KWN Responds to Consecutive Failures of Institutions to Protect Survivors of Domestic Violence

In the village of Istog a woman who repeatedly reported her husband’s abuse was ignored by local institutions responsible for dealing with domestic violence. The failure of institutions to apprehend the man was documented Sunday on the RTV program”Udhëve” [ENG: “Roads”].

Journalist Kaltrina Rexhepi-Dragusha of Radio Television of Kosovo revealed that the woman experienced years of violence from her husband, who also has been accused of bigamy under Criminal Code, Article 237. The TV show clearly described successive failures of these institutions to protect and prevent domestic violence against the woman, her husband’s second wife, and the children.

In view of this failure, the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) calls upon institutions to attend to  this and other cases of domestic violence, especially in cases of recidivism, where the risk to the survivors of domestic violence is especially high.

Under the new Criminal Code enacted in April, domestic violence is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment of up to three (3) years. KWN therefore calls upon the Basic Court in Deçan, which is dealing with this case, to punish this person in accordance with this Code, and not just through the Law on Protection Against Domestic Violence. The KWN also requests that institutions impose on the perpetrator the effective prison sentences for all offences listed, including: Domestic violence reported from 2015 through 2019, unlawful possession of a weapon, light bodily injury , bigamy, causing general danger, theft, and others.

We also call upon the Centers for Social Work not to play the role of mediator in cases of domestic violence, as this is not their mandate.

We request security be provided for both wives of this person and other family members to whom he may pose a risk or day-to-day threat. KWN will closely monitor this case to ensure that justice is implemented and to eliminate risk of fatality for the members of this family. Otherwise, for every failure, we will hold institutions accountable for the inefficiency and impunity of abusers of women. We will exert public pressure if the appropriate legal steps are not taken.