Reports

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…)

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

Present situation
At the end of May a man was arrested in the mountains, convicted of avenging in 2012 the murder of his parents, killed by a neighbor in 2003 because of a dispute over the ownership of a stream. The arrested man had acted with his sister, who initially declared herself to be the only one responsible for the crime. The girl, at the time of the arrest, had stated that she had waited 9 years for State justice to take its course, but then, full of pain and resentment, she had chosen to resort to private justice, killing the brother of the responsible of her parents’ murder. The latter, on the other hand, is still at large.
Finally, the only indicted of Mario Majollari‘s murder was released for lack of evidence. Operazione Colomba expresses concern because, as the case reported here above, when State justice is not efficient, victims can resort to forms of private justice that often turn into blood feud’s episodes. (more…)

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

Present situation
During the month of April, we recorded some cases of injuries due to blood feud phenomenon. In the middle of the month, a village chief was injured because of a previous property-related conflict. The dynamics of the episode shows the abuse of the Kanun and the misuse of its practice. Indeed, the man was hit by a few gunshots while he was on the balcony of his house, although the domestic dwelling is a traditionally sacred place, where taking revenge is forbidden. Furthermore, in April, a man, who had arguments over property issues in the past, was injured. His wife said she is very scared and in danger because her family had previously been threatened and attacked. (more…)