OF NATIONWIDE RECONCILIATION
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THIRD CONGRESS OF RECONCILIATION MISSIONARIES
ABOUT THE PREVENTION OF BLOOD FEUD
AND OBSERVANCE OF LEGAL STATE
Tirana, March 30th 2009
On March 30th 2009, Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation organized in Tirana, the Third Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries. The President of the Republic, Mr. Bamir Topi was present in the starting session of the Congress. Reconciliation missionaries from all the missions and associations of reconciliation, representatives of diplomatic corps, local administration and religious beliefs were present in the Congress. In the congress it was discussed about the national strategy against blood feud and about the strategic plan for the elimination of enmities and integration in EU without blood feud. After the discussion the strategic plan together with the suggestions made in congress, was sent to the executive board of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation will present this strategic plan to the President of the Republic of Albania, Albanian Parliament, Albanian Government, representatives of Western countries and international organizations for support and cooperation.
Albanians are the earliest people of Mediterranean, successors of Illyrians. Their inherited language is Albanian, a branch of Indo-European languages with roots from Pelasgian and Illyrian. The main influences in language and culture are the Latin, Hellenic, Byzantine and Turkish ones. They have historically lived in their current territory since the tribal period. After the Roman, Hellenic and Slavic invasions, from fourteenth century till the end of nineteenth century they have been under the ruling of Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire fell from power, based on a decision of the Great Powers, Albanians ethnic territory was split and they live in four states, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro. They still preserve elements of pagan life. Generation after generation they have transmitted the rules of life in community and made them customs. In the rural areas and in the cities as well, the order was put by Kanun or special statutes compiled and accepted by Albanians themselves, which cultivated two extreme attitudes, severe punishment for the felons and admirable tolerance between ethnical and religious groups.
KANUN AND BLOOD FEUD
Kanun as a value and its deformation.
Kanun is a group of rules and obligating codes that protected the human rights, right to life, property, family, freedom, honor and dignity. Kanun ruled without having police and prisons. The decisions of ‘council of elders’ (equivalent to courts) were executed by the representatives of the community with the support of all the citizens. Kanun had rules about ethics and behavior within the social organization – rules that established the hierarchy, privileges and obligations of the individual, family, tribe, village, Bajrak (county), province and nation. Among Albanians the most renown Kanun is the Kanun of Lek Dukagjin (1410-1481), a contemporaneous prince of the national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeu (1405-1468). Kanun was published in the beginning of the twentieth century, based on the notes of a catholic priest, Shtjefen Gjeqovi. Until the establishment of kingdom in 1928, the Kanun acted normally in Albania, apart the efforts for establishing institutional rule of law. The first constitution of the Albanian states in 1912 was named Kanun. During the kingdom period (1928-1939) the constitution contained elements of Kanun. In the period of the communist system (1944-1990) the publication and distribution of Kanun was prohibited. It was re-published in the first years of transition, after 1990. The application of Kanun in the conditions of the political transition was done in a deformed way, causing grave consequences in the social life. The degeneration in its misinterpretation and misuse has continuously caused victims and continues to keep hundreds of families, man, women and children isolated; meanwhile the correct interpretation of the reconciliation process has had positive results by preventing murders and setting free from isolation the maojority of the families and innocent women and children. After 1990 different types of Kanuns were published, for example the one of Laberia, Mirdita, Puka, Dibra, Kurbin etc, however they lack the convergence in a common point, by leaving space for misinterpretations and deformations. The full edition of Kanun would be useful for stopping its misinterpretations and misuse.
Blood feud existed among other people as well and continues to appear even nowadays in Crete and Sicily. In the Albanian Kanun, blood feud is the capital punishment (taking the life, blood shed) of the person that committed a heavy crime toward the life, family, property, honor or dignity of the other. Blood feud is the murder for revenge. The damaged family charged with executing it is supposed to either forgive or ‘take the blood’. The psychological pressure of the community on the damaged party, until they ‘take the blood’ is very strong. The guilty party is forced to self-isolate according to the Kanun for the certain period of time determined in the Kanun. After the guilty party is locked in, there is space for starting the negotiation for reconciliation – which can be accomplished with a pardon or compensation of the damaged party by the guilty one. The compensation is given in monetary value, lands, property etc. Kanun suggests the reconciliation with a full pardon considering it (the pardon) as a high act of moral and bravery. The families that are reconciled through the granting of full pardon establish an irreversible friendship. It is neither the low educational level, nor the bad economical situation, nor the isolated life in the rural areas that keeps Kanun and blood feud alive among Albanians. The lack of an effective legal state imposes its activity nowadays in the villages and in the cities. During the period of the dictatorial system (1944-1990), blood feud and Kanun were completely isolated. The oppressive laws and the application of torture methods during the “Hoxha” regime influenced in the shrinking of Kanun’s activity up to the point where the number of murders for blood feud was zero.
