Serbia’s Political Propaganda Blitzkrieg – Again!

While the term Blitzkrieg is usually associated with the “lightning war” tactics used by Germany in WWII it is just as applicable to political propaganda. The effects of Blitzkrieg included creation of doubt, confusion and rumours that would surely paralyse both the government and the defending military. I trust the current onslaught against Croatia and 1995 Operation Storm that liberated Croatian territory from Serb occupation will not paralyse Croatian Government in knowing how to defend its greatest and the most humane achievement in its history of plights for freedom and self-determination of its people.

Reactions to the ICTY’s Appeal Chamber’s majority ruling which acquitted Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac of any guilt in the alleged joint criminal enterprise/ forced deportation of Serbs from Croatia emanating from Serbia’s political and government leadership, its media and former ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is nothing short of a vicious propaganda Blitzkrieg. Serbia’s leadership and media are on a vicious mission to absolve Serbia of any wrong doing, of any crimes its army had committed in Croatia during 1990’s – of any consequences for its horrible crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The last couple of days Serbian and pro-Serbian Media outlets continue to pound anti-Croatian (Blic) , anti-ICTY Appeal Chamber decisions (Balkaninsight) propaganda that bears not a single word on what happened in Croatia prior to August 1995, prior to Operation Storm. Indeed, if one were to read that Serbian and pro-Serbian media gobbledegook one could easily conclude that Croatia attacked Serbian territory in August 1995 for no other reason but to expel Serbs from that territory. It is the stuff Joseph Goebbels, WWII Minister of Propaganda in Germany, thrived on.

But then, Serbia’s political propaganda knows how that works, well – for some time anyway, enough time to fool some people. Serbia has practice in Goebbels style of propaganda. After WWII it managed to throw all of its guilt in achieving 94% extermination of Serbian Jews by May 1942 onto the occupying Nazi forces – completely throwing into insignificance and forgetfulness that it was its Nazi-backed Milan Nedic puppet government that served the Serbian Jews to the Nazis for slaughter. Serbia was one of the first countries in Europe that proudly declared itself as a “Jew free” state in 1942. Came the end of WWII they managed with Yugoslav Communist leaders to throw all the guilt of the Holocaust on the territory of former Yugoslavia onto Croatia and blow out of all reality and proportions the numbers of Serbs allegedly killed in Jasenovac concentration camp. A political propaganda Blitzkrieg of shameful proportions; shameful for humanity that requires decency in truth and facing the consequences of that truth.

And Serbia’s politicians and media are doing it again. They want Serbia to come out squeaky clean after its bloody role in ethnic cleansing, genocide and mass murder in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They helped Croatia’s rebel Serbs in early 1990’s just as they helped the Nazis against Jews in WWII.

Serbia’s Blic news portal (link provided above) goes so far that it accuses and ridicules Croatia of “buying verdicts” through spending millions of Euros on legal fees etc for the defense of Generals and other officials from Croatia who appeared before the criminal tribunal in the Hague. They totally ignore the absolute right to a defense of any official/employee charged in relation to acts allegedly done while on duty to defend Croatia from aggression and occupation. This says quite a lot that this media and probably many Serbs, including the mentioned lawyer Toma Fila, do not think that the accused should be afforded the human rights to defense as “employee”, legal costs paid by “employer”. Furthermore the article in Blic boasts that Serbia only allocated about 190,000 Euro for war crimes legal fees. But hey, that’s because Serbia has not yet fully admitted it was at war against Croatia even if the truth and evidence say differently; or, it throws its own soldiers to the wolves just as it threw its innocent victims.

Another sequence in this Serbian propaganda Blitzkrieg can, unfortunately, be found on Balkaninsight/ Balkan Transitional Justice portal (link provided above). I say unfortunately because “The Balkan Transitional Justice initiative is a regional initiative funded by the European Commission and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland that aims to improve the general public’s understanding of transitional justice issues in former Yugoslav countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia)”. How can this site improve general public’s understanding of transitional justice when it publishes articles that feed disrespect of the judicial system and rules of evidence to the general public while at the same time promoting bias against some nationalities that one can’t even find in the darkest non-democratic systems of the world?

