This is the stuff horror movies are made of.
Only, horror movies are usually fiction.
It is incredulous that persons charged of mass rapes during the Serb aggression in Croatia (early 1990’s) are still allowed to roam the streets freely over almost two decades, while charges are being heard in criminal court and others obstructed. And, once they finally are convicted of the rapes, as charged, they “find” safe passage to flee Croatia, most likely to Serbia (reports the media).
If a charge for rape is brought against a person in the Western democratic countries, once arrested, that person remains behind bars and criminal proceedings in court continue. While bail can be granted I would argue that no person in the West ever charged with charges of mass/repeated rapes like the ones in Vukovar would ever convince a court to grant them bail.
To have two Serb rapists flee Vukovar in recent days and months after being charged or convicted in the first instance of rape is no accident, I dare say.
It is absolutely horrible to even contemplate that mass rapes could be taken so lightly by the authorities and rapists allowed to roam the streets where their battered, tortured and utterly humiliated victims walk.
Croatian news agency HINA reported September 7 that the president of Women in Homeland War Association, Marija Sliskovic, emphasised at press conference that victims of rape, as well as those who helped the victims, feel unsafe and are in fear of their lives due to the fact that convicted-in-the-first-instance rapists are free.
The Association has announced today that it will sue the State because, they claim, it has allowed Dusan Ivkovic (51), convicted of rape in occupied Vukovar 1991, to flee while the other convicted rapist Rade Ivkovic (59) fled immediately after charges were laid against him. (Reportedly the two Ivkovics are not related)
The president of Women in Homeland War Association, Marija Sliskovic, reminded that the court hearing against the two convicted rapists lasted ten years.
Rade Ivkovic, who was sentenced to eight years by the court in Vukovar on Monday, fled immediately after charges were laid, most likely to Serbia, and Dusan Ivkovic did that the day after his sentence was handed down in court ( he was present at hearings but not at sentencing), said Sliskovic.
“It’s horrible that he resided in Vukovar the day after the sentencing, where he could have hurt the victim, and us who helped her”, said Sliskovic.
Sliskovic said that she cannot comprehend why the police did not arrest him given that he was sentenced to five and half years.
“We’ll work out the details with our solicitor, but in any case, we are going ahead with the lawsuit against the Republic of Croatia,” said Sliskovic as she emphasized that the long court proceedings in this case as well as the fact that charged rapists are not remanded in custody but allowed to defend themselves while freely moving about town, and the fact that one has fled the country after being sentenced for rape prove that the Government institutions are not doing their job.
She also reminded that Dusan Ivkovic was a policeman under suspension, was in receipt of half his salary at all times, that the Police Union secured a solicitor for his defence while the victim of his rapes was left to fend for herself with only some help from the Women in Homeland War Association.
A pathetic record for Croatian authorities, indeed. It is difficult to comprehend why this is so.
Whether it has to do with politics of equating the victim with the aggressor it’s hard to say but certainly plausible. It is in someone’s interest to protect the Serb rapists as much as possible and I support any moves by the victims to compel the authorities into just actions even if it means suing the State.
Or, has the internationally fired push for reconciliation between Croatia’s Serbs and Croatians gone so very, very wrong that it ignores the basic human rights of victims of rapes to justice and the non-negotiable process where the perpetrator must be punished for his crimes?
Whatever the case this madness and thorough injustice towards rape victims must stop.
April 2012 “Two decades after many of the worst atrocities were committed in the 1991-95 war, Croatian victims of rape and sexual violence are still awaiting justice, recognition, and support. This was the conclusion of a roundtable organized in Vukovar on 3 April by the United Nations (UN) in Croatia and the City of Vukovar, with support from the Office of the President of Croatia. The event was organized to draw attention to the plight of rape survivors and mobilize state authorities and civil society to redouble their efforts to punish the perpetrators and respond to the needs of the victims. Croatia’s experience was set in a broader context by the American playwright and activist Eve Ensler, who issued a rallying cry for a global crusade to fight all discrimination and violence against women…”
Nothing has changed; nothing has improved for the victims of rape in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. So it’s high time the victims call the authorities to account, demand justice, demand protection. If it means taking the Government to court – so be it! No mercy should be afforded to any such obviously rotten and irresponsible actions or omissions by the authorities (be it only local ones in Vukovar, if not higher ones in the country’s governmental headquarters) who let the brutal beasts walk. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)