Dozens of people rallied on Tuesday in Pristina’s main square to express anger about the rape of an 11-year-old girl in a city park at the weekend.

Police reported on Monday evening that five people have been arrested – three of them minors – over the attack on Sunday. A Pristina court has remanded two of them in custody for 30 days.

“It’s not only the state that failed the day rape happened, not only the [state] institutions that have failed. We all have failed,” Xheraldina Rexhepi from Pristina said during the protest.

“As a society, we are doing nothing. We cannot wait for the state to do our job. We have to start from ourselves to make a change in society,” Rexhepi added.

Another protester, Shukri Retkoceri, said that the crime has shocked Kosovo and called on the authorities to scrutinise judges and prosecutors to see “if they are doing their job properly” when it comes to dealing with cases of sexual violence.

In an analysis in May this year, BIRN found that Kosovo judges mostly make lenient decisions in sexual violence cases.

The study said that from 2015 to 2020, prosecutors have filed more than 521 indictments for sexual violence. But only 140 verdicts resulted in imprisonment, while 189 cases failed because they passed the statute of limitations and 79 ended with fines and suspended sentences.

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