(of Kanun and blood feud)
With the social, economical, political and demographical changes after the year 1990, Kanun neither did remain simply nostalgia nor was a simple document destined to be in a museum, in the contrary it was a tangible reality in new circumstances. It has easily rivaled the state and its structures. In stead of the law and the public decision making institutions the people has chosen to respect the ‘people’s meetings’, ‘councils of elder’, village committees for the land distribution. While the state institutions get deeper and deeper in corruption and keep losing the trust of the public, Kanun has made progress, gaining terrain also in its evolution for adapting to the new times. In 1991 the parliament sanctioned the law 7501 about the land by excluding from the right to property the members of the family that were living and working in the cities. In front of the violation of the fundamental human right on property, Kanun came to stage challenging the law. All the families in the village decided to leave their part of inheritance to the members of the families that were in the cities, in this way applying the Kanun rules. The state commissions for land distribution followed this Kanun’s rule, by letting the part of land that belonged to the members of the families in the city as unregistered or registering it as a state property. The governments and the parliament have failed against this Kanun decision making process. 68% of the people have approved the Kanun’s way of land distribution, in opposition with the law.
This was the first step toward the creation of the Kanun’s meetings and its courts. Nowadays the Kanun tribunals work without restraint according to villages and Bajraks (counties). They operate through ‘councils of elders’, the equivalent of a district court, a broader commission of elders, the equivalent of an appeal court, and the meeting of the representatives of the Bajrak chaired by a descendant of the previous leader (the bajraktar), equivalent to the High Court. Many decisions for conflict settlements and reconciliation between parties follow this hierarchy. These Kanun courts are trusted more than the state courts. Their decision was never contested by the parties, to take the case in a state court. The ‘High court’ often gives directives and suggestions for cases in the ‘District court’, in this way being at a contemporary level with the state courts. These courts have people with reputation and integrity, descending from families of renowned leaders among them. These people are more trustable than the state judges. The Kanun courts have a detailed documentation archived that they keep with correctness. The range of trials that these courts go through is very wide, from simple conflicts on property to murders. These ‘judges’ are continuously asked by people to judge conflicts inherited from the King Zog period as well as current ones. The procedure of examining the cases and decision making in this Kanun courts have evolved with the time, adapting them to the contemporary terminology and practice: Request for trial, preliminary hearing session, Kanun file-suit, decision …. based on the article nr … of Kanun of Lek Dukagjin or Kanun of Skanderbeg, Kanun contract between the parties etc. The Kanun court does the judicial investigation and examination by hearing the parties and they give decisions that can be taken as examples by the state courts. The people, because of the lost of trust in parliament has requested the establishment of Kanun organs of decision making. In april 2004, 3000 men and women congregated in the people’s meeting of Malesia e Madhe which made some decision for amending some Kanun laws and which was welcomed by the public opinion although it was in opposition with the law and justice system. Specialist of jurisprudence and media supported this meeting, considering it as a positive step for stopping the degeneration of Kanun in isolation and murder of women and children. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation intervened immediately for the stoppage and invalidation of the decisions of this meeting and for not allowing their approval in other districts where the people had expressed the readiness to congregate and approve them. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation has continuously had requests to reorganize the People’s meeting of Malesia e Madhe in a nationwide meeting, but this was opposed because it would create a very dangerous precedent against rule of law and would give power to further Kanun based actions.
Kanun has evolved in more dangerous directions as well, for example the isolation and the sophistication of murders. The weak sentences of the criminals of different categories and facilitating their emigration has left the burden of the Kanun accountability on their relatives, forcing them to unjustly self-isolate, including women, children and elders. To avoid the law that sentences the murderer for blood feud with 25 years of imprisonment up to life imprisonment, the relatives of the victims have chosen the to commit the murders in secrecy or via payment of killers.
: Albanians should be integrated in the European family and contribute with noble values as religious tolerance, the given word (besa), hospitality, generosity and respect for law by letting behind the non progressive mentality and customs. The presence of Albanians in four states increases their contribution for peace in the region and the opportunities of profit from the European Community.
: Kanun and the Albanian traditional justice are part of the cultural heritage of the pre-state period that can not be applied in the presence of a legal state. The good traditions for the punishment of crime and respect of the rules in the society can be reflected in the support of Rule of Law, the stimulation of citizens’ will for democracy and respect of law.
: The law supports the reconciliation process and the resolution of conflicts through negotiation but we should not allow the establishment of Kanun structures parallel with the constitutional institutions. The structures of civil society contribute for the empowerment of the state institutions by monitoring and exercising positive opposition against them.
: The right interpretation of Kanun and the stoppage of its misuse is a primary duty of the representatives of the community, civil society and media, which are important factors for the prevention of blood feud and isolation of women and children
Suggestion of Congress
In support of the realization of this strategic plan, from the Albanian state should be requested:
1- The empowerment of justice, independence of the courts and prosecution and the respect of rule of law, by the politics itself.
2- The acceptance by the Albanian government of the reality of Kanun, patriarchal culture and mentality in the Albanian society as a challenge that should be confronted.
3- The complete legal and acceptable resolution of the land ownership issues and the right to inherited property violated during the transition period. The legal resolution should be done according the western standards and international charters of human rights.
4- The reformation of the penal and civil code in accordance with the European Charters of Human Rights and the Constitution of Republic of Albania; the increase of the punishment of the violators of property, life, family and dignity of the person in accordance with the European laws.
5- The institutions of the Albanian State should contribute for the illumination of the public opinion about Kanun and its deformations. The Sciences Academy should contribute for the complete publication of Albanian Kanun, for the accentuation of the values and the messages that it transmits for the respect of law and the support of rule of law.
