The Communique of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren regarding the recent decision of the Appellate Panel of the Supreme Court of Kosovo regarding the Dečani Monastery property
The Diocese of Raška and Prizren expresses its consternation and deep concern regarding the recent decision of the Appellate Panel of the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court of Kosovo. The Appellate panel annulled the decision of the Supreme Court of December 2012 by which 24 hectares of the land in the very vicinity of the Monastery had been recognized as property of Visoki Dečani Monastery. The Appellate panel unexpectedly and without precedent proclaimed itself unauthorized to adjudicate this issue and sent the case to the basic court in Peć. This decision in practical terms invalidated the work of the Supreme Court of Kosovo on this issue since 2008 although in the course of the last seven years the Special Chamber Court of the Supreme Court of Kosovo had confirmed that it was authorized to adjudicate in this matter. This all makes the recent decision of the Appellate panel illogical and legally unfounded.
Having in mind the long term consequences of this decision which was reached by majority voting despite the strong dissenting opinion by two out of five judges in the panel, as well as the legal precedents this decision creates, the Diocese of Raška and Prizren has requested its legal team together with international experts to explore measures that might be taken in order to protect the property rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The Office of the Diocese of Raška and Prizren
23 July 2015