HLC Kosovo: Trial and Verdict of Florim Ejupi for Terrorism brings Victims Justice

On 6 June 2008 Priština District Court International Trial Chamber, presided by international judge Hajnalk Karpati, found Florim Ejupi guilty of terrorism for his role in an a attack on the Niš-Express bus in Livadice in the vicinity of Podujevo on 16 February 2001 in which 11 Serbs were killed and 46 wounded, and convicted him to 40 years in prison.

The attack on the Niš-Express bus is the most grievous crime committed against Kosovo Serbs after the war. In accordance with the grievousness of the crime, the Trial Chamber handed down the most grievous punishment. Bearing in mind that internationalized trial chambers under the authority of UNMIK are completing their mandates, this verdict will serve as a standard for punishing perpetrators of acts of terrorism against members of ethnic minorities in the future.

The verdict established that thirty-year-old Florim Ejupi, from the village of Sekirača/Sekiraqa, municipality of Podujevo/Podujevë, participated in the terrorist attack on the Niš-Express bus in the place known as Livadice on 16 February 2001. Escorted by Swedish KFOR from the Merdare border crossing towards Podujevo, the bus was heading to Gračanica, where Serb passengers planned to mark Zadušnice, the Day of the Dead, when an explosive device placed next to the road in an irrigation canal was detonated. The following persons were killed in the attack: Nenad Stojanović, Dragan Vukotić, Lazar Milkić, Snežana Zdravković, Danilo Cokić, Sunčica Pejčić, Nebojša Cokić, Mirjana Dragović, Milinko Kragović, Veljo Stakić and Živana Tokić.

The court held ten hearings during the probative procedure and examined 6 Prosecution witnesses, while the Defence Council did not exercise its right to propose witnesses and the defendant used his right to silence.

Having monitored the entirety of the trial of Florim Ejupi, it is the evaluation of HLC–Kosovo that it was conducted in accordance with fair trial standards and that the court handed down a just verdict which has brought the victims justice.