In the period between the end of 2017 and August 2018, Xhisela Maloku has reported to the police and other law enforcement agencies the assault, rape, and threats she suffered at the hands of Rexhep Rraja, the son of Socialist MP Rahman Rraja.
Based on the claims of whistleblowing police officer Emiljano Nuhu, several police officers of police stations no. 3 and no. 6 in Tirana, officer Gentjan Çitozi of Fushë-Kruja’s police station, and several members of the Durrës branch of the Complaints and Internal Issues Service, were aware or have reviewed this report.
All of these law enforcement agents were obligated to enforce not only criminal laws, but also the Law on Measures against Violence in Family Relations, which applies not only in cases of violence between spouses, co-habitants, and partners, but also in cases of intimate relationships.
The purpose of the law is to make state authorities “utilize reasonable means to protect the victim and prevent ongoing violence” against the victim, alongside the investigation or prosecution of the case.
Below, find the legal obligations that have been violated or ignored by all of these police officers.
Informing the victim and sending her to social services centers
Article 8.3 obligates state authorities, including the police, to inform the victim “on the measures to be taken according to the law and authorities they should refer to.”
They should have also informed her on “existing social services” and accompanied her “to appropriate centres and institutions.”
If the victim agrees to be referred to health or social services centers, the authorities must provide transportation for the victim. This did not happen.
Immediate assignment of an accompanying police officer
The police must provide the victim “with the protection of a policeman in life endangering cases.” This did not happen.
Prohibition of the defendant from approaching the victim
Additionally, according to article 10, the police and state institutions must:
“prohibit immediately the defendant (perpetrator) to be within a certain distance to the victim or members of their family” and “immediately forbid the defendant (perpetrator) to approach/get near the house, workplace, the original family residence or the future couple’s residence or that of other persons and moreover the children’s school or any other place commonly frequented by the victim, unless this happens for work-related reasons”
This did not happen.
The immediate issuance of a protection order
The police should have immediately issued a protection order to victims of domestic violence. That order is then approved by a court.
Per article 13.3:
The petition for emergency protection orders may be presented by:
a. The victim him/herself;
b. The victim’s legal representative or attorney;
c. The police/the prosecutor;
ç. A family member of the victim;
This did not happen.
Confiscation of weapons or other instruments of violence
Seeing that Rraja had used a weapon when he threatened Maloku, and had been investigated earlier for “armed threat” and “possession of a firearm without a permit,” the police should have confiscated, per article 10, “any weapons belonging to the perpetrator” or ordered “the perpetrator to surrender any weapons belonging to them.”
If state authorities fail to fulfill the legal obligations delineated above, they are to be held responsible. Article 8.5 of the above law states that “persons who receive reporting because of their function or authority to implement this law and fail to act in its implementation shall be held administratively and/or criminally responsible, applying sanctions of article 248 and 251 of the Criminal Code.”
Based on these legal provisions, all police functionaries involved in the Maloku case should be investigated and penalized for “damages to the legitimate interests of the state, citizens, and other legal entities” and “failure […] to take measures […] to sever illegality […] that has affected the freedom of citizens.”
At a minimum, they should be facing charges that, if proved true, would entail a sentence ranging from a fine to 11 years in prison.
Besides police functionaries, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Ministry of Health, who, based on the law, are the main institutions responsible to ensure the enforcement of this law, have also failed to do so.
Ministers Fatmir Xhafaj, Etilda Gjonaj, and Ogerta Manastirliu need to be held publicly and politically responsible for the inaction of their subordinate institutions and services.