrator or his family members. Over 300 individuals have been executed as soon as they have come out of prison because of ridiculous sentences or release with other forms. People consider unjust the law that punishes 25 years to life imprisonment the blood feud murderer, when the criminal or his family murderer is free, or has received a ridiculous sentence. We observe that the criminal punishment margin, from the lowest to the highest, is very high and allows for abuse and material gain of judges. International community gave funds to eliminate this tragic phenomenon, but they did not serve the purpose and they have been distributed with no criteria or the needed vigilance. Two monthly expeditions that we organised on Christmas and Easter occasion found out that none of the families in conflict or confined by blood feud knows the projects drafted in their name. These projects are drafted according to the formats defined by donors' staffs without knowing the conflicts situation, without adapting them to the ways that influence the mentality, culture and psychology of groups in need. This gave room to funds embezzlement and abuse, serving more to corruption. For these abuses, Nationwide Reconciliation Committee required from Albanian Government and the President of the Republic to receive the necessary information about destination of funds given for the elimination murders for blood feud and revenge in Albania. Police has been the only institution to make efforts to help solve the conflicts and prevent murders. However, they cannot intervene without having a reporting. If a family in enmity reports that they are threatened, it deepens the conflict more and interrupts the reconciliation possibility in the future. Families, who threaten for blood feud, do it in sophisticated forms leaving no evidence. Example: Victim's family or relatives do not declare that they will commit blood feud but they say that they will never forgive. Governments could not manage to deal with this specific problem. Albanian parliament and political tables have considered this phenomenon a difficult issue to be handled by the state. Stay of individuals or families involved in blood feud in Albania endangers their life in every moment. They are obliged to confine themselves or leave Albania. When the family in blood feud confines or flees the country, the tension of the damaged party, requiring to revenge, abates. The avenger may find these people in every corner of Albania if they try to hide in order to live a safe life in Albania.
The most problematic districts with the families and children that are isolated in their houses are listed below:
1 Shkodra 360 fastening families 432 Children 13 Burreli 32 families 43 children
2 Tirana 184 families 211 Children 14 Bulqiza 12 families 11 Children
3 Vlora 82 families 69 Children 15 Puka 23 families 14 children
4 M.Madhe 56 families 86 Children 16 Hasi 17 families 9 children
5 Tropoja 41 families 13 Children 17 Korça 14 families 6 children
6 Berati 33 families 4 Children 18 Pogradeci 5 families 2 children
7 Fieri 59 families 35 Children 19 Tepelena 14 families 12 Chlildren
8 Durresi 169 families 197 Children 20 Gjirokastra 6 families 0 children
9 Kruja 17 families 24 Children 21 Librazhi 8 families 6 children
10 Kurbini 18 families 11 Children 22 Lushnja 43 families 12 children
11 Lezha 48 families 23 Children 23 Elbasani 31 families 14 children
12 Kukesi 38 families 43 Children
In total there are 1310 families fastening in 23 districts, 742 villages and 16 cities, and 1277 children that have no access to education.
Question: Are there any statistics on how many people have been killed through blood feuds in recent years? Is this situation getting worse or better?
Due to blood feud there have been murders about 6000 people in Albania until now. The situation in Albania is getting worst and worst. In the last two years the poverty has been doubled and has reached almost the extreme. Citizens are missing power and water. Most of the children are striving due to the lack of food. The number of murders and the crimes against life has been increased. 17 years Albanians are going through crises, social stress and tragic events, through which no other European country went. The insecurity for life, extreme poverty, stress of violence of politics and media, the doubt for the future continue to stimulate the ruin of life values and an endless and painful emigration. The consequences of this situation are also the tragic violation within the family, suicides as well as the murders for revenge and blood feud. This situation has become a worry also for those members of international community that are leaded by benevolent feelings for the future of Albanian people. This elongated crisis, that is continuously generating crime, is caused by the political leaders and their clans with inheritance from the past, positioned since the beginning of pluralism in both sides of the Albanian politic. These clans are influenced by anti-Albanian lobbies that work against the people’s interests and our national integrity. The influence of these lobbies in the halls of Albanian politics realized the predomination during these years of the fight for power and anarchy; ruination of all our national affluence; the organization of unrests of 1997 for the collapse of the Army and state structures, steal of Albanians’ money and the incitement of population in the civil war, where 1500 persons were murdered. The anti-Albania lobbies with political and religious support in the region and broader have been and remain the main danger of the stability and progress in Albania. The Albanian governments, under the pressure of Europe for stability, cover this situation with media propaganda, sophisticated demagogy and phony debates on reforms and integration. Under the domination of these political leaders the democracy has been violated and deformed. Many draft-laws of the governments do not serve to the citizens’ interests but to the strategies of anti-Albanian lobbies.
