Five years after ethnic Albanians attacked Serb enclaves in Kosovo in what became the worst single attack against Kosovo’s Serbs since just after the 1999 war, Pristina’s government said the events would go down as ”one of the darkest episodes” of the country’s recent history.
“The tragic events of March 2004 are marked as one of the darkest episodes of our recent history. Kosovo’s citizens and institutions condemn such actions,” said a government press release, issued late Tuesday on the five year anniversary of the event, adding that such events would not happen again.
“March 2004 is an exception in our history. For centuries, Albanians have protected and respected religious diversity,” said Kosovo’s Minister of Culture, Valton Beqiri.
The minister noted that the ministry has invested 5.5 million euros since 2004 to reconstruct the Orthodox cultural heritage objects that were burnt down during the attacks, in which 19 people were killed and several hundred houses destroyed.
Asked whether Kosovo’s government has been pressured by the international community to commit these investments, Beqiri said that this has been a goal and a commitment of Kosovo’s government.
The government’s statement came after Serbia’s government called on the UN Mission to Kosovo and the EU Rule of Law Mission to ensure justice, noting that the culprits of the March 2004 violence have not been charged.