6- The Albanian state should support the process of the reconciliation of the families in enmities and the unconditioned liberation of isolated women and children, following the experience created in the districts of Kurbin, Mirdite, Puke, Malesi e Madhe.
The factors that brought Kanun back
Kanun has its roots in the structure of society and in a complicated entity of values, traditions, customs and beliefs that are related to it. The factors related to it, historically and presently are multidimensional. The reappearance of Kanun happened because of different reasons:
- The main factor is the disorganization of the society and the malfunction of the legal state. After the fall of communist there was an extreme disorganization of the society, which was not oriented and by the law and Rule of law by a coating uncontrolled movement. The citizens were confronted with all kinds of crimes and were forced to act against them through self-justice. To avoid self-justice and its consequences the Kanun was reactivated.
-Political Factor: The political violence, degeneration of institutions, irresponsibility of the functionaries of state, the political majority-opposition dialog, corruption, the deceitfulness of political leadership, the enrichment through power etc. have made the citizens think of the best and the most necessary model for establishing order in the community and administer justice for them, which lead them to refer to Kanun.
- The factor of unpunished violence: This has been the favorable terrain for the citizens to engage in aggressive behavior without much hesitation. After the fall of the communist system, the phenomena of murders, robberies, trafficking, violation of property, violation of other’s family and life spread, due to the lack of reaction by the state institutions and justice organs for punishing these crimes as they should. Kanun and blood feud revitalized because of the reaction toward this phenomena of an unprotected society.
- Social Factor: Albanians entered and left the communist system without the experience of phenomena like trafficking, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, uncensored media programs, especially movies with murders and crimes, pornography, sexual abuse etc. These phenomena have influenced in the reaction of the families and the community for confronting these occurrences by means of the inherited patriarchal and Kanun mentality and moral.
Cultural Factor: Albanians, although they adapt with change, preserve the mentality and the patriarchal tradition in the family and social environment. The traditions are preserved mainly in the marriage ceremonies, funeral rites, traditional celebrations, relationship in couples, child-parent relations, relations in community etc. Albanians have admirable inter-religious relations, but are mainly a population with oriental Islamic culture, with orthodox and catholic minorities that have inherited idleness. This comes from misunderstanding the religious culture and the principles of Islam, which in no way preach poverty as a virtue. The mentality of poverty as a value is present among the catholic population as well, especially in the areas of, Mirdite, Puke, Lezha, Malesia e Madhe, Mat and Kurbin who is satisfied with few and pass the time without commitments, lack the culture of labor and the ambition for development.
- Psychological factor: The temperament of Albanians is renowned for being vehement and quick reaction. In the conditions of transition period individuals, ranging from children to elder suffered sharp psychological and spiritual problems, like stress, depression, mental illnesses, and individual factors of the personality: temperament, desire to be powerful, the curiosity to exercise violence, abuse, suicide etc. These effects have made the majority of citizens consider the new system as unacceptable and unsafe.
-Economical factor: (poverty). The families in poverty have the lowest cultural level and are more bounded to the traditional rules in their way of living. 60% of the enmities and murders for Kanun happen in the families with a low economical level. The national conference on poverty, on November 25th 2008, highlighted that 55% of the population in the rural areas and 40% of the families in the city lives in extreme poverty. This crisis has become a source of conflicts and social stress that has often brought tragedy within families, sometimes in the presence of children. In these families the momentary quarrels and conflicts fro property, women trafficking, divorces and honor are often and continue to feed the phenomenon of murders for revenge and blood feud. The poor families keep have more conflicts and at a higher extend but the same occurrences appear among the middle income families as well.
CHALLENGING THE RULE OF LAW
The application of Kanun in the society, the establishment of parallel institutions, like Kanun courts and traditional people’s meetings, although not in violation with law and supported by the citizens, are a blatant challenge of the Rule of Law. The cause of this challenge is not the performance of Kanun but the self-exclusion of the state institutions and the political class from the trust of the citizens. A flagrant and painful aspect of Kanun challenging the rule of law is the isolation and the murder of the relatives of the guilty person which is imprisoned or has fled Albania.
There are more than 300 on duty executed police officers. The judges and prosecutors feel unprotected from conflicts that have blood feud as a consequence. In this aspect the state has surrendered.
The establishment of the police unit against blood feud in Shkodra, the project of Ministry of Education for providing education to locked in children within their isolation, and the creation of the center for isolated children in Polican have failed. This ideas and practices were unrealistic and in opposition with the rule of law since the start of conceptualization. The approval the state for the establishment of these structures shows clearly that the state surrendered in front of Kanun, accepts the continuity of blood feud and isolation, and their presence. These state measures have had also the other negative side, the one of funds embezzlement. Since 2001, about 16 million dollars were granted to institutions and associations founded by government ministers and their relatives on behalf of blood feud and isolated children. During the expeditions of the reconciliation missionaries, is was established that the community and the families in enmity are not aware of these projects and do not know these institutes and associations. Although requests were sent to the Prime Minister and to the President for the verification of these embezzlements, no investigation was made except the sporadic cases published in media.
