Attacks on Dečani Monastery: Apartheid, Attempt to erase Serb History in Kosovo

Global Research, February 16, 2013
Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Government of the Republic of Serbia

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Aleksandar Vulin said that threats and protests outside the Dečani Monastery represent an attempt to wrap up the ethnic cleaning and that there are attempts to remove evidence of existence of Serbs.

Vulin thanked members of the Italian KFOR contingent, “without whom the monastery would most probably have been torched down”, recalling that this was the fifth assault on the Visoki Dečani since the 1999 bombing.

The remaining Serbs in Dečani are monks of the monastery, so this is just another attempt to complete the ethnic cleansing set off with the bombing campaign, Vulin told Tanjug, adding that the idea is to expel our monks, hijack the monastery and prove that not even law applies for Serbs.

“It is incomprehensible that a court in Kosovo, which the Albanian side deems legitimate, delivers a verdict, and that verdict is not valid because it is in Serbs’ favor. It is evident that apartheid rules in Kosovo and Metohija, wherever there are interim institutions from Priština according to which no laws apply for Serbs, their property, the Church and its assets,” Vulin said.

Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija urged international community to reconsider decision to pull out the KFOR troops protecting the monastery.

“If there weren’t for the Italian KFOR today, and I offer my most sincere gratitude to them, our shrine would probably have been set on fire, or who knows what could have happened. I wish to recall that this is the fifth assault on the monastery since the bombing. It is therefore up to the international community to think twice before granting permission to pull out KFOR troops and transfer protection to the Kosovo Police,” Vulin said.

He questioned the rationality of abandoning the holiest of shrines of the Serbian people to the mercy of those who hold that Serbs do not belong in their environment and that neither law nor anything else applies for the Serbs.

“There is apartheid in Kosovo and Metohija, and it is high time that the international community put a stop on it ,” Vulin appealed.

He pointed out that every time that negotiations approach a solution that could suit Serbia and the Serbs, and each time Serbia comes by a better position in the international community, violence is triggered in Kosovo and Metohija.

“All of a sudden violence erupts and complete removal of evidence of the existence of the Serbs is attempted. Thus graves are destroyed, bombs are dropped on our children, young men are arrested on Orthodox Christmas, and the monastery Decani is assaulted. International community must understand that it has to increase its presence in Kosovo and Metohija, and not reduce it, “he Vulin.

The gates of the Visoki Dečani monastery, which is under UNESCO protection, were closed on Friday for the first time in 13 years, owing to threats coming from ethnic Albanians – municipal managing staff and extremists. Access to the monastery was blocked by strong police forces and KFOR troops, including the Italian Carabinieri.

According to a release issued by the Serbian Orthodox Church Diocese of Raška-Prizren, the Visoki Dečani monastery Abbot Archmandrit Sava Janjić decided to close its gates to all visitors for the first time in 13 years due to threats from the Dečani municipal leadership and from groups which have been protesting in the town against the monastery for days, after a court upheld the monastery’s property rights.