Belgrade Administrative Court issued a decision on April 19 suspending all construction works on the Kalemegdan cable car project until a final judgment is made on the legality of the construction permit for preparatory construction activities, issued by the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure.
The Administrative Court upheld the appeal filed by the Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI) to suspend decision execution, finding that construction works at Kalemegdan could cause irreparable damage to the cultural heritage – Kalemegdan Fortress and to the environment as well. The Court ruled that putting the construction permit into effect could inflict damage to the public interest that could hardly be repaired.
According to the Administrative Court’s decision, construction activities at Kalemegdan may not be continued until a final ruling on the legality of the construction permit is made.
The Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure issued a permit on April 1 for construction works at Kalemegdan, on the cadastral plot no. 64/17, which is within the area of the Belgrade Fortress and the archaeological site “Ancient Singidunum”. Preparatory earthworks include excavation and placement of concrete pillars. At the same lot, without the construction permit being issued, the Kalemegdan emblem tree had been felled.
Environmental rights protection association RERI filed a lawsuit on April 17 before the Administrative Court, requesting that the permit for preparatory construction works be revoked on the grounds that it was unlawfully issued and that the preparatory works be immediately suspended.
Due to the irregularity in the cable car construction plan process, Europa Nostra Serbia has lodged an appeal to the Ministry of Culture and Information to initiate the procedure of revoking the Detailed Regulation Plan and to issue a temporary measure for suspending all works related to the cable car construction.
RERI held a press conference on April 2, informing the public about its findings about the illegalities following the Kalemegdan-Ušće cable car construction project.
The Administrative Court decision proves that the rule of law in Serbia is still observed and that fighting to preserve the environment and public interest through legal means still yields results.
Once again, RERI calls on all relevant authorities, especially the Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Tourism and Telecommunications, City of Belgrade and the Serbian Public Company “Skijališta Srbije” to uphold the law and suspend all activities on cable car construction that would cause permanent damage to a site of high public interest.
Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute press release (in Serbian) is available here.
The Administrative Court decision is available here.