Eric Gordy, Lecturer at University College London writes for Balkaninsight how the ICTY verdict for Croatian Generals “shows it is good to be a criminal”! Of course Gordy suggests that a majority ruling (3 out of 5 judges) isn’t enough for justice to be seen to have been done! This man is apparently a lecturer at a University in a democracy which holds that justice is done and seen to have been done if majority rules the same! Enough said on that. But, no, he also seems to think that if evidence “indicates” (not demonstrates) something that this should be enough as evidence beyond reasonable doubt in criminal proceedings! He says that Brioni transcripts “indicate” that “expulsion of Serb civilians was a goal” of Operation Storm and that is solid evidence as far as he is concerned; the fact that “indicate” also means that there can be other possible interpretations of the same evidence doesn’t factor in Gordy’s mind as a serious problem with such “here-and-there” evidence for criminal convictions. The Brioni transcripts are also interpreted by those who are well acquainted with military jargon to mean “Serb soldiers only, not civilians”.  The fact that Gordy does not seem to respect nor accept the fact that Appeal Judges have the same, if not greater, right and responsibility to weigh the evidence as Trial Judges do, is most concerning. In this he’s adding to the weaponry of Serbia’s propaganda Blitzkrieg against some ICTY Judges and Croatia, and one must ask – why? The answer seems obvious!

Of course Serbia’s leadership doesn’t like the ICTY Appeal Chamber ruling from 16 November 2012 in Croatian Generals Gotovina and Markac case. The ruling has blown out of the water their Machiavellian plan to label Croatia as having earned its independence on a joint criminal enterprise against Serbs and absolve Serbia of any wrong doing, of any horrid, horrid crimes its soldiers and rebels and para-military committed in their frenzy for a Greater Serbia! How could we expect them to react differently? Only through a miracle of self-search and humility. In the meantime the Blitzkrieg continues, but so does the need to defend justice and truth. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. For the Serbs the war started in 1995 so they just had to try to kill everybody around them in 1991.

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  2. My favourite part of this whole thing is that Serbian members of parliament have officially deemed the ICTY as an illegitimate authority….. I’m sorry, has that not been their position since its establishment? Ridiculous, to say the least.

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  3. Its the same with Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo.In Srebrenica between 8000-10000 people were executed in 3 days.In 2005 Serbian Radical Party (Party of Vojislav Seselj who is in ICTY custody) launched an aggressive campaign that Bosnian Muslims also killed thousands of Serbs around Srebrenica adn that was picked up by many interntional sources.The truth is and this is comming from the Serbian document that in a course of 3 years 624 Serbs were killed around Srebrenica of which 39 arent war related.585 of the dead were soldiers.That propaganda even proven wrong by many courts is still being used today to deminish the significance of the Srebrenica Genocide.?!?!?!
    the Population of Srebrenica was under siege for 3 years and concisted of thousands and thousands of people who were driven from their homes by Serbian forces in 1992-1993.Even Human Rights Watch hase these numbers that I mentioned.Yet you will hear from time to time what about the Serbian victims around Srebrenica?And Serbian Oresident Nikolic still denies that genocide has taken place there.Its the same with Kosovo.There 800.000 Albanians were driven from their homes.Do you hear someone in Europe even mentioning that today?No!What do you hear?You hear about some Serbian story about some criminals killing some people for organs.And those victims wernt even only Serbs,they were all of different nationalities.Same in Croatia noone speaks about 4 years of Serbian crimes,shellings and massacres agains Croats ,but they all know about the last year when Croats finnaly fought back with real weapons insted of hunting rifles and stones and sticks.But Operation Storm WOW!?!?!
    so the EU sends us the next messages.Vukovar,destruciton of whole Croatia and 20000 dead Croats GOOD,Operation Storm that lasted 4 days To end that all BAD!Srebrenica Genocide GOOD,39 dead Serbs in 3 years of Srebrenica siege BAD,800.000 Albanians ethnicly cleansed from Kosovo and mass executions GOOD,few dead Serbs BAD!
    hese are the views by some messed up people in the EU.

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  4. The best analysis of the judgement so far is by a Serb as well, albeit one that hardly strikes me as the nationalist type. Here is Marko Milanovic (University of Nottingham Law School) writing on the website of the European Journal of International Law: http://www.ejiltalk.org/the-gotovina-omnishambles/.

    “To my mind, the problem is not with the acquittal as such – even though as far as public opinion in the former Yugoslavia is concerned the bottom line is all that mattered. Rather, the problem is with the process, the reasoning, the appearances, and the broader repercussions that all these will have.”

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    • Hm, not the best review Martinned. This article does the same as all others emanating from pro-Serb camp that tries to equate aggressor with victim. It basically denies the judicial right of Appellate Judges to make decisions they’re entitled to. And after all, if the 200 meter error in artillery shelling was ultimately found by majority judges in the Appeal not to have been adequately enough to convict the Generals of crimes they’ve been charged with. It’s good to know though that there’s a sense of Croatian generals not having a “murderer’s mind” (like the case with some Serbs before ICTY) but issues circle around where the artillery shells fell from a distance.

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      • As explained, the Appeals Chamber is not supposed to judge facts. That’s not what they’re there for, and they didn’t hear evidence for that reason.

        (And, as before, I express no opinion on the case as such. When the only ruling was that of the Trial chamber, the reasonable point of view was that the accused were probably indeed guilty. A thorough appeals judgement would have been more than enough to rebut that presumption. I am convinced, however, that this appeals judgement leaves somewhat to be desired, which puts me back where I was before the trial: I don’t know whether these men are guilty, nor do I particularly care.)