THE CONSEQUENCES IN THE COMMUNITY
During these 18 years, 9800 people have died because of self justice actions. The conflicts caused by the law 7501 on land have left 70% of the cultivable land in a national scale barren and has obligated thousands of families to emigrate. In some areas, the law has caused murders even between blood-related families. Only in the areas of Zadrima and the villages of Nen Shkodra there are 2200 blood-related families that do not communicate with each other and do not pay visits to each other because of the disagreements on land issues. There are 120 000 files of conflicts about property titles on land in the district and appeal courts. Because of the corruption in these courts, contestable decisions were made, which deepened the conflicts between parties and led them toward blood shed. The conflicts have increased poverty, imposing the demographical movement to the cities where even children are obligated to work for providing the survival of the families. 11 000 children were unable to frequent school because of this situation. The conflicts for drug and women trafficking have involved 4600 families in enmities, which are kept secret and wait the opportune moment for payback. In 18 years, from 1991 till today 6000 families where locked in, isolating women and children in contradiction with every Kanun rule. Only in 1997, when the arm depos were broken and the population was armed, there were about 2000 people killed, over 5000 injured and 3500 families locked in fearing the enemies and the criminal groups. In 2002, 1270 men had fled the country to hide from their foes. Today the majority of them are united with their families after being provide with asylum in the Western countries, but there are thousands of other families in emigration that can not return in their country because of these enmities. The freeing of the felons, reducing their sentence or granting them the general pardon has caused the execution for blood feud of the discharged person or members of his family. 303 individuals were executed after they were liberated by the amnesty of 1997 and in the following years. In Tirana there are about 110 isolated families and 70 others hiding, among whom, police officers together with their children that do not frequent school for years. The movement of the families from the rural areas to the cities did not fade the phenomenon. The process of negotiation and reconciliation has made possible that 40% of the families in conflicts and enmities to reconcile or accept the resolution of the conflict through legal ways, but every days new conflicts start, keeping the number of locked in or hiding families fluctuating between 800 to 1500. Emigration of the families in enmity has decreased the number of murders every year. The police reports only the filed crimes against life, 300-350 every year, meanwhile in the emergency room of “Mother Tereza” hospital only in year 2008, 720 wounded persons were cured. Furthermore the murders are classified as for revenge and not for blood feud, when every murder for revenge is actually blood feud.
VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO LIFE
The respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, has are completely sanctioned n the Constitution of Republic of Albania. Life is a right, a fundamental attribute for a human being. The fundamental human rights and freedoms, according to the article 15 of the Constitution, are inseparable, inalterable and inviolable and are in the foundation of the legal system, and that it is a crucial constitutional duty of the state to respect and protect these rights. The innocent individuals, that until the moment that they “are in blood” had these rights as member of the society, suddenly are deprived from these rights. Not being guaranteed by the law, they are obligated to lock themselves in and limit a majority of their freedoms. Considering the tragic consequences of the self-justice actions, 90% of Albanians are in favor of re-sanctioning the death penalty. Also representatives of the parliamentary political parties have publicly supported the necessity of re-sanctioning death penalty. This mentality of the majority of Albania population and its politicians has its roots in Kanun mentality. \
Compared to the emancipated and modern legislation of Europe, the Albanian state is unable to guarantee the life of the person, his freedoms and safety, meanwhile Kanun, traditional codes, self-justice and blood feud are able to eclipse the law. The First and Second Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries have saluted the decision of Council of Europe for removing death penalty. Through blood feud and isolation many other constitutional rights, like the right to vote, are violated. Apart the fact that this right has systematically been violated by the political parliamentary parties, the isolated citizens should have the right to vote. The right of every citizen to elect or be elected, according to article 45 of the Constitution should be guaranteed by the law. Furthermore, according to the constitution, everyone is free to choose its religion or beliefs and to express them individually or collectively in public through their cults, education, and the practice of the rites. The freedom of organization is another constitutional right that has its essential importance in the creation, development and perseverance of democracy. It helps to guarantee the people the right to gather for protecting their interest and helps in protecting other constitutional rights and freedoms. But the locked in individuals are limited in their rights to organize in groups for any legal goal or to participate in peaceful protests in public spaces for the realization of their constitutional rights. These locked in citizens lack the right to move freely in every part of the territory of Alabnia, not to mention their right to work and to get education. The existence of the Albanian mentality for the application of rules of traditional justice and the situation in which the individuals locked in because of blood feud are, is a phenomenon that can not be considered as a co-traveler with a society that is seeking to be a member of the European community.
THREAT TO NATIONAL AND SOCIAL SECURITY
The application of Kanun not only violates the freedoms and rights of the citizens, but threats the national security as well.
The declaration of the state institutions that we recognize and accept only the law and the legal justice system did not influence the spread of Kanun. The state institutions feel powerless in front of Kanun psychology and mentality. With the aggravation of the poverty and the lack of income for providing a living the social stress and depression has increased, which can lead to a start of revolts. With the existence of Kanun mentality these revolts can degenerate in chaos and butchery as in the turmoil in 1997. The citizens that every day are understanding more that their national wealth is not at their disposition anymore, and it was sold and continues to be sold to foreigners in corruptive ways – mainly to global mafia operators, that conduct life and environmental endangering businesses with the poor countries. It is necessary that the Albanian politics repairs immediately these damages toward the population and the national resources, which appertain only to the Albanian citizens. Albania is a member with all the rights of the greatest political-military alliance NATO. Albanians should not be identified with events like the ones in 1997, blood feud and isolation, but they should be considered as contributors of peace to the people that are not free.
