Gracanica Mayor Srdjan Popovic in the strongest terms condemned demolishing of more than 20 tombstones at the Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan and requested a detailed investigation as well as identification of perpetrators.
“Such incidents bring us back to the past and do not contribute to the stabilization, overall peace and building the trust. Ethnic, religious and cultural differences are the high societal values that we all must respect. Demolishing the tombstones at the Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan represents an act of vandalism that is unacceptable to the contemporary civilization and which is unfortunately repeating for two decades.”
Mayor Srdjan Popovic also visited the cemetery in Lipljan today, RTV Puls reported. He once more urged the police and security structures to pay due attention given that respect for history, culture and tradition is a prerequisite for any peace and security in this area. He also noted this is a chance for the international community and institutions to show there are much more reasonable people in Kosovo, than unreasonable ones. Popovic said the assessment of damage would be made and reparation done.
President of Lipljan Interim Council Zlatko Lazic said the desecration of cemetery in Lipljan and demolishing of more than 20 tombstones represents “an act of intimidation and lack of culture.” Lazic also said the Serbs in the municipality feel disturbed and fear for their lives and lives of their families.
Kosovo Minister of Local Self-Governance and Administration Adrijana Hodzic condemned the desecration of the Orthodox cemetery, adding perpetrators should be found and punished. “This act deserves the strongest condemnation. There should be awareness among all that cemeteries should be respected. The authorities must undertake all necessary measures and acts to adequately punish the perpetrators, in order for something like this not to happen again,” Hodzic underlined.
Office for Kosovo and Metohija also condemned the incident saying, “the ideology of hatred is still omnipresent” adding “the chauvinist orgy does not concern anyone in the west, because these are just Serbian graves.” The Office added the incident would probably be recorded in some of the numerous international reports, most probably in the footnote under conclusion that peace, love and democracy flourish in Kosovo.
Raska-Prizren Eprchy in the strongest terms condemned the vandal act of desecrating the Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Lipljan. Such attitude indicates the lack of basic civilizational norms and represents a heavy blow to the Serbian people in this area, who are trying to survive under difficult conditions of ethnic and religious discrimination, Eparchy said in a statement. It also expects Kosovo police to find the perpetrators of this act of vandalism and bring them before the justice.
UNMIK condemned the gravestone desecration at Lipjan/Lipljan Orthodox cemetery. Reckless acts on sacred sites unearth painful memories for family members and communities. UNMIK encourages Kosovo Police to ensure a swift investigation to identify and bring perpetrators to justice, the Mission said.
OSCE Mission in Kosovo condemned desecration of gravestones at Orthodox cemetery in Lipjan/Lipljan and called on local leaders to appeal against such acts. Graves are sacred to families/communities and desecration invokes painful feelings. Kosovo Police have responded, and we urge a swift follow-up. The Head of OSCE Mission, Ambassador Jan Braathu visited the cemetery in Lipjan/Lipljan, the Mission said on Twitter.