06 Sep 2018

Domestic killings  in Kosovo -- When enough is enough

A man killed his former wife and their 9-year-old daughter last month in Gjakova, Kosovo. The murder is one of many brutal crimes committed by Kosovo men who already had police records thick with cases of domestic violence.  

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Domestic killings  in Kosovo -- When enough is enough - NewsMavens
Kosovo feminists march on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Pristina, Kosovo on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Kosovo feminists advocate for gender equality and protest against violence against women. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Why this story matters:

In April last year, Pristina Insight published a commentary about the murder of Zejnepe Berisha committed by her husband in 2015, written by Albanian researcher Hana Marku, arguing that Kosovo's justice system repeatedly close their eyes to the fact that women and girls need protection:

"This is a country where police will ignore a woman’s 16 individual reports of abuse and torture at the hands of her husband.

This is a country where police allegedly participate in the rape and trafficking of teenage girls. This is a country where a woman with a restraining order gets shot dead by her husband in broad daylight.

This is a country where women who want rape investigation are beaten. This is a country where doctors allow women to to give birth unassisted on the floors of hospitals.

This is a country where 80% of women don’t work. This is a country where girls are pulled out of school to get married.

This is a country where women and girls are told that constant street harassment is a joke. This is Kosovo, outside of Prishtina’s bourgeois core."

More then a year later, here's another case of a woman being murdered by her husband and there are still no prevention measures in place. How long until Kosovo starts helping its women stay safe?

Details from the story:

  • The killer from Gjakova was known to the police as an abuser, who had attacked his former wife many times.  
  • A few hours before the murder, the woman had reported a threatening message from her former husband to the police.
  • Civil society activists marched in Gjakova to protest the negligence of Kosovo institutions after the  murder. Police, on the other hand, said it handled the case professionally. 
  • In April last year, activists protested the minimal sentence of 12 years for the murder of another victim of domestic violence, Zejnepe Berisha, whose husband stabbed her to death 20 times. The case was appealed and, according to the new verdict, the murderer will spend 17 years in prison.
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