Reports

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – October 2019

Present situation
The political situation in Albania is still uncertain. The new local elections, expected to take place on October 13th have never occurred. A new mayor has not yet been elected in the municipality of Shkodër, after the withdrawal of the last elected one because of a scandal over his conviction for drug trafficking in Italy. Meanwhile, the municipality is still run by the outgoing mayor.
Furthermore, the European Union has postponed the opening of access negotiations for Albania and Northern Macedonia: despite the European Commission accordance in its accession, France strongly opposed opening. Conte, the Prime Minister of Italy, defined this decision as “A historical mistake“. The European Parliament has also expressed its disappointment due to the lack of agreement through a resolution.
In regard to the crime news, at the beginning of October, a murder occured in the northern region of Mirdita: a 34-year-old man was probably killed because of a blood feud. In fact, on February 24th, his brother had killed a 45-year-old man in a gunfight in Durrës. Because of what his brother committed, it seems that the victim lived in a self-isolation condition because he feared for his life. From media, we learnt that the alleged culprit for this murder was a victim’s childhood friend and his family members now live, in turn, self-isolated.
This month an important mention was given, through an award ceremony, to Dritan Prroj, Protestant minister of the Fjala e Krishtit (Word of Christ) church, killed in 2010 for blood feuds reasons. His death led to the foundation of the Association “Jo gjakmarrjes, Po Jetes” (No to blood feud, Yes to Life) which deals with combating the phenomenon, with particular attention to minors’ education and women support. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – September 2019

Present situation
At the beginning of September, the blood feuds phenomenon emerged from the chronicles because of a murder case in Bulqizë (Dibër region). A young man killed his friend for reasons that are still unclear, and the police – for fear of reprisals by the victim’s family – oversaw the house of the culprit’s family.
Moreover, a long analysis of the phenomenon and its consequences appeared in the Albanian media, starting from the description of a conflict that arose in 1997 and degenerated into a blood feud until today. The editorial aims to remind the Albanian institutions that they should eradicate this social plague once and for all, since it is in stark contrast to the demands of modernity and development of the European Union. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – August 2019

Present situation
Albania is still in a political situation of strong instability. Due to the ongoing party rivalries and the low representativeness of the last local elections in which only about 20% of the population went to the polls, the newly elected mayors are facing different difficulties. Especially in municipalities like Shkodër, where the incoming representatives belong to a party which is different from the one of the outgoing mayors, the takeover process is undergoing slowdowns and setbacks.
This month, a wound and two murders hit the public opinion. In Vlorë, 3 members of a family were wounded by gunfire from a man and his son because of a dispute for trivial reasons. In Fier, a 23-year-old man from Tropoja, was stabbed and killed by two peers for trivial reasons. In the center of Rreshen, a 48-year-old man was shot to death in front of his children. The reasons for the crime still remain to be clarified, but at the moment the police investigations follow two leads: blood feud, because the victim’s family is involved in a long-running conflict; or a mafia-type attack caused by drug trafficking in which the man was involved and for which he had just served a sentence of about a year. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – July 2019

Present situation
After the election of June 30th, the climate did not produce any particular clash or unrest. However, some protest marches in Tirana occured and controversies over some cases of vote rigging occupied the front pages of newspapers for days.
In July the volunteers monitored and recorded the evolution of some cases of murder due to blood feud reasons. In the first part of the month, in fact, a man was arrested because, in 2013, committed a murder to avenge the death of his brother, who was killed in prison in 1992. In the same days, the local media also announced some updates that reconstructed a murder happened in 2017 for reasons of honor, aggravating the penal situation of the culprit of this crime.
At the end of July, Lulzim Caka, known in the news as the “terrible of Berat” since he was the head of a criminal gang during the 1990s, was released ahead of time from prison. The story of his release is still unclear and caused quite a stir; the gesture was condemned by Etilda Gjonaj, the Minister of Justice, who revoked his release from prison and investigated the prison director, who was later arrested with a collaborator. In 1999 Caka was also the author of a double honor murder to avenge the death of his mother, killed in the area of Fier. Caka is still at large. (more…)

Operazione Colomba – monthly report of activities in Albania – June 2019

Present situation
In June, Albania experienced a period of strong institutional instability. The election campaign, in view of the local elections of June 30, has taken on harsh tones, so much so as to provoke a boycott of the electoral process in the main opposition party. As a result, in the middle of the month the President of the Republic decided to cancel the elections, moving the date to October 13th. Instead, the Prime Minister has decided to respond to this act by maintaining the date of the elections for June 30th. In the absence of the Constitutional Court, the only body delegated to settle these disputes, the elections were actually held on June 30th, with a total absence of the candidates of the opposition party, who withdrew from the competition as a gesture of protest. However, the international observers have tried to guarantee a correct voting process. The institutional crisis in any case is serious and risks jeopardizing the future opening of negotiations for the entry of the Country into the European Union.
Earlier this month, an administrator from the Selenicë area (Vlora) was killed while trying to quell a brawl between two cousins for ownership’s reasons. Reporting the news, the local media referred to a sort of “property curse”, since even the one who had previously held the same position as the victim had been killed 7 months earlier for the same reasons.
In mid-month, during the usual annual pilgrimage that many Albanians make to reach the sanctuary of Saint Anthony in Laç, two young men quarrelled because of the parking, and one of the two boys shot the other one, killing him. (more…)