Bishops Atanasije and Teodosije serve memorial service for victims in Livadice

Парастос за пострадале у ЛивадицамаThe 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.

"I pray to God to grant the victims of Livadice a place in the kingdom of heaven together with all of God's people in the embrace of Abraham. The embrace of Abraham is the hand of the Lord, which holds the righteous as it is beautifully shown on the frescos in our monasteries. We commemorate them and sing their eternal remembrance. Children, brothers and fathers, it is important that God mentions and remembers us,” said Bishop Atanasije.

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.

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.

Gordana Djoric, who was also in the bus that day, thought the same: "It hurts me that we still do not know who did this or why he did it. It hurts me that whoever is responsible for this attack has not yet been punished. It hurts me that no one considers it important or asks the families of the victims how they have fared these nine years without their loved ones. It hurts me that I still live in a time of lawlessness and without the rule of law. I live in a region where there is only a display of force. I remember everything that happened that day, the little child that played with all of us in the bus and the young married couple; I remember Mirjana and everyone who was around me. I remember the mangled bodies on the road; I remember everything and I will never forget it," said Gordana.

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.