Q: What is your organization doing to try to help people and resolve conflicts? Has it been successful?
The reconciliation committee promotes the tradition of the reconciliation, organizes the work of the missioners and of the reconciliation organizations based on the strategy of the prevention of the blood feud and the respect of the law.
Without a committee for nationwide reconciliation the number of murderings and crimes should have been many times higher than it is now.
The Albanian Nationwide Reconciliation Committee consists of headquarters, placed in Tirana with two boards: the administration board and the board of council (academics and distinguished personalities of the political and social life). There are two centers placed one in Shkodra, up north and on in Lushnja, down south. These centers have representatives and have organized the working groups in all the district and villagers of the Albanian country. They are volunteering and receive no support from the government.
More to the point:
The Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation, originated from reconciliation missionaries who were active since 1991, has been established in 1995. It is composed by representatives of several missions, NGO-s and the most estimated personalities of social, political and scientific life that aims common and long-term strategies for reconciliation, co-habitation and integration of the Albanians in the community of the civilized nations.
The Committee is applying the Albanian positive tradition in support of the Rule of Law for liberation of the isolated families, abandonment of the old Kanun’s norms of punishment by self-judgment and for spiritual and psychological rehabilitation of children and women traumatized from murders and isolation. Implementation of this project firstly, is being performed in north of Albania and in some districts in south, where actually this phenomenon is more problematic. The reputation of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation and the support it has by people makes it possible to reach this goal. All associations of reconciliation have embraced the ideas, program and the strategy of the committee. The situation remains more problematic in the cities of Shkodra, Malsia e Madhe, Tropoja, Burrel, Kukes, Lezhe, Kurbin, Durres, Tirana, Lushnja, Berat. The Committee has its working groups in all the villages that are made up by three persons: school's director, representative of local power in the village and a mediator (a reconciliation missionary). The project proposal is compiled on bases of the strategic plan, approved in the First Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries, on February 26 2001, in the Common Declaration of representatives of all villages in north of Albania on June 14 2001, in the Second Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries on September 17 2004, in the Resolution of the National Meeting of Representatives of Community, Civil Society and Media about a common front with the state in the fight against crime on June 21 2006.
First Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries, February 26 2001
Approval of the strategy for the prevention of murders for revenge and blood feud and observance of the authority of state of law.
Common declaration of representatives, June 14 2001
The murder’s responsibility should fall only on the guilty person, who should be penal prosecuted by the state; women, children and drugs traffickers should be publicly denounced and isolated by the society.
Second Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries, September 17 2004
Request to all reconciliation associations and missions to coordinate their work with the state institutions, clergy and other parts of civil society for:
Final liberation of families isolated because of threatening of blood feud
Maximal sentence of the killer
Stoppage of propaganda that incites the psychology of blood feud.
The Congress emphasized that restoration of Kanun’s tradition for putting order in community and blood feud is a reaction of an unprotected society where the state does not totally use its authority. Choosing the self-judgement in this reaction and avoiding the law is in opposition with both the state of law and the tradition. The Albanian tradition has never accepted the self-judgement.
In support of its strategy CNR has also organized the following activities:
National Conference on ‘Encouragement of the Albanian Feminist Movement against the violation, exploitation and masculinity ruling’, November 23, 2002 at Lushnja;
Meeting with representatives of the families and villages of Nikaj-Mertur, Iballa and Dukagjin Tableland declaration of the Start of the national initiative for setting free without conditions of the fastening women and children under the care of the daughter of the President, Mrs. Rubena Moisiu, May 22, 2003 in Iballa’s Church;
Public meeting with representatives of the civil society and state from all district’s for the public denunciation of the women, children and drugs traffickers, as the main causers of murders and tragic events’ , July 12 2003 in Sciences Academy;
Meeting with reconciliation missionaries to declare that their work should be more concentrated on the trafficking and property conflicts as 70% of the latest murders originate from these phenomena, May 30 2004 at Shkodra.
