The desecration of tombstones in Lipljan sparks condemnation, the Kosovo Police continues to investigate the case

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Unknown persons demolished and destroyed more than twenty tombstones in the Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan on the night between Friday and Saturday. UNMIK, the EU Office and the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the Kosovo Office and the Eparchy of Raska-Prizren harshly condemned the desecration of Orthodox tombstones and urged for the perpetrators to be quickly brought to justice. The Kosovo Police, however, still do not have information on the possible perpetrators.

Serbs from Lipljan found the destroyed and demolished monuments in the Orthodox cemetery on Saturday while visiting the graves. The police carried out an investigation on the same day, but still failed to find out who vandalized the cemetery.

This is not the first time that this Orthodox graveyard was vandalized, as similar incidents occurred several times in the past.

UNMIK, EU Office in Kosovo, OSCE: The perpetrators should be brought to justice

“The EU strongly condemns the desecration of gravestones at the Lipljan Orthodox cemetery over the weekend. This act is an insult to human dignity which undermines inter-community trust. We expect that ongoing investigations will result in bringing the perpetrators swiftly to justice,” the EU Office in Kosovo tweeted.

UNMIK also reacted, underlining that „such reckless acts on sacred sites unearth painful memories for family members and communities alike.“

In addition, they encouraged the Kosovo Police to „ensure a swift investigation in order to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.“

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemned this act and called on local leaders to appeal against such acts.

„Graves are sacred to families/communities and desecration invokes painful feelings,“ they emphasized.

In addition to international missions, the Eparchy of Raska-Prizren, the Kosovo Office, and the Serbian National Forum organization also condemned this incident.

The Eparchy of Raska-Prizren: This behavior shows the absence of basic civilizational norms

„This behavior shows the absence of basic civilizational norms and is a serious blow to the Serbian people of this region who have been trying to survive in the last twenty years in difficult conditions of ethnic and religious discrimination,“ the Eparchy of Raska-Prizren stated, appealing to the Kosovo police to find the perpetrators.

Kosovo Office: Strong condemnation and decisive reaction are necessary

The Kosovo Office stated that „the culture of demolition and destruction must be treated in the same way as it is being treated in other parts of Europe – with strong condemnation and decisive reaction.“

„If anyone’s tombstones were destroyed anywhere in Europe in an act of chauvinist hatred, it would be world news, broadcast in the first minutes of newscasts of global TV networks. It seems, however, that Lipljan is not in Europe and the Serbian deceased seem to have no right to rest peacefully as the deceased of other European nations,“ this office wrote in a statement.

The organization Serbian National Forum stated that this is only one in a „long series“ of cases directed against Kosovo Serbs and asked the authorities in Kosovo „what will they do so that violence against Serbs stops once and for all?“

(Kossev 15/07/2019)

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