WAR AGAINST THE DEAD
CONTINUES UNDER THE SILENCE OF KFOR

Why are international peacekeepers
trying to hide the truth about grave vandalisms

Systematic Post-war Desecration of Serb Orthodox Cemeteries
by Kosovo Albanian Extremists and Vandals

KFOR intentionally tried to hush up the incident and did not
inform the Serban Orthodox Church about this act of vandalism. The Diocese learned about this desecration only in an indirect way while the KFOR authorities still
do not allow Serb Orthodox representatives to visit the location.


Crosses were overturned and smashed, marble tomb coverings removed
so that only concrete and the ground remain

Just before the Orthodox Christian Feast of Easter Kosovo Albanian extremists have desecrated the Serb cemetery in Djakovica. After this latest act of vandalism the local KFOR did not inform the Serb representatives nor the Serbian Orthodox Church in order to hush up the scandal. In fact, until recently the cemetery and the church of St. Lazarus were guarded by Italian KFOR but not long ago the fixed check point was removed and KFOR troops established a patrol system of protection. Obviously this was not a deterrent for the Albanian vandals who used the absence of Italians and desecrated the last remaining Serb Orthodox cemetery in the area.

Scenes of vandalism

DESECRATIONS OF THE SERB HOLY SITES AT EASTER TIME

Pristina, Belgrade, May 7, 2002

The chief of the UN Mission in Kosovo Micheal Steiner, COMKFOR Gen. Marcel Valenten and the Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi attended the Easter Liturgy at the Patriarchate of Pec Serbian Orthodox Monastery on Sunday morning. Rexhepi is the first higher ethnic Albanian official from Kosovo who attended an Orthodox Easter Liturgy in Kosovo after the war.

The Kosovo PM spoke Serbian at the Patriarchate and sent his Easter greetings to all Orthodox Christians on Saturday evening. He said to the BBC program in Serbian that his visit to the Patriarchate did not have a political character.

However, the Serbian Orthodox Church said that the Easter visit of the Kosovo PM Bajram Rexhepi to the Patriarchate of Pec, in company of the highest representatives of UNMIK and KFOR, "in essence proves that there is a serious discrepancy between official statements and gestures by the Kosovo Albanian leaders on one side and the behavior of the local Albanian population on the other". Just before the Easter several Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo had been desecrated by ethnic Albanians.

The chief of the Yugoslav Coordination Center for Kosovo and Metohija, Nebojsa Covic said that the visit of Steiner, Valenten and Rexhepi to the Patriarchate of Pec and attending the Easter Liturgy was a positive gesture. He added that "this event shows that the international community is educating Kosovo Albanian leaders and is directing them towards the dialog". In his statement to BETA agency, however, Covic strongly condemned desecrations of the Serb Orthodox holy sites in Kosovo and rather indolent behavior of the international representatives towards this issue.

The Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska and Prizren said that just before the Easter there were several new provocations and desecrations of the Christian Orthodox holy sites in Kosovo and Metohija. In the statement by the Diocesan Information Service it is said that the damage was recorded at the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Decani. "During their visit to the cemetery on the Easter day, the monks of Decani Monastery could see that additional tombs had been damaged and that the ground around some tombs was disturbed", it is said in the statement which also specifies that the cemetery is located only a few dozen of meters from the local Italian KFOR checkpoint, in the very vicinity of the Visoki Decani Monastery.

The brotherhood of Decani Monastery requested from KFOR a more efficient protection of the local Serb Orthodox cemetery, it is said in the statement.

Djakovica Serb Orthodox cemeteries

The Diocese also reported that during the Holy Week, which precedes the Easter, the communal Serb Orthodox cemetery at Piskote near Djakovica had been desecrated too. From many tombs the marble tombstones were taken away "most probably to be resold, while crosses and inscriptions were broken". From the cemetery church of St. Prince Lazar, which is one of the most beautiful Orthodox churches in this area built before the war, a part of the roof was reportedly removed. This attack on the cemetery in Djakovica happened after the Italian soldiers had removed a fixed check-point from the church; it is said in the statement. The Diocese added that the KFOR representatives did not immediately inform the Serb representatives and the Serb Orthodox Church and that the information eventually came to the Church only indirectly from the KFOR. According to the latest information the Italian soldiers reinstalled their check point in front of the church at Piskote, the statement says.

The Diocese of Raska and Prizren also reminded that there were attempts to obstruct the traditional Easter procession at Suvo Grlo, near Istok because the local ethnic Albanians farmers had usurped the church property. From Devic monastery the Diocese has recently received information that usual verbal provocations against the nuns were intensified with shouts "It is a high time for you to leave". These are only additional provocations in the series of many post-war provocations against the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Metohija. The Church statement says that the continuation of the vandal behavior towards the Orthodox holy sites and cemeteries is the best evidence that the position of a large number of Kosovo Albanian population towards the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija has regrettably not changed to the better. (BETA)

These photos were obtained secretly from an international who was frinedly enogh to make them and inform the Monastery of Decani about this incident. At the same time the KFOR authorities do not allow the Church representatives to visit the site.

More photo material will be added as soon as the Church representatives
are allowed to visit the cemetery of Piskote near Djakovica

More about Albanian desecrations of Serb Orthodox Cemeteries
in Kosovo and Metohija


Desecrated Serb cemetery near Pec, October 2001

The War Against the Dead...
Kosovo Albanian Extremists continue with systematic desecration of
Serb Orthodox Cemeteries throughout Kosovo Province
See the PHOTO GALLERY