Even though there is an increase in the sensibility of the citizens toward the lack of an effective legal state and the increase of negative phenomena, they feel tired, deluded and have lost the hope for a way out. The laws have lost their importance and are not respected. Corruption in the administration and all the levels of government has caused the loss people’s trust in the state and law. The citizens deluded and abandoned by the politics have the tendency to oppose the law and create silent alliances for not enforcing it. The majority of the citizens have abandoned the participation in the elections. This part of the citizens that participates in the elections is connected with personal interests of getting jobs in the administration or other promised favors. The electoral programs in Albania are perceived as demagogical farces that cover the corruptive contracts and affairs of the governing authorities and politicians with individuals that influence groups of citizens. Although the positive tradition can be used in support of rule of law and the confrontation of citizens with the law violators, the governments and the opposition do not support the promotion of this tradition because of the wrong stereotype on the tradition. The positive tradition for order in community and the stimulation of the inclusion of all the citizens in the decision making process is a necessity for the time being. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation has been alone and without support from the government and politicians in its efforts to promote this positive tradition.
The return of the trust in the functioning of the rule of law and its institutions will directly affect in the avoidance of Kanun and blood feud. Abandoning the tribal responsibility, and letting the responsibility of murder only on the author, who should be prosecuted by the state, the stoppage of isolation of women and children is a duty of the whole society.
Albanian society should be more prepared to confront the challenges and the problems that show up during the transition period. Knowing the factors that bring blood feud increases the responsibility of the institutions and their effectiveness in confronting this phenomenon
All the factors of the society should work for the sensitization of citizens for the denunciation of women and children traffickers as violators of the freedom and life of unprotected individuals and the main causers of enmities and tragic murders.
Raising the level of sensitization in community that the national and regional security comes first from the behavior of the citizens, and that antagonism toward the law and the tendency for not respecting it has long term consequences that damage the future of the society
The recognition and the acceptance of the state courts for the resolution of conflicts on land, property and family issues; respect for the decisions of the courts and legal procedures in the resolution of conflicts; the resolution of conflicts through negotiation and reconciliation should be done in accordance to the laws of the state and constitutional institutions.
The participation of all the citizens in the electoral process and in decision making decreases the level of corruption, increases the political responsibility of the leadership and develops the society and country. Raising the culture of civil protest for negative phenomena, corruption, organized crime brings social harmony and peace.
Suggestions from the congress
For the realization of the strategy, 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.
10- Pulling the country out of poverty, the development of the national wealth, the steady growth of the economy and the GDP per capita, and protection of the national resources and the destruction of monopolies that continue to deepen the poverty.
11- Development of the infrastructure, favoring the private free initiative and the creation of trust in this initiative, creation of the opportunities of self employment without any obstacles, especially for the youth.
PRESENTING THE STRATEGIC PLAN
The compilation of the strategic plan is done by the representatives of the board of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation, who have the necessary knowledge and experience for it. The planning of the strategy is based on the knowledge on the situation of conflicts and enmities during the years of transition and the actual situation in terrain. The experience is related to the efforts for several years and the results of the reconciliation process, possibilities and needs that appear while dealing with the phenomenon. The strategic plan presents the objectives, aims, cooperation, time periods, and the methodology of the realization. The draft-strategic plan is presented for discussion in the Congress of the Reconciliation Missionaries and after the suggestions of the members of the Congress it goes through the special commissions for the final examination and approval. The strategic plan will include the cooperation with the state institutions, the activity of which will be coordinated with the staff of the Coordinative Council against blood feud, lead by the President of the Republic, who will continuously be informed on the ongoing of this plan.
Although, Albania has a legal basis for the neutralization of blood feud phenomenon, from the fact of classification of blood feud as a murder that deserves maximal sentence, the punishment for threatening for blood feud and causing isolation, to the law for the resolution of disagreements with reconciliation, the phenomenon continues to remain present. This comes because there is no common strategy of the state with the NGOs specialized in this field. Blood feud has shrunk the activity of the law, police and justice organs because they are afraid of confronting it. Even if the laws were to be executed, a strategy with clear objectives and goals for eliminating the enmities that are born because of the Kanun mentality is necessary. There existed strategies against blood feud even during the Zog’s Kingdom and communist system. First the enmities that are caused by the laws should be eliminated by correcting the laws d the decisions of the government. Second, the strategy should stress the efficient cooperation of the state factors with the one of the civil society, by getting the commitment of the parliament, president, government and ombudsman in this issue. Coordination will realize successful efforts to stop, minimize, and quell blood feud. The strategy should predict the preventive measures for this phenomenon through the resolution of conflicts with reconciliation and the empowerment of the authority of the legal state, increasing the safety of the citizens, economical development of the rural areas, education about law and the sensitization of the opinion for trusting the state. Increasing the cooperation between the structures of the local power and civil society for pointing out, negotiation and solving the conflicts at the early state, for the reconciliation and liberation of innocent people, should be followed with the intensification of the work of police in community, documentation of the conflicts, detentions of murders and the wanted criminals, avoidance of conflicts that started because of blood feud, correct information of the public opinion about blood feud and Kanun. This is the reason that Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation is asking for a continuous frontal work from all the factors, to bring back the trust of the public in the state as well as to raise and educate individuals that work and think for peace, protection of their own and others lives. This asks for deep changes in the culture, mentality, politics, economy, legislation and overall a more trustable and stronger justice system. The trust of the public in the state can be reached through giving fair and deserved (maybe more severe) punishments by the justice to the citizens that commit crimes and politicians and governing authorities that abuse with politics, power and justice.