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      • Martinned I think you do care whether these men are guilty or not because you take your time to give your views and comment. Which in essence is a good thing because it demonstrates you do care what goes on in the wider community etc. The Appeal judges do address facts (evidence) in the way that they look at the evidence or facts that was before Trial judges and then bring a decision as to whether the Trial judges were right or justified in making the decision they did on grounds appealed.

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      • I like reading this blog because I want to know more about the mood in Croatia, where some of my childhood friends are from and which will soon be joining the EU. Specifically, I am concerned that the country is still plagued by the curse of nationalism which led to so much suffering in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

        I also care about international criminal justice. I would like to see the Yugoslavia Tribunal, the Rwanda Tribunal, the Sierra Leone Tribunal and the International Criminal Court work well. In the case of the ICTY, there seem to be some problems, for example with people (like Milosevic) who were able to drag their case on for so long that they died before they were convicted. (I assume you don’t mind that I prejudged that one.)

        Finally, I think you misunderstand the role of the Appeals Chamber. It does not take another look at the facts. Rather, the standard it applies is to consider whether a reasonable trier of fact could have found the facts that the Trial Chamber found. This is a very deferential standard.

        This way of working is common law inspired; in continental Europe – and I imagine also in Croatia – an appeals court can hear witnesses and look at evidence completely anew. I think the continental way is better, generally, but it is not the rule of the Tribunal, and the Tribunal has to follow its own rules. (Incidentally, the aforementioned Milosevic case gives food for thought on this point. Imagine how much longer cases could last if the defendant could challange all findings of law and fact in the Appeals Chamber.)

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      • I don’t misunderstand the role of Appeals (I also have significant history in actually preparing, leading and winning Appeals at Supreme court levels etc so am well versed on processes to be objective) , perhaps I couldn’t express enough in short sentence. Obviously, if an Appeal is allowed then there are grounds to proceed with it and it can either be upheld or not – in this case it was. cheers

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      • Thank you. I do not consider nationalism a plague though, because to me and most nationalism means patriotism, love of ones country – but bar the WWII part where only a portion (relatively small) indulged in crimes we know as Holocaust, you will find that overwhelming majority of Croatian have done no harm to anyone out of “nationalism” – if they want to defend their identity and self-determination as a national identity then surely there is nothing wrong with that. All countries do it, all nationalities do it. But, some nationalities (countries) do not accept their crimes in history which are to my mind equal if not much worse than say Holocaust and keep pointing fingers at others in order to hide their own shame. I guess if one were to live in a perfect world then all victims no matter who they are would receive justice by perpetrators being punished.
        Milosevic died before his ICTY case could finish and one can do nothing more but accept that fact.

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    • It seems Marko Milanovic may be a chetnik in disguise. Throughout the trial he posted on forum.hr as “Captain Rbubish” and contradicted every finding that was in favour of generals Markac and Gotovina. (easily searchable on Google but the dialogue on forum.hr is strictly in Croatian – backs this belief)

      He certainly isn’t stupid – he lectures law in England, but that doesn’t mean that he’s impartial. He may sound believable but his claims are only cleverly-disguised chetnik arguments that lure the unsuspecting leader into what appears to be a well-written piece, but is really nothing but garbage. I’ll give him this – he did pick a apt nick although he should learn how to spell ‘rubbish’.

      Consider this bit of logic from the text which I’ve already heard repeated on Serb television by a number of people (he seems to be held in high regard by Nikolic and Dacic since he’s perfect material for the serb propaganda machine)

      “While the Croatian nationalists will always say that a majority is a majority and that is that, dismissing the dissents completely, Serbs will also equally be able to point to the 5 international judges (3 judges of the unanimous Trial Chamber and 2 judges of the minority on appeals) who looked at the same record and voted to convict.”

      Were the 3 trial judges able to consider the same evidence in the same manner expanded to the same extent as the 5 appeal judges? A law professor can seriously compare 2 separate courts and their findings, lump them together and come up with logic so twisted that even the average person can see major flaws in it? Nice try.

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      • I think you may have found more than one person of the same name writing on the internet. It happens.

        And I agree that 3 trial judges + 2 appeals judges do not make a majority of anything.

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      • Martinned, it seems useless even replying to this because you are biased regardless of facts and stuck in it but here it goes: dictionary defines majority as number greater than half of total. Perhaps you and your like-minded people will come up with new definitions of majority

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      • @inavukic: Huh? I was agreeing with you. (I think.)

