Municipality of Prishtina engages into libel and violates the laws of the Republic of Kosovo
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and sports (MCYS) wishes to express surprise at the statement issued by the Municipality of Prishtina regarding the conservation and restoration works carried out on the Old Tap on the Ibrahim Rugova Square.
It is regrettable that the statement contains libel and misrepresentation regarding the values of this monument of cultural heritage, found during the work carried out by the municipality of Prishtina on this square last year.
MCYS believes that the Old Tap should be seen as an asset adding value to the Ibrahim Rugova square rather than something to be covered or removed, which was the fate of many other traces of citizenry of Prishtina due to the degrading policies of the previous system.
Conservation and restoration works on the Tap have commenced with the full consent of Municipality of Prishtina, which was funding the project implemented by the Regional Centre of Cultural Heritage of Prishtina (RCCH Prishtina).
To this end, the Mayor of Municipality of Prishtina, Isa Mustafa, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with RCCH Prishtina, thus committing the municipality to fund the implementation of the conservation restoration project with 15 thousand Euros. Therefore, the statement of the Municipality of Prishtina that RCCH Prishtina damaged the tiles of Ibrahim Rugova Square or that it had deviated from the project in any way are entirely untrue.
It is equally surprising that through its statement, Municipality of Prishtina assumes the authority of judging on the values of the Tap, all the more so when it had recognized the findings of the experts since the revelation of the Tap and on such basis, it had assumed the funding of the restoration and conservation. It is senseless and scandalous that, in their statement today, Municipality of Prishtina challenges the professionalism and the expertise of the most competent institution of the Republic of Kosovo in the area of cultural heritage!
After the revelation of the Tap during the works on Ibrahim Rugova Square, experts of RCCH Prishtina and Kosovo Archaeological Institute carried out an assessment during the period 27.04. 2012 30.04.2012, in conformity with Article 3, item 4 of the Law on Cultural Heritage and found that the Tap represented cultural heritages values.
Assessment reports have been reviewed by the Commission for Review and Assessment of Cultural Heritage Requests Restoration/Conservation Projects (Cultural Heritage Commission), which is the competent authority to carry out assessment of this nature and subsequently, on 06.06.2012, the Commission recommended that the Tap be conserved and preserved in situ on the site of disclosure, through a project to be carried out by RCCH Prishtina. Upon drafting, the Cultural Heritage Commission approved the detailed project and on 31.07.2012, it issued the approval for commencement of works. These recommendations have been approved by Minister Memli Krasniqi and endorsed by the Municipality of Prishtina, whose Mayor signed the Memorandum of Understanding for implementation of the approved project.
In spite of the above, the Municipality of Prishtina has continuously delayed projects implementation, ignore the many written requests issued by the MCYS at its address. Also, Municipality of Prishtina committed flagrant violation of the Law on Cultural Heritage, by covering the Tap in a clandestine and thoroughly unprofessional manner twice, without due notice to any competent cultural heritage institution. These actions have resulted in even more severe damaged to the Tap, which had been found to be an asset of the cultural heritage of the Republic of Kosovo, especially its frontal part.
Regarding the threat of the Municipality of Prishtina to prohibit any works it had itself approved, MCYS wishes to recall that, in conformity with the Law on Cultural Heritage, Municipality of Prishtina is required to not only allow the works to proceed but to also support them in any way possible. On the contrary, Municipality of Prishtina will have violated the Law on Cultural Heritage, specifically Article 4, item 10 and runs the risk of being the subject of appropriate legal proceedings under Article 11, item 1of the Law on Cultural Heritage and the Kosovo Criminal Code, Article 333, item 3; Article 363, item 1 and item 2 as well as Article 364, item 1 and item 2.
In fact, in relation to the issue of the Tap, Municipality of Prishtina had committed repeated violations of the provisions above, but have made verbal promises to comply, for which MCYS had been patiently waiting. If the Municipality of Prishtina is to continue with the same course of action of deliberate damage to cultural heritage and failure to comply with legal requirements, MCYS will seek recourse with the appropriate legal steps to prevent any such event from occurring.
MCYS strongly opposes the public defamation of noted experts and professionals of the cultural heritage experts committed by the Municipality of Prishtina, challenging their assessment regarding the Tap. The assessments on the matter have been carried out by experts of RCCH Prishtina and Kosovo Archaeological Institute, with final assessment issued by the Cultural Heritage Commission, which is made of the heads of Institute for Protection of Monuments of Kosovo, RCCH of other regions and MCYS officials.
MCYS wishes to express its gratitude to all experts involved in the evaluation stages and on conservation and restoration works of the Tap in Ibrahim Rugova Square, by valuing their professionalism and dedication to protection and promotion of the cultural heritage of the Republic of Kosovo.
Agreement between the Regional Centre of Cultural Heritage Prishtina and Municipality of Prishtina
Commitments of the Municipality of Prishtina
Archaeological Survey and Assessment
Preliminary report on findings in Prishtina, in Ibrahim Rugova Square
IAK Report II
Kosovo Institute for Protection of Monuments