Women’s rights organizations protested in Pristina on Wednesday to call for action in the case of Sebahate Morina, a woman murdered by her husband in 2021.
A recent court ruling found that prosecutors and police failed to protect Morina in the lead up to her murder in March 2021 in Pristina.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the Police and Prosecution ”failed in their positive obligations” to protect Morina. Morina was killed 11 days after her daughter reported the physical abuse of her mother to police.
As part of the protest event on Wednesday, attendees hung pages of the court verdict in front of the Prosecutorial Council’s entrance as part of a call for action.
In the days following Morina’s murder, local NGOs, the Kosovo Democratic Institute (KDI) and the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) found that Morina’s ex-husband had also been reported for domestic violence in 2019. At that time, he was held in police custody, and Morina received police protection.
Even so, Morina’s protection measures expired in December 2020. She was murdered three months later.
The Constitutional Court found that the police failed to assess the risk according to the Standard Operation Procedures. As a result of their inaction over the immediate risk, the relevant authorities also failed to take prevention measures as established by the so-called Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
As the protest continued, the prosecution said it had initiated a disciplinary procedure against the prosecutor who investigated the case in response to the Constitutional Court’s verdict.
“The public will be informed in due time of the epilogue of this procedure,” the prosecution said.
Reports of domestic violence cases in Kosovo have increased in recent years. Police reported 1,914 cases in 2019, and this number increased to 2,069 in 2020. A further 2,456 cases of domestic violence were recorded in 2021, and this number increased to 2,793 in 2022.
Leonida Molliqaj, from the Pristina-based organization for the protection of women (QIKA) pointed to a lack of institutional action on Morina’s case following the court’s verdict.
“We will never allow this important verdict to pass in silence,” Molliqaj said.
Adelina Berisha from KWN called for the dismissal of the prosecutor who dealt with Morina’s case.
“Our request is simple. The State Prosecutor should immediately start procedures to dismiss the Head of Pristina Basic Prosecution and the prosecutor of the case for all the violations that were done in this case. We also ask the police to dismiss all officers who did not handle this case properly,” she said.
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