Last update: Saturday, May 11, 2019

Blood feud, A crime on the increase

8 vite mė parė
Statistics, Ministry of Justice and Open Data Albania: More crimes in 2009 than in 2007 or 2008. In the course of the last three months, crimes related to blood feud are becoming more inhumane. Shkodėr, a district where the blood feud does not follow even the Kanun (the unwritten customary law).

Blood feud - Increase in cases in 2009, 2010 and 2011 - murders become more severe and inhumane

Blood feud or forced confinement is unfortunately a criminal phenomenon still present and increasing in our country. As a tradition inherited from primitive justice, the phenomenon of blood feud has also shown in the past two decades, case by case and on the whole, deficiencies of the fight against criminality and the mistrust of the community toward the police and justice. The 1990s, as years of high and increasing crime, were accompanied by a large number of murders in the name of self-made justice and anarchy. More than a few cases of murder for blood feud were reactivated after court decisions with low sentences against the offenders who had committed serious crimes. Nor was the phenomenon rare where wanted persons, not under arrest, who had committed serious crimes against the person, were found by the victim's family and executed in the name of medieval justice.

Blood feud in the 21st century -  "crueler" than in the Kanuns

In the name of the justice of the Kanuns, for twenty years crimes for blood feud have been committed, but they were not based on the solution given by the customary law (the Kanun of Lekė Dukagjini, the Kanun of Skanderbeg, the Kanun of Labėria ). Thus, the murder of a woman avenging a crime committed by her son, seeking vengeance against a child, executing a clergyman or a decision reached to have a blood feud but not by the Council of Elders are forms that seriously breach our unwritten customary law corresponding to the regulations of previous centuries. Because of civic movements, social awareness and the strengthening of law enforcement and security in the country in the years 2004 – 2007, this crime decreased according to official statistics. An analysis of Open Data Albania confirms that in 2009 the number of crimes and criminal cases adjudicated for blood feud increased, while 2010 and the beginning of 2011 showed marked severity in the manner of execution for blood feud.

Criminal Law in the Republic of Albania
In the Criminal Code of the Republic of Albania there are three articles that provide for crimes / criminal offences related to the phenomenon of blood feud. These are, respectively, Article 78/2, Premeditated homicide for blood feud; Article 83/a, Serious threat on the ground of revenge or blood feud; Article 83/b, Incentive for blood feud.

Open Data Albania: Number of murders for blood feud is increasing.
In the time span 2004 – 2009, 117 final executable decisions were rendered by the courts in cases related to blood feud and 94 offenders were convicted.

ODA Albania: In six years, there have been 106 court cases for murder for blood feud, whereas 83 offenders  were convicted of murder for blood feud. The year with the highest number of criminal decisions for blood feud is 2004, with 28 cases. The year with the highest number of offenders convicted for blood feud is 2006, with 22. Court cases on blood feud decreased in the time span from 2004 to 2008 time and then increased in 2009.

Premeditated homicide for blood feud. According to Open Data Albania, cases prosecuted and concluded by a final executable court decision for the criminal offence of murder for blood feud, Article 78/2, are as follows:

Source: Ministry of Justice
Comments and analysis: Open Data Albania

In total there were 106 cases and 83 persons were convicted for blood feud. The year 2009 had a higher number of cases than the two previous years, 2008 with 13 cases and 2007 with 12 cases. Serious threat on the ground of revenge or blood feud, forcing confinement. OD Albania publishes it that, following amendments to the Albanian Criminal Code, significance is also given to the prosecution of persons who threaten for blood feud, persons responsible for the confinement of Albanian families. The number of cases prosecuted and concluded in accordance with Article 83/a “Serious threat on the ground of revenge or blood feud” is ten cases in six years:

Source: Ministry of Justice
Comments and analysis: Open Data Albania

Incentive for revenge

Another criminal offence related to blood feud is the criminal action provided for by Article 83/b of the Albanian Criminal Code "Incentive for revenge". Almost every murder or threat for blood feud in a social context has persons who incite it and collaborators who stimulate vengeance for a crime through the execution of the perpetrator or his/her relatives. This evident fact in the social context, and covered in the media, does not find embodiment in the position of the prosecution during the investigation of murders for blood feud. In the course of recent years, this Article is applied only in one case. At the same time, the circle of people who encourage the avenging of a crime through murder is extremely large.

Serious cases in 2010 and 2011

October 2010, Murder of a clergyman

The unwritten law of the Kanun considers the murder of a clergyman (a person dedicated to religion) a serious crime and a violation of the whole community. On 8 September 2010, twenty-one year old Mark Njemza murdered twenty-nine year-old Dritan Prroni with a firearm. Proni was known by the entire Shkodėr community as a Pastor at the church "Word of Christ". Njemza, the perpetrator of the crime, declared that he had killed Prroni for blood feud because in 2005 the victim's uncle had killed his brother. The serious crime was also considered inappropriate by the conservative community that recognizes and accepts the mentality of vengeance through taking blood for two reasons: first, the victim was a clergyman (pastor), a category which according to the customary law does not "fall in blood", and secondly, the victim’s link to the avenged crime was a distant one, blood revenge for an act committed by his uncle.

January 2011. The murder of a minor, the prosecution "neglects" those who incited the crime

The passage of years in the northern city of Shkodėr has been marked by a shocking murder for blood feud. The executor of the crime was a fifteen-year-old with the initials I. Sh., who only two hours before the arrival of 2011 shot thirty-year old Albert Dhampiraj with an automatic pistol. The fifteen-year old boy committed the crime to "avenge the blood" of his father, killed some years ago by the victim. Currently, although he is a minor, he is being held in the detention facilities in Shkodėr. No judicial measure has been programmed by the justice system in Shkodėr for his rehabilitation, although he is a minor confronted with serious emotional pressure because of the loss of his father. The Shkodėr prosecution office has brought charges to which the minor pleaded guilty without expanding the circle of investigation to other possible inciters or collaborators in the commission of the crime or in providing the minor with a gun. According to Article 83/a, criminal liability in such cases lies even with the family or associates who incited the offender to commit a murder for blood feud, all the more one who is a minor.

Translator’s note: Labėria is a region in southern Albania roughly reaching from Vlora south to the Greek border near Saranda, incorporating Gjirokastėr and extending east to the city of Tepelena.

Excel datasets :
    XML, N3 datasets :
      Contributer: Aranita Brahaj
      Translated by: Alba Jorganxhi
      Edited by: Kathleen Imholz