Kosovo Serbs visit desecrated graves

BELGRADE -- Serbs visit the desecrated graves of their loved ones in Kosovo once again this year on All Souls' Day (Zadušnice).

A Kosovo Serb is seen next to desecrated graves (Beta)
A Kosovo Serb is seen next to desecrated graves (Beta)

In an atmosphere described as "more peaceful than in previous years", some headstones have been destroyed ahead of the religious holiday that sees Orthodox Serb Christians remember their dead and visit their burial places four times each year.

In southern Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbs visited the cemetery escorted by Kosovo police, KPS. Some 80 percent of the graves there had been vandalized.

In the village of Vidanje, near Klina, inhabited by Serb returnees, fresh scenes of desecration were seen in the local cemetery this week. This time, six graves were vandalized.

Along with those destroyed in the previous years, this in effect means that there is no untouched headstone in this graveyard.

The Serbs in Vidanje say they do not know who the vandals are, and have reported the incident to the police. But they do say that each new attack comes ahead of All Souls' Day.

Hardly any Orthodox cemetery in the province has been completely preserved. In the past, the burial places in Priština, Uroševac, Prizren, Đakovica, Peć, Kosovska Mitrovica, have often been the target of attack of ethnic Albanians.

No one has yet received a notable punishment for desecrating Orthodox graves.

Today, it remains unclear how Serb IDPs will visit the graves of their family and friends: organized or individually.

On last All Souls' Day bad weather was cited as the reason not to offer organized transportation to those visiting the cemeteries.