KANUN: SHATTERED LIVES IN A HIDDEN ALBANIA (2005)
Kanun is a body of law which began regulating the lives of the Albanian people between the 13 and 1400’s; it is still practiced in many parts of the country, expecially in the north. Blood revenge is just the best known aspect of Kanun. It regulated relations with the Catholic church, marriages, property, economic activities, social order and the punishment of those guilty of crimes. Trajedy and drama are basic elements of Kanun. It developed because State control over the administration of justice in that part of the country was historically weak. With the fall of Communism in 1991, and the resulting weakening of law and order nationally, the number of vengeance killings has multiplied. Today, in a country that is trying desperately to rebuild itself and one where the judicial system is still not able to guarantee the enforcement of State laws, this resorting to assassins in the name of Kanun has assumed really threatening proportions. The Albanian mass media have documented that since the mid-1990’s, the crimes, horrors and atrocities committed in the name of Kanun are a growing cancer even as the precepts of the ancient code are completely misinterpreted and often used as a pretext to justify common criminal acts.