Malaj family forgives murder, respecting age-old Albanian tradition

One year after the murder of a nine-year-old boy, his parents forgive the perpetrator's family in a traditional ceremony.

Deçan- One year ago, nine-year old Ylber Malaj was tragically killed by a man wielding an AK-47 from the village of Strellc in western Kosovo.

His killer, Donard Lufaj, then 19 years old, had been targeting someone else. He was sent to jail, but according to medieval Abanian code of honor still followed by families in his village of Strellc, his murder had to be avenged.

For centuries, inhabitants of northern Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo abided by the law set by the Kanun of Leke Dukagjini, which regulates the practice of blood feuds.

Since the December 2015 murder, Lufaj’s adult male relatives had a bounty on their heads. But on Wednesday, with a handshake, it was over.

In a ceremony witnesed by almost 100 community members at the municipality of Deçan, Ylber Malaj’s family extended a hand of peace and forgave the young boy’s blood.

The two families, Malaj and Lufaj were reconciled in the conference room of the Decan Municipality, under the auspieces of mayor Rasim Selmanaj, who, in a practice that could not have been foreseen in the Kanun, streamed the event life on his Facebook page.

The fathers of the victim and perpetrator, Blerim Malaj and Zenel Lufaj, shook hands ten months after the murder. The handshake was brokered by 81-year-old Ali Kamaj, who is the leader of the Reconciliation Council. He told PI that there are nine other cases in the village of Strellc alone.

Kamaj told PI that mediation remains an important way of handling disputes that can tear communities apart.

“I don’t trust judicial Institutions. I trust them as much as I trust a snake. They are not working as they should,” he said after the ceremony.

and 05/11/2016 - 11:54

05 November 2016 - 11:54

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