Cursory reading of case file shows long list of institutional mistakes and blunders preceded her murder
Hamide Magashi was the second fatal victim of domestic violence in Kosovo in just one week. Her tragic murder in the courtyard of the Gynaecology Hospital, one day before she was supposed to give birth, shocked many, and raises questions about the institutional protection of women in Kosovo.
She had reported her husband’s violence in July, months earlier. Why did the state fail to protect her?
Professionals who read information about the case, from the reaction of the Prime Minister to the Prosecutor’s Office’s analysis, felt despair.
The road to protect women seems at a dead end and the professional ignorance that has gripped the country risks making it even worse.
It is saddening that the group that recommended changes to the Prime Minister did not even understand the elementary mistakes that were made in this case. It’s saddening also to read that the Prime Minister is content with just resignations in a case where someone should go to jail.There were mistakes in the standard procedures, and more in the initial investigation.
What were these mistakes?
The first mistake: The victim reported the case on July 6. She reported threats, psychological and physical violence
by her husband.
According to reports, she was examined by the attending physician who did not see any signs of violence on her body. The report shows that she was not sent to a psychiatrist to see the effects of psychological violence, or to a gynecologist to see if she had suffered sexual violence.
In fact, according to the new standard, the expertise should be performed by a forensic expert, but this rule has not been implemented.
The second mistake is even more fatal. Both the police and the prosecutor in this case identified only one victim of the threat.
The file shows that in this case there were at least two victims: the woman and her sister’s husband. He was not listed as a victim in the file even though the perpetrator had threatened to kill him.
Many will find this unusual for an investigation, but it is very important for the procedure. If you threaten two people, your risk of being put in prison is greater. The lack of creativity of the police and the prosecutor in identifying the second victim prevented the perpetrator from being detained.
As a result, the indictment went with only one victim and the decision was made to exclude the second threatened victim.
Third mistake: The victim told the police that her husband had a gun. The police and the Prosecutor’s Office believed the perpetrator’s statement that he did not have a weapon, while their database registered that his family had a weapon with a permit.
This shows that no one has bothered to enter the MIA database to check if the family has weapons, or had weapons in the past. The house was raided after more than ten days and two guns were found there.
The fourth mistake: When a defendant lies before the court or the prosecution, this creates doubts about their sincerity. The suspect in this case lied about having a weapon and the prosecution had found that he had a weapon. This should have been grounds for him to be detained. This circumstance was ignored and he was let go.
The fifth mistake: No witness that would aggravate the situation of the perpetrator was questioned. Neighbours or family members were not interrogated to see if the couple had problems.
The sixth mistake: The prosecutor and the police failed to expand the investigation in the direction of other persons, who, according to the victim’s statement, had enabled the person to commit the crime.
The suspect’s mother is described as a person who constantly accompanied and monitored the victim when she was visiting her own family. In this situation, she had at least offered help to commit such a criminal act.
The seventh mistake: The police and the prosecutor’s office in the first days failed to carry out an important test on the person who carried out such threats. They had not sent the person to a psychiatrist for analysis of his mental health.
The eighth mistake: Institutions seem to have had no intelligent information at all about what was happening in the case.
The victim had promised that she would hand over the child to the perpetrator on the first day after birth. A criminal offence was also ignored here – of coercion.
These are the mistakes that can be found just by a simple reading of the statements of the prosecution and Prime Minister and a part of the file.
The list of problems and mistakes from social care and social welfare institutions is long and needs more investigation.