The administrator of the Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, His Grace Bishop Atanasije and Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, with the concelebration of protosingel Mihajlo from Prizren, served a memorial service today in the church of St. Nicholas in Pristina for the victims of the terrorist attack on the Nis Express bus in the village of Livadice near Podujevo.
Today’s memorial service in Pristina was attended by about fifty family members of those killed, survivors from the bus and the faithful.
He reminded those present that no one has answered for the crime, as well as the fact of attempts to cover up the crime in Livadice and manipulate the numbers of passengers killed and maimed. "For days KFOR and UNMIK did not want to give the number of victims; they hid this because if the number of dead over ten, then it is an act of terrorism, while they wanted to describe this attack as an act of common crime. When doctors from Serbia performed the autopsy, they too were forbidden from disclosing the exact number; we were told that there were seven dead. Serbian pathologist Dr. Sasa Dobricanin, who participated in the identification of bodies, said at that time that he was not allowed to say exactly how many victims there were in Livadice because German pathologists stated that if he said that there were more than ten dead, he would not be able to participate in further autopsy," said Bishop Atanasije.
Bishop Atanasije conducted the requiem service for those killed in Livadice in 2001 in Gracanica Monastery in the absence of Bishop Artemije, who was then traveling in the United States.
Nis Express bus after the terrorist attack, February 2001
From Radio KIM news:
The only suspect for this crime, Florim Ejupi, was acquitted by the decision of the Supreme Court upon appeal due to the lack of evidence. EULEX then initiated a new investigation, and the head of the team of EULEX prosecutors Theo Jacobs (sp?) stated in June last year that the case was being handled by people from the office of the special prosecutor who are responsible for war crimes cases, while Florim Ejupi is still at large.
The victims of the attack on the bus are hurt the most that after nine years no one has been punished for the crime. "I’m most hurt that the investigation has not yielded any results. Florim Ejupi was released last year, two months after of the start of the EULEX mission. After UNMIK conducted an investigation for 5-6 years everything was tossed in a drawer, the only suspect was acquitted and no others were found. We would like to know how EULEX is conducting the investigation; they should notify the victims of this, as UNMIK used to do, so we know how the investigation is progressing," Gorica Scepanovic, one of the surviving passengers of the Nis Express, told KIM Radio.
The Association of Culture and Education of Kosovo and Metohija organized a gathering in Laplje Selo today of poets, students, teachers, relatives and friends to commemorate the nine year anniversary of death and maiming of the passengers of the Nis Express bus in a planted explosion near Podujevo. The explosion of the mine, which was planted under a bridge on the main road from Nis to Pristina, blew up the first of six buses carrying displaced Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija for Memorial Saturday services in Gracanica and was escorted by KFOR troops. Twelve Serbs were killed and 43 were wounded.