Kurti on V. Decani: We’ll do our best to preserve the legitimate rights of the monastery, but religious leaders must also do their part


„The issue of ownership of the land near the monastery has not been dealt with by any relevant court or the Constitutional Court. I believe that the decision on the case should not have been made without using all other legal levels,“ the Kosovan Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, said on Friday. Kurti also stated that this UNESCO-protected monastery is part of the „rich cultural mosaic of Kosovo“.

„Unfortunately, the Serbian Orthodox Church has been repeatedly abused by Serbia as a political instrument against Kosovo and the Albanians,“ the Kosovo prime minister once again repeated his well-known standpoint.

When asked about the Quint countries’ call to return 24 ha of confiscated land to Visoki Decani, however, Kurti replied:

„We will do our best to preserve the legitimate rights of the Monastery, but the religious leaders of the Monastery must do their part, looking for solutions through dialogue and agreement with the locals. I believe that such a thing is possible.“

„I think it should be noted that we are aware that the decisions of the Constitutional Court must be respected, but at the same time we must take into account the contradictions that accompanied the issue of land near the monastery in historical and legal terms. First of all, it all stemmed from the 1997 decision of the Government of Serbia, when the land was given to the monastery in a discriminatory way, because it was owned by two public companies,“ Kurti stated at a press conference on Friday.

He underscored that „it is a little surprising that the monastery was recognized as a party in the procedure – as is the involvement of the Constitutional Court in this process, giving the monastery the right.“ Kurti then highlighted that speaking in legal terms, Visoki Decani does not possess an independent legal identity as the monastery legally belongs to the SOC.

The former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, one of the key figures among the Albanians in Decani, also commented on this case last week.

„If we do not implement the court decision, we are creating obstacles for ourselves,“ Haradinaj told RTK.

According to him, the Constitutional Court decision brought Kosovo to an impasse „without a way out or alternative“.

„If we do not implement the decision on the property according to the constitutional judgment, then we can be accused of not implementing the decision of the same court regarding the Association,“ Haradinaj said, describing the decision as “unfair.”

The Diocese concerned over frequent church lootings

Meanwhile, the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo has expressed concern over frequent attacks on Orthodox churches in the Zubin Potok municipality.

„In a single month, the Church of the Holy Fathers, in Zupce, was broken into twice – on December 26, 2021, as well as January 18, 2022, when a church window was broken and a certain amount of money was stolen. The Church of the Ascension of Our Lord in Jagnjenica was also broken into twice and damaged. During the looting of the church and the church hall of St. John the Baptist in Donji Varage, on January 30, 2022, the perpetrator desecrated Orthodox icons and stole the money he found there,“ the Raska-Prizren Diocese said in a press release.

They also remind that the police arrested an ethnic Kosovo Albanian from the village of Kosutovo on February 1 in the village of Zupce, who is suspected of involvement in a series of robberies and looting of Serbian Orthodox churches in the north.

„Attacks on Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo are continuously happening and have become increasingly frequent in recent months. For the most part, these attacks on churches and private property have an ethnic and religious background, as they are directed specifically against the Serb community, as their presence obviously disturbs someone. This series of robberies and attacks has caused unrest among the local Serbian population, which is seeking stronger protection of law enforcement agencies,“ the Diocese stressed.

Read more:

Diocese: A campaign against the decision on V. Decani land is at hand, prevent discrimination

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