Cooperation with the government, the endorsement of the national strategy for development and integration, coordination of the articles of the strategic plan with the possible aspect of this strategy brings the activation of the structures of the administration in the realization of this strategic plan
The information of the community on the demands of the Council of Europe and European Commission for reforms and progress and supporting them increases the level of citizens’ participation and responsibility in the political and social processes.
The information of the community on the international charters of human rights and all the protocols signed by the Albanian government and the member countries of UN provides a support for democracy and Rule of Law and opens new horizons for the citizens commitments.
DATA ON THE SITUATION OF CONFLICTS
The work of reconciliation missionaries has made possible that in these 17 years 3680 isolated families get their freedom back and 2090 others to find the protection for getting asylum in the western countries. Through the work in years, 40% of the families in conflicts on property were able to reconcile and accept legal solution. From 300 00 conflicts for property titles, created by the law 7501 about land, which was opposed by the majorities of Albanian families., 170 000 of them have accepted the resolution through the law. 126 000 files of conflicts on land are in the courts, 28% of them have given up the request for a court decision and declare that do not accept the legal solution. 15 000 families are in conflicts because of informal buildings. From 126 000 conflicts on property issues 23 000 of them need attention cause they are precipitating toward enmities. With the application of the positive tradition the missionaries of reconciliation have created the positive experience in the conflicts caused by women trafficking as well. There are about 4600 families involved in these enmities. From the work of the reconciliation missionaries 560 families of these women and girls are reconciled with the family of the guilty person by closing the case without blood shed and without making it public. The only ones that engage in the reconciliation process are the missionaries that are lead by the tradition and the culture of negotiation determined in the Kanun.
Every other kind of engagement did not have any results. The Committee and the reconciliation missionaries are not supported by the Albanian state or by the donors. After the crisis of the years 1997-1999, Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation compiled a strategic plan for the prevention of the murders for revenge and blood feud, which was presented to the President of the Republic, Prime Minister, Parliament and all the state institutions and international organizations. The strategy was published in the journal of the party in power “Zeri I Popullit” (Voice of People), but did not find the support from the state structures or the international donors. The missionaries have continuously found themselves in difficult situations because of the decisions of justice and law enforcers when the cooperation of these institutions is very much needed. Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation has always made public the need for the establishment of the commissions for re-examining the land distribution and the compensation of land owners. In the same way we have published flagrant cases when the police have stopped the author the crime, but he was released or had a much reduced sentence. The liberation of criminals, reducing their sentence or giving them general pardon has brought the reaction of the party of the victim causing the execution for blood feud of the person that was set free or members of his family. Over 300 individuals were executed as soon as they got out of prison because of these ridiculous sentences or the liberation through other corruptive ways. In this way 300 policeman were murdered in confronting criminals that move freely because they have found the support of legal structures and powerful individuals. The lawmakers have approved a law that sentences from 25 year up to life imprisonment the murderer for blood feud, at a time when the violator or the murderer of his family is free or suffered a ridiculous sentence. It was noticed that the margin determined in the law for sentencing the criminals from the lowest to the highest degree is very big and leaves space for abuse and for corruption of judges. From the information that Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation has, it is consisted that the international community has provided special funds for the elimination of the phenomenon of blood feud, but they were distributed without any criterion and the necessary vigilance to associations and individuals that do not have voluntary basis, experience or the organization to contribute in the process of reconciliation and resolution of conflicts. The yearly expeditions organized during Christmas and Easter have established than none of the families in conflict or isolated because of blood feud are aware of the projects compiled on their behalf. These projects are compiled by associations and institutes founded by governors without knowing the situation in terrain and the necessary measures to improve this situation. For these abuses the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation has asked the Albanian government and the President of the Republic to investigate on where did the donations for the elimination of murders for revenge and blood feud in Albania end. In an irresponsible way the funds are use for advertisement and media show. Tirana with a population of about 1 million inhabitants has a population of about 1 million inhabitants and has over 5000 orphans that suffer under extreme poverty and the lack of orphanages as there is only one state orphanage with a capacity of 60 children. In Tirana there are about 110 isolated families and 70 other hidden, among which police officers together with their children that do not frequent school in years. The police, although it was the only institution that has made the efforts to support missionaries in the resolution of conflicts and the prevention of murders is in the same difficult positions as the missionaries, because it lacks the necessary technical and legal tool. In most of the cases, the police can not intervene in enmities without having a denunciation. A family in enmity does not denounce the other family because in this way they deepen the conflict even more and cuts any possibility for reconciliation in the future. Families that threaten for blood feud do it in sophisticated ways without confronting the law by declaring only that they don not forgive the family of the enemy. The governments try to cover the situation by asking the police to classify the murders only as crimes against life, revenge or settling scores because they are unable to deal with this specific problem. In the Albanian parliament and in the political round tables this phenomenon is considered as an issue that the state has trouble dealing with, or is attributed to the lack of efficiency in the work of the police, without knowing the situation in terrain.
