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Officials in Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska will hold the annual commemoration of the killings of retreating Yugoslav People’s Army troops on May 15 in 1992 at a cemetery in the town of Bijeljina on Tuesday, not in Tuzla where the men died.
Milenko Savanovic, the minister of labour and veterans’ affairs in Republika Srpska, said the event had been shifted because Serbs have not been allowed to install a memorial plaque in Tuzla.
“Our inquiries, as with Dobrovoljacka [Street] in Sarajevo, remain unresponded to by Tuzla officials,” Savanovic told media on Monday.
Earlier this month, relatives of Yugoslav soldiers killed in May 1992 on Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo as they were withdrawing from the city did not mark the anniversary in the capital because they were also not allowed to install a memorial plaque.
Officials from Bijeljina and Republika Srpska will attend Tuesday’s commemoration for the soldiers who were killed as their military convoy was leaving Tuzla.
The commemoration was also not held in Tuzla last year because Savanovic claimed that the security situation in the town was inadequate as the ceremony needs protection by large numbers of police officers to avoid possible incidents.
The last commemoration that was held in Tuzla in 2015 passed off without any incidents.
Ilija Jurisic, a former police officer from Tuzla, was charged with issuing the order for the attack on the retreating Yugoslav People’s Army column in May 1992.
Jurisic was sentenced in 2009 to 12 years in prison for committing a war crime.
According to the initial verdict, the Yugoslav People’s Army and Bosnian representatives agreed that the army could pull out of its barracks in Tuzla without being attacked, but the Bosnian side broke the deal and opened fire on the Yugoslav soldiers.
But six years later, the appeals court in Belgrade acquitted Jurisic of the charges due to a lack of evidence.