15 August 2008

Decani Monastery in Danger

Asked what he would do to stop the municipal authorities’ attempts to expropriate the monastery’s assets by forging the property deeds, the UNMIK chief said that he had visited Dečani and told the municipal president that everything would have to be carried out in accordance with the law.

“This must be carried out in accordance with the law, while taking into account executive decisions that refer to cadastral registers," Zannier told Kontakt Plus Radio in Kosovska Mitrovica, adding that he had signed the executive decision extending the protected zone around the monastery by another three months on Wednesday.

In late 2005, then UNMIK Chief Soren Jessen Petersen signed an executive decision giving the High Dečani Monastery the status of a protected zone.

The decision signed by Zannier's predecessor Joachim Ruecker in May instructed the municipal authorities in Dečani to return the cadastral data for the monastery to its status as it was in 1998.

Following an investigation, the UNMIK Justice Department established that the municipal authorities in Dečani had illegally changed the register without any court ruling in 2001, when the monastery was deprived of 24 hectares of land.

Speaking about the Serbian Orthodox Church’s problems in Đakovica, where a city park is being built on the foundations of the local church, Zannier said that he had sent a letter to Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaci, informing him that such initiatives were completely inappropriate.