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      • 🙂

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    • Mr. Milanovic’s positions were and are shared by Serb nationalists – and his bombastic statements and crystal ball predictions don’t bode well for his professional capabilities or knowledge on the subject: http://www.snv.hr/tjednik-novosti/593/nema-sanse-da-hrvatska-srusi-tezu-o-zlocinackom-pothvatu/.

      He, like Carl Del Ponte and Serge Brammertz (and Eric Gordy I would add), was professionally and intellectually discredited by last Friday’s ruling.

      His analysis, which was also posted on the Balkan Insight by a Serb troll praising the libelous hatchet job by Mr Gordy, was premised mostly on the analysis of the minority, dissenting judges, who I pointed out on the BI discussion, are less than credible:

      QUOTE:

      Wait, is Mr. Milanovic citing the same Pocar who frantically denied the submission of evidence into the several proceedings tying Belgrade to the long prior planning of the wars against Croatia and B&H, including the Rampart (RAM) Plan, who supported Del Ponte’s pimping out the genocide charge and Serbia’s required submission of the evidence linking Belgrade to Srebrenica in terms of operational planning, support, genocide participation, and coverup, for “concessions” by Serbia, namely, a handful of low-ranking nobodies, as Florence Hartmann proved in her book?

      Is that the same Judge Agius who tried and convicted Florence Hartmann for whistleblowing on Pocar and Del Ponte’s cover up(s) and pimping of charges?

      ENDQUOTE

      The canards of Milanovic (http://www.snv.hr/tjednik-novosti/593/nema-sanse-da-hrvatska-srusi-tezu-o-zlocinackom-pothvatu/) and Gordy (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/hague-verdict-shows-it-is-good-to-be-criminal) were repeated by The Economist (though TJ’s signature wasn’t behind it – guessing an intern wrote it due to quality and validity of arguments): http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21567133-political-ramifications-several-judicial-rulings-outs-and-ins/comments#comments.

      They all miss the big picture (edited).

      The poorly written political indictment to appease nationalist Serbia should have been thrown out of court as soon as the prosecution entered its “smoking gun” into its “slam dunk” opening argument – a poorly edited Serbian counterintelligence propaganda video that was proven to be such: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cuefdyuyFA – provided to the Office of the ICTY Prosecutor by the “Krajina” functionary (“Secretary of the Republic of Serbian Krajina) / seven Joint Criminal Enterprise participant (Milosevic, Babic, Martic, Hadzic, Simatovic, Stanisic, and Mrksic JCE) Savo Strbac, whom the office of the prosecutor was working with since 1993 after he founded his sham NGO “Veritas,” which was funded under the orders of Milosevic and by funding of Milosevic’s government;

      The big picture impact is that the newly ICTY invented “200 meter” standards of 5.5% misfires / inaccuracy in artillery usage (with one single armed paramilitary casualty) constituting a “war crime” and “joint criminal enterprise” for all members of operational planning – a “standard” that not even the US, UK or any NATO forces in Iraq or Afghanistan could ever met (or even could meet) – was the glue that held the contradictory indictment and initial ruling together.

      It would have criminalized even the most discriminate and surgically precise NATO textbook artillery fire mission, as was the case with the Croatian forces’ fire during Storm (94.5% ACCURATE, with Eastern Bloc equipment no less).

      Which is why, in the politically charged initial Trial, they were convicted, as the entire proceeding was a Stalinist show-trial (with debunked enemy propaganda provided as “fact,” and with out of context misquotes repeated as if the entire context / intent / meaning was changed).

      Which is also why military and legal professionals spoke out against the initial ruling: (https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/DOCLIBS/MILITARYLAWREVIEW.NSF/20a66345129fe3d885256e5b00571830/b7396120928e9d5e85257a700042abb5/$FILE/By%20Major%20General%20%28RET.%29%20Walter%20B.%20Huffman.pdf.

      The Trial Chamber never even actually defined what “reasonable measures” meant – if mandatory classes on the Laws of Land Warfare and Geneva Conventions, a functioning civil and military judiciary in the time of defensive warfare in one’s own country (making enforcing the rule of law at the local / rural / war torn level much more personal, and extremely difficult) that investigated and prosecuted crimes and war crimes – were not enough, and if 1,000 civilian trials and or courts martial during and immediately after the operation, and of the state to date sentencing 2,380 of its own citizens to prison for crimes and war crimes were not “reasonable measures” to “prevent and or prosecute” crimes and war crimes, than what is?

      You have to define the parameters of a charge / crime before you can sentence anyone for committing it.

      Otherwise it is simply a logical fallacy to rely on in case your flimsy case put together by a multiple joint criminal enterprise participant and Milosevic quisling and legacy defender gets shot out of the sky by the defense.

