Serbia refuses to return Kosovo artifacts

Kosovo possesses the file and other documents; however, Serbia continues to keep over a thousand archaeological artifacts. They were taken only for an exhibition in Belgrade, but have not been returned for more than two decades.

The director of the Archaeological Institute of Kosovo, Enver Rexha, told KosovaPress that the delay in the process of returning the artifacts is a political issue.

“Those 1274 artifacts, 676 are archaeological, while approximately 570 are ethnological, they are the property of our institutions, more specifically at that time they were the property of the Museum of Kosovo, now we have the National Museum of Kosovo. Fortunately, the file remains and the normative acts that were received remain, and for each number of the artifact we have the file, it is the legal luck that we have it, because without it we would not have had the right to even ask for them… We have had conversations, we have had meetings through these three or four years, lately also with international representatives or embassies, that we have discussed this issue, and the last one was also in Albania, a meeting that was held by the Kosovar-Albanian delegation and other mediators and has remained as a more political issue”, he said.

Rexha asked the government that in the next talks, the return of these archaeological artefacts to Kosovo should be a point of discussion.

Two years ago, the former director of the National Museum of Kosovo, Ajet Leci, sent an official request to the addresses of the National and Ethnological Museum in Belgrade and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, to return 1,247 artifacts that were taken since the last war, in the late 90s.

The Office for Kosovo of the Government of Serbia responded to this request, saying that all artifacts originating from Kosovo are part of the cultural and historical heritage of Serbia.

This is confirmed by the director of the National Museum of Kosovo, Vjollca Aliu, as she tells KosovaPress that despite the requests so far, they will not stop asking for the return of the archaeological artifacts to the country.

From the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, through an email, they say that they are constantly working in this direction, while emphasizing that on their official account on the Twitter social network, they have launched an information campaign, publishing the artifacts and their description, accompanied by photographs.

Despite these requests, until now, from this treasure of artifacts, only one of them has been returned to Kosovo. The “Goddess on the Throne”, which is an artifact dating from the fourth millennium BC and which was found in 1956 in the “Tjerrtorja” locality of Prishtina.