Information on whether there is a tradition that children could only be targeted in blood feuds during the first 24 hours after a killing, and if so, on whether this tradition remains in effect in Shkodra [ALB28386.E]

In telephone interviews on 1 and 3 December 1997, a research associate in the anthropology/sociology department at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, who specializes in the social customs of Albania and other Balkan countries, has written on the Kanun (the traditional laws which are still operative) and has assisted in the establishment of a Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Centre in Shkodra, provided the following information.

Following the killing of a person in Albania, the perpetrator and his family and relatives have traditionally been immune from acts of revenge by the murdered person's family for a period of 24 hours, particularly in northern villages and towns (including Shkodra). This period of grace permitted the funeral of the murdered person, an event which the murderer was expected to attend. It was only after, not during the period of grace, that the male children of the murderer were susceptible to being targeted for revenge by the relatives or family of the murdered person, although the most likely target would have been the murderer or an adult member of the murderer's family. The research associate added that because of the recent anarchy in Albania, she is unsure whether the period of grace continues to exist in Shkodra and elsewhere in Albania. The research associate stated that the above information is based on her reading and understanding of the Kanun, conversations with Albanians and other scholars in anthropology, and on her travels and field work in Albania, which she visited most recently in the summer of 1997.

Corroborating or additional information on whether there is a tradition that children could only be targeted in blood feuds during the first 24 hours after a killing, as well as whether this tradition is currently adhered to in Shkodra, could not be found among the additional sources consulted by the Research Directorate. For the section of the Kanun pertaining to a truce of 24 hours after a murder, please consult section 856 of the attachment.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Research associate, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. 3 December 1997. Telephone interview.

Research associate, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. 1 December 1997. Telephone interview.


The Code of Leke Dukagjini. 1989. Translated by Leonard Fox. New York: Gjonlekaj Publishing Company, pp. 166, 168.

Additional Sources Consulted

CSCE Digest [Washington]. Monthly.

Electronic sources: IRB databases, LEXIS/NEXIS, REFWORLD (UNHCR database), World News Connection (WNC).

News from Helsinki Watch [New York]. Monthly.

Resource Centre country file on Albania.

Transition [Prague]. Twice monthly.

Uncaptive Minds [Washington]. Quarterly.

Unsuccessful attempts to contact other oral sources.