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  5. Michael Silovic says:

    We already knew that the propaganda was on it’s way from the Serbs as they will never admit defeat nor will they ever apologies for the atrocities on our country and its people. The bigger picture here for the propaganda machine is that they are certainly afraid that if Gotovina becomes president they will have a president in Croatia who will not allow them to distort the facts and release proven records of the truth of the war which will truly show the world what the Serbs intentions really were.
    I am so ready to go to work for Gotovina for President that I can not wait for the shock and horror of many of our traitors who will be hiding out with the Serbs once this becomes a reality. There are many in our country who betrayed us with their propaganda as well but they will be exposed and proved to be liars as the Serbs are.

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  6. It’s unsettling to see our eastern neighbours in such a desperate state. And to think that it would have been so easy for them to just admit they were wrong and get on with life, as Dr. Slobodan Lang so diplomatically suggested they do just days before the reading of the ICTY verdict last week. My apologies for not having the time to translate, but perhaps by plugging the text into Google translate one could get the gist of the message.that he was trying to send.
    http://braniteljski.forumhr.com/t892-slobodan-lang-otvoreno-pismo-tomislavu-nikolicu

    Tongue-in-cheek comments aside, this rift that is being created on our eastern borders is coming at a great time. The wedge that the Serbs themselves have driven into our diplomatic relations will hamper their EU accession process and add to the forces that will keep us out of the Balkans and allow us to develop new friends, new markets, new allies to the north, where we have always belonged.

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  7. Dear Ina!
    Thank You GOD for Your Help to free Our Generals from Serbian Devils and for You and Your Truth Thirst and Love for Croatia, Our Beloved Country!,,,,,Keep up in defeanding and loving Croatia!!!!!
    GOD &CROATIAN!!!!
    BOG I HRVATI!!!!!!

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  8. Folks have a read of this slanderous article by ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hague-prosecutor-disappointed-croats-acquittal-17779196#.UK1pSeQ73w0

    Apparently the The Hague Prosecutor is considering a judicial review of the overturned ruling. How incredible is the influence of Serbia on the court and indeed the world? The victim ideology is working very well for the Serbs. I think Croatia needs to go on the diplomatic and public relations offensive very aggressively. Croatia needs to legally pursue authors of slanderous articles. Rather than a genocide case against Serbia, Croatia needs to sue for war reparations and for access to Serbia archives to reveal the order from Serbia to evacuate Krajina.

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    • Yeah sunman, much of the same BS. The author of the article clearly hasn’t either read or accepted or both the Appeal Chamber ruling as he talks of Serbs being “driven” from Croatia when in fact that particular conviction from original trial was quashed at the Appeal. He also doesn’t seem to want to let readers know that the reality of courts is this: Prosecution wins:Defense loses; Defense wins:Prosecution loses. The shocking thing is that such journalists keep reiterating Serbia’s leadership tantrum that only Serbs have been convicted in the Hague without providing comment or any qualification for readers’ benefit! For crying out loud criminal justice system is not about how many have or haven’t been convicted, but is suspected of crime on solid grounds and who gets convicted or not after the trial. As far as Brammertz’s tantrum goes of course he as chief prosecutor doesn’t like losing the case. It’d be very interesting if new evidence emerges for a judicial review. However, I do not believe judicial review delve into evidence presented and its evaluation by the judges – the rulings of judges, judicial review might look into the process itself and if someone did something wrong in that process out of judges etc but not the accused.

      As I said Blitzkrieg is afoot and it ain’t going to die down any time soon.

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    • Brammertz and Carl Del Ponte were professionally discredited.

      Of course they will try and save their stained professions and names.

      It is further evidence of just how unjust that political tribunal for the whitewashing of Serb guilt for planning the wars, continuing them for years and for committing well over 90% of the atrocities in both Croatia and BiH – and of whitewashing the W. European’s support for Milosevic and his minions until the US made them shut up after the Markale massacre.

      You can’t justify the arms embargo and threatening economic sanctions on Croatia and BiH for not accepting “peace” deals that gave the Serbs more than what they held without all sides being “equally guilty.”

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  9. Izvukao sam iz arhive jedan dio iz intervjua Vuka Jeremića novinama ‘Večernje novosti? iz 2007 godine….na pitanje novinara..?Gosp.Jeremiću čujem da ste 90-tih bili čak u užem krugu zvezdinih navijaća ‘Delije’?….’Da,i mogu reći da se ponosim tim razdobljem od aktivnih političara u Srbiji Aca Vučić i ja smo bili u užem vodstvu ‘Delija’….pitanje novinara…’Arkan vam je tad bio vođa’….’Da i mogu reći mada se to mnogima u politici srbije neće svideti tad smo u njega gledali kao u boga,sve je mogao,plačao nam je gostovanja po bivšoj državi,budio je u nama ono iskonsko srpstvo i postavljao nas na branik srpstva’……

