If Serbia wants to have sincere relations with Bosnia, it must extradite Novak Djukic, who was convicted for the 1995 Kapija neighbourhood massacre in Tuzla which resulted in the death of 71 people, mostly youth, officials attending a commemorative gathering for the victims in the northeastern city said on Tuesday.
On May 25, 1995, Bosnian Serb forces committed one of the worst crimes of the Bosnian war – a shell was fired at the Kapija neighbourhood in Tuzla, killing 71 and wounding 150 people.
The average age of the victims of the Tuzla Kapija massacre was 24 years, which is why the tragedy is also known as “the Crime against Tuzla’s Youth.”
Former general of the Army of Republika Srpska, Novak Djukic, was convicted for the crime by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina but fled to Serbia where he lives as a free man, under the care of the Belgrade Military Medical Academy.
Therefore, according to the mayor of Tuzla, Jasmin Imamovic, it is necessary to intensively urge Serbian authorities to hand over the convicted war criminal.
“All our relations are not sincere until that criminal, who committed such a terrible crime, is extradited to Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Imamovic stressed.
The Croat member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Zeljko Komsic, said that he and his Bosniak colleague in the institution, Sefik Dzaferovic, continuously ask the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, for his country to extradite Djukic.
“I can't say this for the whole of Serbia or for the whole nation, far from it, but I can say that the political leadership of Serbia simply has not yet matured enough for any kind of moral, human and then ultimately political recovery regarding the crime at Kapija and everything else that happened in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Komsic said.
Bahra Hasanovic lost two sons during the Bosnian war – one of them in Srebrenica and the other one in the Tuzla massacre.
“He managed to survive Srebrenica, he crossed over and came here to Tuzla. He fought from day one. Then he went out with his friends, went out a little with a girl, he was engaged, and then he died,” said Hasanovic, who also lost dozens of members of her immediate and extended family in the genocide in Srebrenica.
Nedziba Memic also lost her son in the massacre, who was 19 at the time of his death.
She said that she recently went to water the flowers on the graves of her sons and wanted to “lie down here and hug them and sleep here.”
Zekija Beganovic – Mahmutovic lost her son, Adnan, in the massacre, who was only 16 years old. She later gave birth to another son and named him Adnan as well.
She said that politics allowed Novak Djukic to flee to Belgrade.
“So many years (have passed). How much longer do we have to wait? Twenty years? We are old, half of the parents are gone by now,” she said.