The difficulties of the reconciliation process and the protection of the families in enmity
Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation leads the process of reconciliation. It follows the situation throughout the country and files all the cases of blood feud conflicts.
The reconciliation process is followed only with trusted people. The mentality and the psychology of the families in enmity that follow the rules of Kanun do not tolerate hasty actions, the leak of confidential information, publications denunciations and testimonies in front of investigative organs without their approval. Blood feud is more delicate than any other crime in Albania. Every hasty action by our side or implication, without being consulted with the families in enmity might cause bloodshed. Our meetings with the parties in conflict are confidential up to the moment of final reconciliation. We have had cases of murders caused by irresponsible actions or information made public before and after the reconciliation. In 1997, explosive was blown in front of the house of the leader of reconciliation missionaries in Shkodra Mr. Ndrek Pjetri, who was forced by the threats to flee from Albania. In 2004 the former secretary and the photograph of reconciliation mission Mr. Emin Spahia was murdered. Both cases are yet tracked down by the organs of Albanian State. The persons that we contact in the families in enmity are mainly trusted persons of these families. They are the most trusted persons of the damaged party, but our meetings with these persons are well-understood as having good intentions even when they are done in a confidential way. The isolated or hidden families change residence several times until the case is closed with reconciliation or leave Albania. The number varies from 800 to 1500 according to the possibilities of the families to leave Albania. In 2004 this number was as low as 780 because of the fleeing families, but with the approval of the law on motorboats the number of isolated and hidden families reached 1450 in 2008. The movement of the families from the rural areas into the cities has not faded the phenomenon. In the urban centers there is a higher concentration of the isolated and hidden families.
: The Kanun structures of reconciliation can work only on the reconciliation process, resolution of conflicts and special cases to avoid bloodshed. They should be replaced by the state institutions. While they are functional they should continuously support the rule of law by implementing the strategy of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation for keeping the triple task force active in every village, made up by the missionary, school’s director and representative of the local power.
Kanun is a reality that can not disappear without the development of democracy, empowerment of law and the return of the trust on the rule of law. Kanun simply asks for justice and correct application of the duties of every individual toward the community, laws and the decisions of the people, which should be made only for the people and in its interest. A considerable part of the laws are not created for its interest, but to serve the political leadership as a tool for keeping its power and in the interest of its supporting groups. The governments do not take in consideration that they are paid by the citizens, businesses and their work, and that the state budget is money collected from the life of children, elder people and all the citizens that seek a better life and order in the community. With the money of the citizens they have created unacceptable commodities for themselves and think that they deserve these commodities. The expenses for a luxury life, travels outside the country, activities for their political performance and propagandistic demagogy, the embezzlement of citizens’ money for having more persona wealth, power and political support is not punished by the law. In the minds of ministers and high functionaries there exists the concept that the people should pay and should hear them.
The Kanun mentality does not change without raising the living standard of the citizens, without the cultural and economical development of the country, especially the undeveloped areas, not only in the villages but also in the suburbs and within cities. In these 20 years the people suffers under the stress of extreme poverty and lack of the most elementary services and life safety.
The government, parliament, state institutions and the local administration are indifferent toward the situation and the efforts of the civil society to improve it. The ministers and their counseling staffs are the most corrupted part of society; they are the main basis planting corruption and organized crime.
The institutions of rule of law, prosecution and the courts are under the pressure of the government and the laws approved by it for subjecting these institutions and hinder the investigation of corruption and criminal activity of the government functionaries.
The society is still not emancipated and not aware of its freedoms and rights. It does not put pressure on the control of the government spending and ministers because they do not have the necessary mechanisms to do that. The ministers don’t allow citizens in their ministries, do not meet with citizens, do not follow their problems, alienate themselves from the simple life and are in the service of the politics of the party by abandoning also the obligations for the reforms that the country needs. The majority of ministers spend the time in uncontrolled entertainment inside and outside the country.
THE ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE CONGRESS AND THE APPEAL TO PUBLIC OPINION, ALBANIAN STATE INSTITUTIONS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF WESTERN COUNTRIES IN ALBANIA
• The Third Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries held in Tirana on March 30th 2009, after analyzing the activity of the nationwide blood feud reconciliation associations and commissions, the causes of this very damaging phenomenon for the Albanian society, the work of reconciliation missionaries in terrain and the future activities established that:
o Apart the very efficient of the reconciliation missionaries, blood feud still remains a major national problem and a wound of the Albanian society. It is a serious obstacle for the Albanian society in the path toward democracy, rule of law and European integration.
o The application of Kanun in the circumstances of political transition period is done in a deformed way, having grave consequence in the social life. The degeneration in its misinterpretation and misuse has continuously caused victims and continues to hold hundreds of families, men, women and children isolated.
o During the political transition period, whilst the state institutions went deep in corruption and in the loss of the public trust, Kanun has made steps forward, thus gaining terrain in his evolution to adapt to present time as well.
o The factors that brought Kanun back are multidimensional. The main factor is the disorganizations of society and the malfunction of the legal state. Other secondary factors are: the political factor; unpunished violence; social, cultural, psychological and economical factor.
