One Year After the Bus Massacre

Memory Eternal - Mneme Aionion - Pax Aeternam

One year after the bus massacre in which Albanian terrorists killed 11 and wounded more than 40 Serb civilians (mostly elderly and women) Bishop Artemije served a memorial service in Gracanica monastery. Beside many priests, monks and the faithful people Mr. Nebojsa Covic, the Serbian vice president from Belgrade attended the ceremony.



Gracanica - A year has passed since the terrorist attack on the Nis Express bus near Podujevo in which 11 Serbs were killed and several dozen wounded. Those responsible for the attack still have not been apprehended. A requiem for the victims was held in the churchyard of Gracanica Monastery in the presence of over 1,000 Serbs, the president of the State Coordinating center for Kosovo and Metohija Nebojsa Covic, deputies of the Return Coalition and representatives of foreign missions in Pristina. Addressing those present after the requiem, the Episcope of Raska and Prizren, the Rt. Rev. Artemije, said that "it would be a great consolation if the perpetrators of this terrorist attack were found and brought to justice" for the Serbs in Kosovo.

The gathered citizens then set out on a protest march expressing their dissatisfaction with the fact that the international community has not managed to provide security to the Serbs in Kosovo since June 1999 to the present day. Also present in Gracanica was the deputy speaker of the Kosovo parliament, Oliver Ivanovic, who told B92: "Today's commemoration serves as a reminder both to those who describe the mission here as a success and to us that we must never forget even for an instant that we live in a volatile region where crimes against Serbs continue to take place and where we will have to suffer for a long time to come to preserve and protect what we consider to be our historical heritage."

International forces formerly arrested persons suspected of the bomb attack near Podujevo. An Albanian linked to the attack by strong evidence escaped from detention in the United States military base Bondsteel, while three other suspects were released from detention in Pristina.

UNMIK spokeswoman Susan Manuel told B92 she was sorry because of this fact and explained: "We received a lot of criticism from OSCE and the ombudsman for prolonged detainment of the three men in prison because th is was not in accordance with international human rights conventions. The police tried to transform the intelligence it had into concrete evidence we could present in court but this was unsuccessful. Finally former UNMIK head Hans Haekkerup regretfully transferred the decision to the Kosovo supreme court, which includes three international judges, and the court decided that there was not enough evidence to continue to hold the three suspects in prison," said Manuel. She said that the intelligence had been based on statements by individuals but that "material evidence simply does not exist". The one suspect for whom the police believed it had firm evidence escaped from Bondsteel; for the other three, they had information but nothing strong enough to present to the court.

A blown up Serb bus
Remains of the bus blown up by ethnic Albanian terrorists, Feb 17, 2001

After the terrorist attack on a Serb civilian bus (Feb 17) in which 11 people were killed (two of them children) and 40 wounded a few Kosovo Albanian suspects have been arrested by UN police. The main suspect Florim Ejupi is direcly linked to the circles of Kosovo Albanian organized crime, close to the former KLA and its successor UN/NATO sponosred Kosovo Protection Corps. Despite all security measures Ejupi ran away from the American detention facility in Camp Bondsteel. British Sunday Times reveals in its article by Bob Graham (July 29: British troops' error led to bus bomb) that "UN sources believe that Florim Ejupi had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His trial would have been a serious embarrassment, they claim".

The Sunday Times, British Troops' Error Led to Bus Bomb, July 29 2001

Bishop Artemije serving the Panikhida (memorial service)
Behind - the names and years of birth of the victims