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Press Release

Property claim against Monastery rejected

28 December 2012

A mixed Panel of the Special Chamber presided by a EULEX Judge rendered two judgments in cases related to property rights of approximately twenty-three hectares of land falling within and outside the Special Zone of the Monastry of Deçan/Dečani. The panel rejected the claims of two Socially Owned Enterprises (SOEs) against the Deçan/Dečani Monastery as ungrounded.

These cases relate to donation contracts made between the Republic of Serbia and the Deçan/Dečani Monastery in 1997. SOE Apiko and SOE Iliria, in two separate proceedings, were challenging these donations and were claiming ownership right over these properties. In its decision the Ownership Panel accepted, based on the final Decisions of the Appellate Panel of the Special Chamber, that the Office of Legal Affairs of UNMIK as representing the Kosovo Trust Agency, has the legal standing as Claimant on behalf of the SOEs.

The Panel acknowledged that a settlement reached between UNMIK and the Monastery was presented to the Court in compliance with procedural rules. This settlement foresees that UNMIK waives the claims of both SOE Apiko and SOE Iliria in relation to the cadastral parcels within the Special Zone of Deçan/Dečani Monastery, whereas the Monastery waives the rights over the cadastral parcels outside of the Special Zone in favor of SOE Iliria. The Ownership Panel confirmed the legality of this settlement and thus rejected the claims of the SOEs as unfounded. In the cadastral records, the lands are already registered under the name of SOEs.

SOE Apiko and SOE Iliria initially filed claims with the Municipal Court in Pejë/Peć and in Deçan/Dečani in 2000.