Serbia has sent a clear message that it denies war crimes committed in Bosnia after the country’s Defence Ministry organised a promotional event for a book ‘Tuzla Kapija – A Staged Tragedy’ which says that Bosnian Serb forces were not responsible for the 1995 massacre in which 71 were killed, the Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency, Sefik Dzaferovic, told reporters on Wednesday.
On May 25, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces fired a shell on the Kapija neighbourhood in Tuzla, killing 71 and wounding more than 200.
According to author Ilija Brankovic, who promoted his new book on Tuesday in Belgrade, the massacre was staged by Bosniaks in order to blame the Serbs.“Serbia and its institutions are sending off a clear message that they officially stand behind the denial of the committed crimes and the protection of convicted war criminals,” Dzaferovic said.
He reminded that Serbia is sheltering former Bosnian Serb general Novak Djukic from serving a prison sentence in Bosnia after Bosnia’s State Court convicted him of the Tuzla massacre.
Djukic was sentenced to 25 years in prison for ordering the shelling but was released in 2014 after Bosnia’s Constitutional Court annulled the ruling due to procedural errors.
Bosnia’s State Court reduced his sentence later that year to 20 years, but his lawyer informed the court a few days later that his client is in Serbia.
In October that year, Bosnia issued an arrest warrant for Djukic as he did not show up to serve his sentence. The country then asked Serbia to extradite him, which has still not happened.
“Protecting a convicted war criminal, denying his acts and insulting the families of the innocent young people whom he killed is, above all, an anti-civilisational act, but also one with which Serbia is additionally damaging its relations with Bosnia,” Dzaferovic said.
The worst part of it is that the book promotion took place at a time when the chief prosecutor for the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals is meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and expressing dissatisfaction with regional cooperation on war crimes prosecution, the Bosniak Presidency member stressed.