Bijeljina today marked 28 years since the massacre of 54 JNA soldiers committed by paramilitary Muslim formations that ambushed the convoy during a peaceful and previously agreed withdrawal from the barracks in Tuzla, which was an introduction to the suffering of Serbs and the great exodus of people from the Tuzla region, by laying of wreaths at the Memorial Ossuary at the Pucile Cemetery.
Republika Srpska Minister of Labour, War Veterans and Disabled Persons Protection, Dusko Milunovic, says that the Sarajevo’s Dobrovoljacka Street scenario was repeated in Tuzla, with the intent of provoking a war in B&H on a larger scale, involving Tuzla as it was left-wing orientated in pre-war elections where the SDA failed to win.
“They were shooting at JNA soldiers who were withdrawing from the barracks peacefully across Brcanska Malta towards Bijeljina, as it had been previously agreed with the Tuzla authorities, and killed 54 soldiers, wounded 44, captured 78 of them in their criminal enterprise,” said Milunovic.
At the commemoration of the JNA soldiers killed in Tuzla, Milunovic pointed out that no one had been held responsible for the crime, although everything was prearranged and recorded.
“It was obvious that they were shooting at a convoy that was withdrawing in a peaceful marching order, and the footage showed destroyed or damaged ambulances. I don’t know what else the BiH Prosecutor’s Office needs to do to initiate proceedings and file indictments against the then Tuzla leaders,” Milunovic emphasized.
Head of the Republika Srpska Research Centre of War, War Crimes and Tracing Missing Persons, Milorad Kojic, says that not even 28 years later, there is no judgment of conviction for this terrible crime that occurred at the beginning of the war and was an introduction to the great suffering of the Serb people in B&H.
He points out that the created crime in Tuzla, as well as the crime in Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo, is part of the implementation of the goals of the Bosniak declaration and the desire for B&H to be an exclusively Muslim state, stating that this is evident from documents published from the UK archives.
Kojic says that judicial institutions, by failing to prosecute crimes, continued that practice and continuity of policy aimed at creating an exclusively Muslim state of B&H, against which the Serb people must be fighting with truth and a culture of remembrance.
“We must not allow judicial institutions to write history for us,” Kojic said.
According to Kojic, a documentary was made about the suffering of the Serb people in the Tuzla region throughout the last century, about the Tuzla Convoy crime and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs that followed, and that a book is being prepared to rescue the suffering and exodus of Serbs from oblivion.
The surviving participant of the Tuzla Convoy, Radojica Ilic, who remained 80 percent disabled after the massacre, accused the Prosecutor’s Office of B&H of killing the justice in peace time that Serb victims have been waiting for the third decade.
Head of the Republika Srpska War Veterans Organisation, Milomir Savcic, says preparations for a showdown with JNA members and the Serb people in Tuzla began long before May 15, 1992, noting that armed police and paramilitary forces had created a ring around the city, preparing the same scenario as Sarajevo – death for JNA soldiers and pogrom of the Serb people in B&H.
“History and justice will record this event as a shameful and cowardly act of attacking people who were leaving the territory peacefully in the desire to return to their homes and their families, but who were not allowed to do so,” Savcic emphasized.
Wreaths and roses were laid at the memorial by the family members of the killed and surviving participants, chair of the Committee for Nurturing the Tradition of the Liberation Wars, envoys of the President of the Republic, the Serb member of the B&H Presidency and the delegation of the Republika Srpska National Assembly of the Republika Srpska, as well as representatives of the Bijeljina War Veterans Organisation on behalf of the Republika Srpska institutions, to pay homage to the JNA members killed in Tuzla Convoy.
The commemoration of the anniversary of the unpunished crime was organised by the Republika Srpska Government’s Committee for nurturing the tradition of liberation wars, while respecting the measures introduced due to the coronavirus epidemic.