Second National Conference for Equal Gender (against violence, exploitation and masculine ruling): ‘Equal gender is national equality’, March 4 2005;
45 days Expedition of Reconciliation Missionaries, from May 20 till June 8 2005, for keeping under control the situation of conflicts, on the verge of the parliamentary elections.
The National Meeting of Representatives of Community, Civil Society and Media about a common front with the state in the fight against crime on June 21 2006.
Publication of the magazine “Law and Life” on January 2007.
Prepared the Memo that the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation sent for appealing to the International Organizations, European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court: About the flagrant violations of Human Rights and the Actions against national entirety of Albanians; the necessity of sentence of crimes on the population in the events of 1997; and the requisition of measures for the prevention of murder crimes on April 14 2007.
Question: What is the government doing, or what it should be doing? Is enough action being taken? Sd Answer:
The Albanian government has neither the legal base no the necessary means and the authority to protect the individuals involved in blood feud. The Albanian state has not been able to protect even the state police people that hapened to be involved in blood feud, such as the case of Mr. Pjeter Tabakaj, who was fdorced to leave his job from the police forces and confine himself in his house for more than four years, in the center of the city of Tirana, together with his two sons whove have abondand the school. And all this happend because his his uncle is inculded in blodd feud and all the family and the relatives have to be isolated in their houses. Today, on 4th January 2008, the albanian press have published the blood feud revenge of the last day, where two persons were executed, Bilbil Ferhati and Mimoza Ferhati (brother and sister), and the governemnt is quite.
Question: Is there a program to provide children with education at home? Should more assistance be available?
The Albanian government and UNICEF have made a couple of projects for the education of the isolated children due to blood feud. But those programs are not effective and serve more to the corruption.
We have continuously suggested that the only solution is the reconciliation among families and the release without conditions of the children. If the Albanian government and international organizations should have supported the Albanian Nationwide Reconciliation Committee those children should have been free among their friends at school. The government it is not supporting the Committee but in hidden way is abandoning its efforts.
Question: What is the solution to the blood feud problem – how can you stop people from wanting to take revenge?
The only solution for the blood feud problem is the support of the strategy of the Albanian Nationwide Reconciliation Committee for the prevention of the murderings for blood feud and revenge and the respect of the legal state, which has been handed out to all the Albanian institutions and has been published in media since 27 December 2000.
The Nationwide Reconciliation Committee in support of this strategy will hand out once again with January 2008 this strategic plan together with the proposals made for the amendments of the laws and of the constitution.
Question: Is there anything the international committee can do to help or should it dealt it with internally within Albania?
The international committee can do a lot to help on solve the big problem of the blood feud in Albania. Some of our concerns regarding to the international projects and the donors have been given in the paragraphs of our answer to your first question. These concerns have been presented by our organization to the representatives of the International Committee in Albania. For more information about these concerns that we have presented to the International Committee you can check the website: www.pajtimi.com , especially in the memo: “About the sentence of flagrant violations of human rights and the actions against national integrity of Albanians; the necessity of sentence of crimes on the population in the events of 1997; and the requisition of measures for the prevention of murder crime”.
This is what we thought to be available to our answer to your questions.
Besides this I thought to sent you some of the answer that we have given to the some of the questions about the blood phenomenon, which think that they might be helpful for you as well.
