Kosovo women’s rights activists have requested the maximum punishment for a man who was arrested on Wednesday for murdering his wife in Skenderaj/Srbica.
“One more woman murdered in a country where every femicide is accompanied by institutional silence, procrastination and low sentences,” the NGO Kosovo Women Network, KWN, said, calling for an “investigation in this case … and requesting the maximum punishment for the accused”.
In a statement, KWN urged Kosovo’s institutions to be more serious when dealing with such cases because “cases of women being murdered by their husbands are increasing”.
Kosovo police on Wednesday arrested Skender Qerimaj aged 51, on suspicion of murdering his wife, 48-year-old L.Q. The suspect was sent to custody for 48 hours. Serious crimes prosecutor Fetije Bajrami told BIRN she was “working on the detention request; the (court) session will be held today”.
Police also seized a pistol with three bullets and six cartridges. A preliminary investigation at the scene concluded that the suspect shot his wife, who was sent to the regional hospital in Mitrovica but did not survive her wounds.
Skender Qerimaj is suspected to have intentionally killed his wife after constant disputes with her.
The suspect, according to the Prosecution, took the weapon out of his jacket pocket and shot six times in the direction of the victim.
BIRN has learned that on January 1, 2022, the victim reported the case to the police, but the suspect was released in due course by a prosecutor’s order.
Kosovo saw a series of protests in 2021 against sexual and domestic violence and femicide.
In April 2021, BIRN reported that the number of cases of domestic violence reported to police had risen from 1,541 in 2018 to 1,915 in 2019 and to just over 2,000 in 2020.
Media reported that by December 31, 2021, the police had identified around 2,000 cases of domestic violence. Around 1,600 victims were women. Most victims of domestic violence in Kosovo are women; in 2020, six women were killed by their partners. Based on media reports, in 2021, three women were murdered by their partners.