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    • Translation of comment by No: I’ve pulled out a part of newspaper “Evening news”? from 2007 … interview with Vuk Jeremic … to question from journalist “Mr Jeremic, I hear that during 1990’s you were even in the close circle of Zvezda supporter ‘Delije’? …Yes, and I can say that I’m proud of that period of active politicians in Serbia, Aca Vucic and I were in the inner circle of leadership of ‘Delija’ … journalist’s question… “Arkan was your leader then? … Yes and I can saythat even if some politicians in Serbia won’t like that, we looked upon him then as a God, he could do everything, he paid us for visiting places across the former country, he awakened in us that true Serbianism and placed us on the defense of Serbianism”…

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  10. Some people need to accept the fact that the victim is not equal to the aggressor and move on. Unfortunately, for as long as Serbs refuse to admit their guilt, issues will be had. For as long as they go on denying, they will not allow their country to move on and prosper. If only they could open their eyes and see that admittance would not be such a sin against each and every Serb that exists or has ever existed. So what if only Serbs have been convicted? You would think that by using simple logic, this would tell you something…like the fact that is shows there was very clearly, an aggressor and a victim. Think of it on an individual level…you wouldn’t convict someone who shoots and kills a person and then convict the victim too, just to make the perpetrator feel a little better about themselves. I really cannot understand the mindset of some people.

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    • Just because the Serbs shot first, doesn’t mean the Croats, Bosniaks, etc. can’t be guilty of crimes as well.

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      • So true Martinned, however it’s the individuals who are suspected of crimes that must answer for them. There’s no doubt in my mind and in the mind of many (including majority of ICTY Appeal Judges) that there was no “order to commit crimes” given by Cro Army as ICTY prosecutor alleged in Gotovina and Markac cases. There are several cases of Croatians before criminal courts in Croatia (some in Serbia) just as there are cases of several Serbs as individuals. So, nobody is trying to prevent justice being done – if individuals are found guilty of crimes it means they committed the crime by disobeying orders and war conventions etc.

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      • I didn’t say they can’t be guilty of any crime at all (and if you feel that was implied in my post, then I apologise for bad wording, but I don’t really think it needs to be said over and over again that everyone can commit crimes in a war; the very nature of war means that there will be victims and criminals on each side.

        However, there is a difference between crimes committed by wayward individuals acting on their own and without permission/orders, as opposed to an organised attack or a “joint criminal enterprise” (to use ICTY’s own little catchphrase) that is planned out and executed by those in top positions. This is what the accusations against the generals were and this is a distortion of facts, showing a trail that was put in place for political purposes and not for the purposes of achieving justice for real victims. This has been said plenty of times in discussions about the trial of the Generals (at least that I am aware of). Individual crimes were committed by all sides, no reasonable person should deny that, but it does not give way for “equalising the guilt” for the sake of those individuals who do not wish to come to terms with their past. As much as people want to claim that finding the Generals guilty is “just” finding those individuals guilty (for the sake of appeasing Croatians that may oppose the guilty verdict), such a verdict really does stain the reputation of the whole of Croatia and the legitimate efforts to end the war.

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      • Well said Kat

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      • I’m afraid we must disagree there. Finding the Generals guilty would be exactly like finding any other officer or soldier of the Croatian army guilty. If they did something, for example order the shelling of civilian targets in a manner forbidden by the laws of war, they should be convicted of that crime. I don’t see how that stains “the reputation of the whole of Croatia [or] the legitimate efforts to [win] the war”, and frankly I don’t see why that matters. Justice must be done, reputation be damned.

        Joint Criminal Enterprise is simply a means by which a general can be criminally liable for a cannon being fired without having fired it himself. All the different theories of responsibility are listed in art. 25 of the Rome Statute, for the International Criminal Court. (A less detailed version is in art. 7 of the ICTY Statute.)

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      • Yes Martinned: if they ordered shelling of civilian targets they would be guilty. But they DID NOT, so why should they be guilty. You just do not accept the decision of the Appeal Chamber judges which acquitted the Generals. The stains on Croatia via conviction for individuals come via the actual crime convicted of: participation in joint criminal enterprise actually means that there was a widespread, from the top, policy to commit crimes which was not true in Croatia’s case. Yes justice be done, reputation be damned – but only if justice is done and it wasn’t done by Trial Chamber ICTY in 2011 in case of the Generals. You speak of “command responsibility” (general can be criminally liable without firing the cannon himself) – we’ll the generals were cleared of that allegation as well. By the way, I hear in news from Serbia that they’re trying to find at least one Croatian military high officer who may have ordered shelling etc or committed a crime during Operation Storm, so they could sue and eventually via that individual prove some joint criminal enterprise … the stage might be preparing for yet another false accusation of Croatian military personnel by Serbia. Let’s hope Serbia finds enough strength to accept the horrible crimes its military and politicians did then, and move on.
        Just by the by, if you research facts from 1990 for Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina you will find thousands upon thousands of Serb “civilians” taking matters of Greater Serbia into their own hands and attacking, spreading terror, mistreating even killing their non-Serb neighbours – now, surely, one couldn’t call these people “civilians” within the frames of war and its beginnings.

