Information of the traditional churches and religious communities in Serbia, from the press conference at the premises of Belgrade Roman Catholic Archdiocese
The Traditional churches and religious communities in Serbia, on September 7, 2011 at the press conference of the Belgrade Archdiocese, inform the public about next:
I REMARKS OF THE TRADITIONAL CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES ON АNNOUNCED SUPPORTING CHANGES AND AMENDMENTS OF THE LAW ON (RESTITUTION) ON RETURN OF THE PROPERTY OF CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES
1. The aim of the Government of the RS is that in announced accompanying changes and amendments on the return of the church property, in fact, reduce the level of human rights of churches and religious communities, and that, in this unconstitutional manner, ostensibly, provide the former owners the right to equal legal protection. Instead to provide the former owners secure the right to equal protection of the restitution, through accepting the same scope of property rights by the law recognized to churches and religious communities , the Government of the RS hereby reduces achieved level of property rights to churches and religious communities, which is a direct violation of the provisions of Article 20 par. 2 of the Constitution of the RS.
2. Failure to comply unconstitutionally the law of the restitution of the church property, the Government of the RS, now, after the deadline for its implementation, suggests changes and amendments of this law, након протека рока за његово спровођење, предлаже измене и допуне тог закона, thereby clearly demonstrates, that it in this way carried out the blockade of its execution, in order to minimize the extent of acquired rights to the churches and religious communities. Thus, by the provisions of art. 31 of the law on the return (restitution) of the property to the churches and the religious commuties, provides that the competent Department for restitution must make decisions on submitted requests within 6 months. The churches and religious communities, according to the provisions of art. 25 of the same law, until 30.09.2008, had already submitted their requests. Instead, solutions to have been brought based on this requests by the law in that prescribed six-month period, no later than 30.03.2009, the Serbian Government by blocking the implementation of this law, now has brought the churches and the religious communities in a situation to lose a part of their property, even though they acted within the law.
3. In this way, the Serbian Government performs the most severe violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights of churches and religious communities on the property, which is contrary to the constitutional principle of rule of law. Churches and religious communities, namely, on the basis of the law on return (restitution) of the property to churches and religious communities, acquired a property right to return of confiscated property, under the terms of that law.
4. Therefore, the Government has by blocking the implementation of the law on restitution of church property, through non-enforcement of the replacement restitution and the cash compensation, and not appointing the director of restitution, and now by revoking the replacement restitution and limiting the ammount of finansial compensation through announced amendments to the law, in fact, inappropriately reduce the extent of returning property to churches and religious communities.
II REMARKS OF THE TRADITIONAL CHURCHES AND RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES ON A DRAFT LAW ON THE RETURN OF SEIZED PROPERTY AND COMPENSATION
1. The Government of Serbia deprive previous owners, but also churches and religious communities, in advance, a part of the seized property, devised narrowing of the extent of its return. It does, in the way, that with related activities, significantly reduce the scope of property that is the subject of the return, as well as the monetary compensation of that property.
- Namely, prior to the adoption of this draft, the Serbian Government objectively reduced by legal provisions in the Law on Planning and Construction and the Law on Privatization the extent of the property for the natural restitution.
- In the very draft of this law, the Serbian Government, on the other side, did not predict the replacement restitution (substitution).
- And, finally, the Serbian Government in the draft od its law, limited also the amount of the monetary compensation to € 500,000, per one owner, regardless of the actual value of the seized property, which is unacceptable. Besides that, Поред тога, also the lump sum compensation is limited for the confiscated company.
- Besided that, the Serbian Government, does not return the seized property that was transferred into the regime of public property, but only the one that had become the state property.
2. Unjustifiably the deadline was prolonged for a submission into the state property of the returned property to the previous owners.
3. The draft law unfairly protects persons who negligently acquired seized property - at no charge or below market or purchase price.
4. Ban on disposition and burdening of the confiscated property, one should be prescribed, starting from the date when the previous owners acquired the property right to the return of confiscated property, and that is, one could say, as from the date of entry into the force of the Law on reporting and recording of the seized property from 2005. Retroactive enforcement of this law, in this part, may be prescribed, based on the provisions Art. 197 of the Constitution of the RS , because it can be prescribed to the existence of public interest for such legislation.
In Belgrade, 07.09.2011.
Legally and professionally formulated by
Legal representative of the traditional
Churches and religious communities
Miroslav Minja Nikolic, lawyer
For Traditional Churches and Religious Communities
Bishop Irinej of Backa
(The Serbian Orthodox Church)
Archbishop and Metropolitan of Belgrade Stanislav Hocevar
(The Roman Catholic Church)
Bishop Samuel Vrbovski
(The Slovakian Evangelical Church)