o It is neither the low educational level, nor the economical underdevelopment, nor the live in isolated rural areas the reasons that Kanun and blood feud still live among Albanians. The lack of an effective legal state imposes its activity even nowadays in villages and in cities as well.
o During the political transition period, even though there is an increase in the civil sensitivity toward the lack of an effective legal state and the increase of negative phenomena, the citizens are tired, deluded and have lost the hope for a way out. The return of the trust on the functioning of rule of law and legal institutions would directly affect the abandonment of Kanun and blood feud.
o The Third Congress of Reconciliation Missionaries expresses the conviction that the Albanian society has the final goal of integration in the European Union and the establishment of rule of law, increase of welfare and the reach of the European standards of democracy.
o The Congress approved the National Strategy Agains Blood Feud. The strategy is based in the cooperation of all political and social factors for the stoppage of this phenomenon. The Congress sends a special appeal to the whole Albanian society to stop the hand of crime that has caused this tragedy and pain on Albanian families. We make an appeal for presenting to the civilized world the great virtues that our ancestors have passed onto us, like humanism, respect for each other, sublime respect and support for minorities, dedication toward family and its holy values and dedication toward democracy and rule of law.
o We call for a social solidarism by the civil society and Albanian state for overcoming the economical crisis, unemployment and lack of trust and hope for the future.
o The Congress assures all the reconciliation missionaries and Albanian society that we will work tirelessly in the future, as we have done so far, in the sacred mission of reconciliation, fight against crime and phenomena that violate life, property and the best values of Albanians.
o The Congress deeply appreciates the mission of national reconciliation as a primary duty for our European future. We deeply appreciate the everlasting work of Anton Ceta and other great reconciliation missionaries.
o The Congress appeals to the President of the Republic, Albanian Parliament and government to work for the national interests and in service of Albanian citizens, to put the interests of the society before any party interests. We appeal to the Albanian society for contributing in filtering politics from the corrupted elements, whose activity seriously endangers democracy, legal state, social welfare and national security.
o We make an appeal to the Albanian government and political class to not intervene or pressure the justice institutions, fanatically respect the principle of division of powers, unconditionally support the organizations in charge of fighting crime, equip them with the necessary logistics and appoint individuals with high moral integrity and dedicated till the end in the fight against crime in charge of these organizations. Albanian state should guarantee maximal protection to attorneys, judges, witnesses and their families.
o We make an appeal to the Albanian Parliament to approve strong laws for punishing those that violate the life, property and dignity of others. We make an appeal to the Albanian government for paying special attention to the protection and rehabilitation of crime victims, especially the most exposed groups toward it, like minors and women. We make an appeal to the Albanian parliament for revising Law 7501 on property, as a conflictive law, that has caused thousands of victims and fosters the psychology of crime.
o We make an appeal to the international community to continue the support of Albanian people in its efforts for democracy and rule of law. We make an appeal to the Council of Europe and member countries of European Union for activating all their potentials in offering more projects for the population of the rural areas in Albania.
o We make an appeal to the Albanian Parliament for revising the penal code in order that premeditated murders are punished with 25 years of imprisonment up to life sentence without parole or amnesty right. Extenuating circumstances for murder should be very specific and defined clearly to avoid loopholes that create space for corruption.
o We make an appeal to the Albanian parliament and the President of Republic to contribute in the further improvement of the law and the functioning of the coordinative, consulting council in the fight against blood feud by inviting in the compilation of the final draft experts of the European Council as well.
THE CONGRESS RECONFIRMED THAT:
The strategy of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation against blood feud is approved and it will be implemented by all the missionaries and associations that work in the process of reconciliation and prevention of murders. The support and the protection of asylum rights of the families that emigrate because of enmities and blood feud will be conducted by the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation. All the families that are in enmity and leave Albania because of blood feud should file their request for the ongoing of the reconciliation process near the main office of Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation who will follow the reconciliation process with a priority. The asylum providing commission of the western countries should ask the families or individuals that seek asylum because of blood feud to address to the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation because CNR has the structures in the highest professional levels for leading the reconciliation process. The issuance of the attestation letters for the situation of enmity and conflict should be done only through the Committee of Nationwide Reconciliation. International institutions and the asylum commissions should be informed that the statistics of the police and state for the murders for blood feud is minimized up to the negation of existence for misinforming the international community in order not to expose the inability of police and state institutions and not to hinder the process of integration in European Union.
The examples of the work of missionaries from districts of Kurbin, Malesia e Madhe, Mirdita, Puka, Lezha etc. show that the application of the tradition for reconciliation of families in enmities and in support of the legal state is one of the most efficient ways for the stoppage of blood feud, resolution of conflicts and the peaceful cohabitation between different groups.
The elimination of death punishment is one of the new ideas of civilized Europe that should be supported by all the citizens. The reinstallation of this punishment, which is requested by a major part of the population and politicians, guarantees neither the establishment of justice, nor the stoppage of self-justice murders.
COMMITTEE OF NATIONWIDE RECONCILIATION
30 MARS 2009
The elimination of death punishment is one of the new ideas of civilized Europe that should be supported by all the citizens. The reinstallation of this punishment, which is requested by a major part of the population and politicians, guarantees neither the establishment of justice, nor the stoppage of self-justice murders.