Bosnians Protest Against Serbian Book Denying War Crime

Scores of people joined a rally in Tuzla on Wednesday to protest about the recent publication in Serbia of the book 'Tuzla Gate - A Stage-Managed Tragedy', which claims that Bosnian Serb forces did not shell the town and kill 71 people on May 25, 1995.

The protesters were angry that the book, which was written by Ilija Brankovic, a former Yugoslav People's Army general, was promoted at a Serbian Defence Ministry venue, the Central Military Club in Belgrade, last week.

"The worst thing is realising that the book, which crudely belittles the biggest war crime in the history of Tuzla, has received direct support from the Serbian government and its Ministry of Defence," said Adi Selman of the Tuzla Youth Council.

The book claims that the Tuzla Gate area of the Bosnian town was not shelled by Bosnian Serb forces, as a court verdict has established, but instead was destroyed by an explosive device pre-planted by others.

Zineta Hidanovic, the mother of Alem Hidanovic, who was 15 years old when he was killed in the 1995 attack, said that state institutions in both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia should not deny the truth about what happened.

"We do not know how long we will live, but as long as we live, we shall not allow you to spread lies," she said.

Novak Djukic, the wartime commander of the Bosnian Serb Army's Ozren Tactical Group, was convicted of ordering the shelling and sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Bosnian state court in April 2014, but did not turn up to start serving his sentence and left for Serbia.

The Bosnian authorities have repeatedly asked Serbia to take over the verdict and force the fugitive Djukic to serve his sentence there, but the Belgrade court has yet to issue any ruling.

Hearings in the...

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