Response of the SOC Diocese of Raška and Prizren to media queries regarding the latest developments around the land issue of Dečani Monastery

Neither Raška-Prizren Diocese, nor the Visoki Dečani Monastery, have been contacted by any Kosovo institutions regarding the execution of the 2016 Constitutional Court of Kosovo’s decision concerning the monastery’s land.

In recent years, we have witnessed statements by senior Kosovo officials claiming that the Constitutional Court’s decision on the land of Dečani Monastery was not legally made and could not be executed, and that a dialogue with the Church should be initiated. After consultations with our legal advisors and contacts with international representatives in Pristina, we have expressed our stance that there can be no dialogue or deals over this binding and final decision (res judicata), as that would contradict legal principles in all democratic societies.

Since the Dečani municipality has for years refused to execute the Constitutional Court’s decision, we approached the Kosovo Central Cadaster, which has the full right to register the land, which would automatically update the monastery’s property status at the municipal cadastral level. The Kosovo Constitutional Court has also reiterated that the decision must be implemented. Unfortunately, we found neither understanding nor willingness to execute the decision from either the local or central Cadaster of Kosovo without any explanation. Our case has constantly been conveniently shifted from the municipal to the central level and back, thus consistently avoiding the execution of the decision for eight years.

Therefore, we expect Kosovo institutions to finally do their part in accordance with the rule of law and register our land in the cadaster, issuing the monastery a proper ownership certificate in line with the court ruling. We believe this would be a significant step towards the rule of law.

Regarding readiness for dialogue to improve quality of life and solve practical issues, our Church has always been and remains open to discussions with all people of goodwill, as we have demonstrated over the years.

Raška-Prizren Diocese, Serbian Orthodox Church
Gračanica, March 6, 2024