Serbia’s Museum of Genocide Victims said on Monday they are pleased that the renovation works on the house of Xhafer Deva in South Mitrovica have been suspended. They, however, also reveal their concern over the fact the process took place under the auspices of the EU, UNDP, and the Kosovo Ministry of Culture, while also recalling that these international organizations have supported similar projects in the past.
In early February, the announcement of the initiation of the restoration works on Xhafer Deva’s house in South Mitrovica caught the attention of the public and media, both in Kosovo and Serbia, as well as in the region and beyond.
The project, which was supposed to be implemented by the Kosovo Ministry of Culture along with the EU and UNDP, has since been canceled, after several parties, including the German ambassador to Kosovo and the EU rapporteur for Kosovo, highlighted Xhafer Deva’s role as a Nazi collaborator.
The decision was met with dissatisfaction from part of the Kosovan public, which also criticized the German ambassador, Jorn Rohde. In his op-ed for Koha, a famous publicist from Pristina, Veton Surroi, who also criticized Rohde, revealed his support for the restoration of Deva’s house.
On the other hand, some people from Pristina shared their support of the German ambassador, such as the former president of the Kosovo Constitutional Court, Enver Hasani, who said that Rohde was completely right. Hasani also described Deva as „a Nazi collaborator.“
Despite the project cancellation, the Kosovo Minister announced that he will not give up on the restoration as Kosovo has enough money for it, but that the work must continue with international partners.
Serbia’s Museum of Genocide Victims reminded on Monday that the attempt to rebuild the Deva house is not isolated, as the EU, UNDP, and institutions in Pristina have worked on similar projects in the past.
„The building housing the Cultural Center in Kosovska Mitrovica, named after war criminal Rexhep Mitrovica, was renovated with EU funds, organized by UNDP and Pristina’s institutions,“ they said, adding that the EU allocated as much as €115,784 for the project, which was implemented by UNDP, Beta reports.
According to the museum, the tenacious support of EU and UNDP representatives of the authorities in Pristina is worrying, as it aims to „blatantly glorify the most notorious war criminals who committed crimes against members of the Serbian, Jewish and Roma people, as well as other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija during World War II.“
This process calls for public condemnation of both domestic and international public – they underlined.
The museum asked the representatives of the EU and UNDP „why they continuously support openly revisionist and anti-civilization, undemocratic and shameful actions of the authorities in Pristina.“
„By persistently supporting the glorification of war criminals, they may want to declare that war crimes against Serbs, Jews, Roma and other non-Albanians in Kosovo during World War II are not crimes, but a desirable form of behavior towards members of nations and social groups that are clearly unwanted in that area,“ the Museum of Genocide Victims concluded.
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