Two years ago, Pjetër Ndrecaj murdered his spouse Valbona and his nine year old daughter Klara. Apart from using violence against them for a long period he ended up murdering them. The Court of Gjakova, after the retrial of this case, sentenced him with only 24 years and six months of imprisonment. Now, this criminal is justified by a system that sees gender-based violence of men against women as a norm and treats it as such.
During times such as the one of the global pandemic of Covid-19, home is supposed to be the safest place. However, for people who experience gender-based violence, including domestic violence, social distancing may mean being trapped inside with an abuser. Domestic violence is already a deadly epidemic, when one out of three women in the whole world experiences physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. Violence during crisis tends to increase, and the Covid-19 pandemic is affirming such a tendency in the whole world.
However, it is not only the pandemic that provoked violence in our families. Murders of women in Kosovo increase every year, and it is mostly women that are dealing with this phenomenon, be they advocates in the public sphere or women involved in the civil society. There are very vocal women in different public institutions and in the police, who advocate and work to condemn the gender-based violence, but with that is the end of the commitment of institutions. Women deal with women, and the men of Kosovo do not. Article 248 of the Criminal Code of Kosovo identifies domestic violence as a crime, and it includes not only physical violence, but also the psychological, sexual and economic violence, and even the mistreatment of one member of the family against another member of the family. This form of violence is punishable by a fine and with imprisonment. Courts in Kosovo continue to bring decisions that end up with ridiculous sentences, even when it is necessary to issue maximal sentences against the violator.
Why are only women being invited to TV programs to speak for the position of women in society or against gender-based murders? Why do only women work on issues about women’s rights? This issue should be discussed also with men of different backgrounds, especially with those that are part of decision making institutions. Every evening the politicians speak about the country, about the nation, about the welfare of the citizens, and so on, but there is no space to talk about the lives of the murdered women or their welfare.
Two years ago, Pjetër Ndrecaj murdered his spouse Valbona and his nine year old daughter Klara. Apart from using violence against them for a long period he ended up murdering them. The Court of Gjakova, after the retrial of this case, sentenced him with only 24 years and six months of imprisonment. Now, this criminal is justified by a system that sees gender-based violence of men against women as a norm and treats it as such. Only during 2020, six women were killed in Kosovo. In the meantime, “the justice system” reduces the sentences of the murderers.
Therefore, we should not take politicians and intellectuals (both men and women) seriously, unless they do not take the femicide seriously. There is nothing more important than the life of a human being. But in Kosovo, it seems as there is nothing more important than the lives of men, the issues of the pandemic, the case of Ujmani, the dialogue, etc. Women and girls continue to be murdered and raped.
Nora Ahmetaj founded the Centre for Research, Documentation and Publication (CRDP) in 2010, and until 2016 served as its director. During the war in Kosovo, she conducted investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the Humanitarian Law Centre.