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      • Michael Silovic says:

        (quote) Just because the Serbs shot first, doesn’t mean the Croats, Bosniaks, etc. can’t be guilty of crimes as well.

        Martinned, If you shoot at me first do you really think I care about the crime I am about to exert on you and your people? You just tried to kill me and my family and destroy my country! I will kill everyone by any means to defend my family , neighbors and country. How can you even begin to claim anyone to be guilty if you start a war. In war everyone is the enemy and there will always be collateral damage. The reality is if you want to find a crime the crime began when you took the first shot. When you get yourself killed and destroy your own people and country do not look for blame other then yourself. As a nationalist I will defend every Croat who killed any Serb during war whether or not they acted outside of the chain of command. People react independently of war when they witness the atrocities and the loss of loved ones. It is in human nature to seek revenge when ones physical and psychological capability has been destroyed in an atmosphere that is not normal . Serbs have no reason to complain about anything. They brought a war to the Croatian people got their asses handed to them and now they must live with their own shame and failure. They can continue to lie to their own people and the world all they want but the truth is much more powerful and will always be revealed.

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      • Not at all. The problem, however, is that Gotovina and Markac were not guilty of anything – not only was their artillery fire 94.5% accurate, according to the Prosecution’s own evidence, and not only did they take reasonable – I would say extra-steps to prevent (barring ethnically cleansed refugees to take parts in operations in areas of their pre-war homes) and to prosecute (1,000 civilian trials and courts martial during and in the weeks immediately after Storm with 741 convictions; with 2,380 convictions in total for the, as Gotovina called them, “barbarian” ()https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nyXhLHDgHI civilians and troops who stained the honor of the Croatian and behaved like the JNA / Chetnik aggressors and terrorists and committed crimes and war crimes, since Storm.

        Croatia’s military justice system and civil judiciary was always preventing and prosecuting crimes and war crimes – the Great Lie is the Puhovski-Pusic-Goldstein-Terselic (and I would add, Marko Attila Hoare – who is blinded by his irrational hatred of Tudman who saved the very Bosniaks he accuses him of attacking, from physical annihilation at the hands of Milosevic, Karadzic and Mladic) red herring that “Tudman’s Croatia” somehow encouraged violations of the law or revenge crimes, when there have been 2,380 convictions, including multiple convictions for murder.

        If you are intent on ethnically cleansing and committing murder, you don’t force troops to be briefed on the Laws of Land Warfare and on

        So what remains of the charges against the Generals? The 94.5% accurate artillery fire, and of course, the Martic orders of August 4, 1995, which Serbs, rehearsing for months, obliged to the chagrin of Milosevic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsyjCBA_qIg.

        And Croatia did and will prosecute anyone who stained the nation’s honor and who stained the honor of their military or police unit by committing any crimes against anyone – Serb or otherwise, during and since the war.

        There was no case against the Generals to begin with.

        By dealing with “Krajina” Secretary and seven JCE participant Savo Strbac, the ICTY had and remains without any legitimacy. The ruling by Meron and the majority reflects on their honesty and professionalism, not on the ICTY as an institution.

        It was created under a great idea, but unfortunately hijacked behind the scenes in the typical para-intelligence diplomatic netherworld of Europe, to whitewash immoral Western European – in particular, UK and Dutch – policy making decisions, to and include the embargo on arms and their shrill diplomatic and media lobbying for Serb gains until the US forced them to stop after Markale.

        Just look at the railroading of Praljak, Prlic et. al.

        How could the Croatians have “divided Bosnia” in Karadjordjevo in April 1991 (with no standing army or diplomatic / external support to hedge) with Serb / JNA violence increasing to open genocidal aggression in August 1991, to have Izetbegovic’s emissaries sign the “Historic Agreement” with Milosevic in September 1991, to have Milosevic try and assassinate Tudman in October, and to have the JNA commit the Ravno massacre that same month due to B&H being one giant staging area / supply line for Serbian aggression through to the Dayton Agreement, with the HVO and the HVO alone (save Sarajevo, Gorazde, and Zepa) stopping the JNA / Chetnik aggressors in Capljina, Stolac, Mostar, Jablanica, Konjic, Konjica, Fojnica, Travnik, Vitez, Uskoplje, Vares, Zenica, Odzak and over 85% of what is today the Federation in the spring and summer of 1992, to have “started the war” with the Bosniaks in April 1993 in Ahmici (the massacre of Croats in the that same day and almost same exact time in a neighboring village not mentioned by the Prosecution) when Croats were being attacked across Central Bosnia starting in Senkovci, Sinokos i Donje Pecine, and Opara in Oct. 1992, with the first massacre in the Muslim-Croat civil war taking place in Dusina on Jan. 26, 1993, when the ABiH began their year and a half attempt to take all of Central Bosnia and W Herzegovina with their combined armed attacks on Jan. 26, 1993 on, starting with the attacks against the Lasva valley villages Dusina, Brdo, Visnjica i Rajici?