Q. What are the types of blood feuds predominate?
The blood feuds in Albania are classified based on the causes that had brought up the conflict. The blood feud is caused by:
The touch of the honor of the person, family or the clan
The touch of the property of the person, family or the clan
The touch of the dignity of the person, family or the clan, caused mainly by the quarrels of the moment
The murder or wounding of a person on purpose or by accident
The violence of the building or of any property of the person
The violence of the female, children or a grown up man
The trafficking of the person
Public offending of the person
Love connection without the permission of the parents
The theft of the right reserves of the work of one person
The offending of the old man of the family or of the old man of the clan
The destruction of the reconcile (blood feud after the destruction of the reconcile
The denounce to the state of the question after the reconcile been reached
The divorce without any betrayal causes
The betrayal by the woman
The injustice imprisonment of the person or the hostage taken
The theft followed by death
Q. Must blood be "spilled" in order to trigger a blood feud?
A. Yes, the blood feud is likely to spread out if the reconcile has not been reached or:
the blood feud has violated the procedures of the Kanun
when provoked on purpose by third persons
when the government or the state police intervene
when publicized without the permission of the man, family of the clan
Q. Are there any other incidents that can trigger a blood feud?
A. Any incident that provoke a person, family or clan might cause a blood feud
Q. Have blood feuds changed recently?
A. Yes, it has changed. It has been distorted and has taken other features from the Kanun, but it still has the mentality that derives from the Kanun. For the Albanians the Kanun is considered more shrine than the Bible and the Kuran
Q. What does the Kanun stipulate with respect to blood feuds?
A. The Kanun emphasized that the blood feud is an obligatory death punishment for all the cases we mentioned above. If the guilty person, family or clan does not ask for regret, does not ask for reconcile intervention or does not accept to be guilty, the Kanun incites the blood feud. The blood feud continues if not a reconcile process is reached.
Q. What does Albanian law stipulate with respect to blood feuds?
A. The Albanian Penal Code recognizes the blood feud as penal act and foresees the maximum punishment. It does not foresee the death punishment, but the Penal Code gives light punishments for other crimes that cause the blood feud. In that case the Albanians understand the present Penal Cod is not the source of the justice, but gives the access to criminal acts, since it foresees light punishments. The Albanians accept the imprisonment for life they never forget the blood feud.
Q. How do blood feuds end?
A. Only the reconciliation is the end of the a blood feud. If a reconciliation process has not been reached the blood feud might happen even after 100 years. The revenge is not being forgotten. The inherited sons and nephews of the clan take it.
Q. Are there any other ways to resolve blood feuds without going to a reconciliation committee?
A. There are no other ways to resolve blood feud without going to a reconciliation committee, with the exception of the cases when the damaged person, family or clan voluntarily, with its (their) initiative forgive the other side.
Q. What is the effect, if any, of prosecutions of people who engage in blood feuds?
A. There is no effect of prosecuting people who are engaged in blood feud, only if the death punishment is being applied by the law.
Q. What is the extent of protection and/or services offered by reconciliation committees to citizens involved in blood feuds?
A. The protection that the reconciliation committee offers to the citizens involved in blood feud consists in:
the efforts for reconciliation
the hide of the person in their isolated place and
the movement from there to other places
the issue of a temporary permission for the
isolated person to move from the isolated
place to somewhere else for his needs, based on the so called “given faith” given by the damaged family
the protection of their rights to the international courts of the countries hosting the persons involved in blood feud
keeping undisclosed of the places (countries) of the persons who are hosted
in country escorting in emergency situations
Q. Do blood feuds continue outside Albania?
A. There are cases that the blood feud has happened and outside Albania. However, the move to another country of the risked person or family keeps the risk far away.
Q. Are there other NGOs (aside from reconciliation committees) that are working in the field of blood feuds?
A. Besides the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation in Albania today there are only these effective subjects:
the Catholics Church with the its peace ambassadors, accompanied by the priest
the Group of the Human Rights
used to be some other organizations, or individuals but now their work has been degenerated in the some reconciliation against payment and other false actions by loosing in this way the confidence of the Albanian people and the government.
Q. What kinds of programs and services are offered by these NGOs?
A. The Catholic Church and the Group of Human Rights mainly give reconciliation messages via publications.
Q. Are these programs and services effective?
A. Their programs are a contribution. However, effective for the end of the conflict is only the Nationwide Reconciliation Committee
Chairman of COMMITTEE OF NATIONWIDE RECONCILIATION
Address: Rr "Maliq Muça", P.46, Ap.23 Tirana, ALBANIA
Tel/Fax 00 355 4 263 126 / 238 033 Tel 00 355 4 259 124 Mobil: 068 27 37 989
E-mail: email@example.com /
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Web: www.pajtimi.com or