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  • Gjakmarrja or Hakmarrja refers to the social obligation to commit murder in order to salvage honour questioned by an earlier murder or moral humiliation. This practice is generally seen as in line with the Albanian social code known as Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit, or simply the Kanun. There has been a revival of instances of Gjakmarrja in remote parts of Albania and Kosovo due to the lack of state control since the collapse of communism. The Albanian Helsinki Committee considers one reason for the pervasiveness of blood feuds to be the malfunction of the country's judicial structure. Many Albanians see the courts as corrupt or ineffective, and prefer the perceived self-government offered by adherence to the Kanun. Ismet Elezi, a professor of law in Tirana University, believes that in spite of the Kanun's endorsement of blood vengeance, there are strict rules on how the practice may be carried out. For instance, revenge killings of women, children, and elderly persons are banned. Others believe that the Kanun itself emphasises reconciliation and the peacemaking process, and that selective interpretation of its rules is responsible for the current bloodshed.

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