What Are Albania’s Blood Feuds?

In Albania, tradition states that blood must flow to make amends for a crime. Nearly 1,000 families there may be living in hiding to protect children, the main targets of blood feuds.

Eye for an Eye

According to the Kanun — Albania’s civil and penal code dating back to the 15th century — a murder must be avenged by the death of a man from the murderer’s family. The only restriction is that the victim must not be killed at home. That’s why many families now live as recluses. Blood feuds fell out of use during the Communist period, but since the fall of the Soviet bloc, it has reappeared in more violent forms. Since then, even children are targeted in blood feuds. However, it is for its authorization of retaliation killings that it has become most notorious, particularly since enjoying a revival in the years following the fall of communism.

In a region where government is practically non-existent, it’s difficult to fight tradition — as this woman, whose husband was murdered, can attest. Truly a vicious circle, this tradition is said to have caused the death of several thousand people since 1992. Nearly 1000 families may be living in hiding, but the main victims are the children. Liljana Luani is a teacher. She goes from village to village, teaching classes to children who live under threat of a blood feud.

Where once code sought to regulate such blood feuds - imposing limitations on who could be killed (no women or children under the age of 16) - these aspects of the code have gradually been eroded, with the notion of vengeance overriding all others. It can be trigged by something as trivial as a dispute between neighbors or a disagreement among family; an incident that, anywhere else, might be forgotten with the passage of time or left to the authorities to resolve. Shut away, kept out of school, and depressed, several hundred children are now believed to be living with the fear of being executed.


07/08/2019 7:13 PM
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  • Martin T.
    07/08/2019 19:14


  • Benjamin P.
    07/08/2019 19:25

    Initially I read Alabama

  • Wassi W.
    07/08/2019 19:35

    World leader are to blame for all the world's problems

  • Gérson N.
    07/08/2019 19:36

    👆 😲

  • Rhonda R.
    07/08/2019 19:37

    Sick country

  • Brut
    07/08/2019 19:44

    Liljana Luani, a school teacher in northern Albania, travels to remote hillside villages to rescue children trapped in blood feuds.

  • Dorian S.
    07/08/2019 19:51

    This used to be a big issue.... now some things have changed, but this documentary is old... very old... things are a little better now...

  • Hamza Z.
    07/08/2019 22:30

    This used to be a big issue.... now some things have changed, but this documentary is old very old things are a little better now

  • Bashir A.
    07/09/2019 07:22

    Unfortunately humans have become animals Albania should prevent these unfortunate incidents in there country.

  • Mirsad B.
    07/09/2019 14:57

    This was a LONG TIME AGO! No longer stands true, sorry Brut.

  • Nijantrie K.
    07/09/2019 17:52

    Anno 2019??? Somethings do need to change!

  • Deepjyoti D.
    07/10/2019 07:22

    Real life monsters

  • Shyl D.
    07/10/2019 16:54

    the purge

  • Matthew R.
    07/10/2019 19:40

    Maybe don't apply American and Western European ideals everywhere you go you imperialist??

  • Claudio C.
    07/11/2019 09:41

    "Whoever appeals to the law against his fellowman is either a fool or a coward. Whoever cannot take care of themselves without the law is both. For a wounded man shall say to his assailant, 'If I live, I will kill you. If I die you are forgiven' such is the rule of honor." Omerta

  • Kevin M.
    07/11/2019 19:23

    And this is a country Merkel wants in the EU!

  • Armando D.
    07/11/2019 19:25

    This is the insane problem brought by human-made barbaric tradition. Their indigenous/illiterate ancestors created it based on what they believed. The Albanian government and its people has only power to change that murderous and inhumane practice.

  • Ahmed K.
    07/12/2019 02:05

    here in iraq this is normal ,who killed someone should killed at least . some tribes they threat the other tribe adults men , the murderer relatives and sometimes they give up the police trial , and stick tribe law , and police happy with this 🙂

  • Navajyoti S.
    07/12/2019 09:19

    Wtf is Albania President doing

  • Innocent C.
    07/12/2019 14:02

    This world leader are not real pure