SOC DIOCESE OF RAŠKA-PRIZREN: LEGAL VIOLENCE, BLACKMAILS AND NON-IMPLEMENTATION OF COURT DECISIONS BY OFFICIALS FROM PRIŠTINA IS UNACCEPTABLE
THE MOST RECENT REACTION OF THE RAŠKA-PRIZREN DIOCESE TO PROVOCATIVE STATEMENTS BY MR. ALBIN KURTI
The Diocese of Raška and Prizren (Serbian Orthodox Church) expresses open outrage and protest over the latest statement of Mr. Albin Kurti (February 17), in which he again openly undermined the decision of the Kosovo Constitutional Court regarding 24 hectares of land, which was recognized as the property of the Visoki Dečani monastery by the Constitutional Court of Kosovo in 2016. Persistent violations of the rule of law and opposition to the Constitutional Court’s ruling in the Visoki Dečani case, which was made after 15 years of detailed court proceedings with full international monitoring and finally resolved in 2016, is more characteristic of autocracy than a society which at least declaratively promotes rule of law and democracy. Inflammatory political rhetoric which creates ethnic and religious antagonism further deepens the gap between Kosovo Albanian institutions and the Serbian people, especially the Serbian Orthodox Church which is being attacked by unprecedented slanders. This example shows that this region is moving not in the direction of democracy and peaceful coexistence of all communities but towards legal lawlessness and creation of an ethnic clean K/Albanian territory, where all traces of Serbian history, property and everything related to the Serbian people is being brutally erased, despite all legal provisions, international guarantees and presence.
Since the implementation of the Constitutional Court ruling has been repeatedly requested by representatives of the EU, OSCE, UNMIK as well as ambassadors of leading Western countries “the Quint” (USA, Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy), the Diocese of Raška and Prizren expects this court decision to be implemented after 6 years of open and legally unsanctioned obstructions and pressures on the Vioski Dečani Monastery, and the land which the monastery continuously uses be finally registered in the Cadastre. Extra-judicial commenting on the court ruling which is in the status of res judicata, ie. complete and finally adjudicated decision is politically irresponsible and dangerous because it directly targets Visoki Dečani Monastery, its monastic community and the cultural heritage under UNESCO protection. This creates space for violence by local extremists to which the monastery was exposed in previous years, which is the reason why it is under permanent KFOR protection. Therefore, there is no and cannot be a dialogue on this issue according to all the principles of the functioning of the legal society and democracy. Using this case of the monastery land for populism and domestic political goals by Kosovo Albanian leaders is absolutely unacceptable and deeply compromises the society in Kosovo and the local institutions.
It has been clearly demonstrated to us for so many times by Priština officials that there can be no justice for the Serbian Orthodox Church here and there can be no court ruling that can be implemented, simply because of the self-will of the local Kosovo Albanian power-holders. This behavior based on arrogance and absence of basic respect of rights and equal freedoms of all citizens clearly indicates what the position of the centuries old Serbian Orthodox Church would look like in such a system in which we would be left to depend on such institutions.
The Diocese of Raška and Prizren remains open for normal communication with local institutions, within our legal and ecclesiastical competencies, as it has shown for years, but we cannot allow legal violence and blackmail by open non-implementation of final court rulings to be used as a means of denying rights that are inviolable everywhere in the democratic world. That is why this statement is, above all, an appeal to the international community to make influence that this unprecedented and discriminatory behavior is finally brought to an end.