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  11. Defending yourself and winning a war is not a crime.
    Let’s get on with building Croatia, rather then getting taken down by Serbs. Personally I welcome as much challenge and scrutiny of the FACTS because it will reveal the truth – let’s see now who was responsible for the Krajina Serb exodus, hmmm, it was the Serb leadership itself. Who destroyed a third of Croatia and most of Bosnia, ahhh the Serbs once again. Let’s keep this going…I am sure there is an excellent case for war reparations.

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  12. Martin:

    Would you support the application of the same invented-for-the-Gotovina-and-Markac-trial-only standards / constructions by the Prosecution in the Trial Chamber for Gotovina and Markac be applied to UK, US, Australian / NATO General Officers, Defense Ministers, wartime / “conflict” engaging / overseeing governments for military operations in the past, present and future?

    It would be interesting to see Misters Jeremic, Vukcevic, Strbac, Gordy, Del Ponte Pusic, Puhovski, and of course the always vocal Nicola Duckworth of Amnesty International, put their money where their mouth is and call for the SAME EXACT “standards” set by the Trial Chamber in the original Gotovina / Markac ruling that they insist should have been upheld last Friday be applied to ALL JNA (VJ) General Staff(s), Rampart (RAM) Plan authors, Yugoslav / Serbian Supreme Defense Council members, JNA (VJ) Intelligence and Counterinetlligence heads, JNA (VJ) Operational Zone Commanders, Serbian Defense Ministers, Serbian Ministry of Interior Ministers, Generals and Operational Commanders, Milosevic cabinet members, “Army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina” General Staff members, Generals and Operational Zone Commanders, “Republic of Serbian Krajina” Defense Ministers, “Republic of Serbian Krajina” Ministry of Interior Ministers, Generals and Operational Commanders, all Babic / Martic cabinet members, “Army of Republika Srpska” General Staff members, Generals and Operational Zone Commanders, “Republika Srpska” Defense Ministers, “Republika Srpska” Ministry of Interior Ministers, Generals and Operational Commanders, and all Karadzic cabinet members 1991-1998.

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  13. “As a nationalist I will defend every Croat who killed any Serb during war whether or not they acted outside of the chain of command.”

    Contrary to the Documenta-HaHaOhhh-BaBe-SHAMnesty International narrative, that is not what Croatian forces did, and it certainly is not what Gotovina ordered, or allowed, or is encouraging people to do today.

    “People react independently of war when they witness the atrocities and the loss of loved ones. It is in human nature to seek revenge when ones physical and psychological capability has been destroyed in an atmosphere that is not normal.”

    This is precisely why Gotovina barred refugees from taking part in operations in areas of their origin, and why Croatian forces had mandatory courses on the Laws of Land Warfare and on the Geneva Conventions before Operation Storm – totally debunking the libelous hate speech and distortions of the Prosecution.

    That said, there are laws and there are laws of military conduct and they have to be strictly followed.

    Killing civilians, raping, torturing, looting and burning was and remains a Chetnik and Yugoslav past-time and should have been and should be punished with immediate execution in the field. However, the civilian and military courts functioned during the war – with 1,000 trials and 741 convictions – again demolishing the bizarre lies of the prosecution.

    Luckily the bulk of crimes against Serbs in formerly occupied territories was a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of that which they committed against Croats / non-Serbs in 1991, and 95% of them took place weeks AFTER Storm and AFTER Gotovina, Markac and their forces were in Bosnia mopping the floor with Mladic’s not-quite-human face.

    Croatia didn’t have an extra 150,000 troops to place at every piece of high ground, intersection and entry and exit point to every hamlet, village, town and city in the newly liberated territories as the fight was ongoing in W Bosnia and Croatia had to build up its forces at the borders in case of a Serbian counter-offensive – especially in eastern Slavonia, which didn’t take place thankfully.

    When the Serbs drag the region into another war, which is a matter of time, I am sure Gotovina and Markac would issue a shoot to kill order for any violators of civil / military law on the front to prevent any repeat of their ordeal since 2000 for themselves or any future commander.

    Don’t leave the enemy any room to maneuver when you don’t have to.

    “Serbs have no reason to complain about anything.”

    I agree.

    “They brought a war to the Croatian people got their asses handed to them and now they must live with their own shame and failure.”

    I agree.

    “They can continue to lie to their own people and the world all they want but the truth is much more powerful and will always be revealed.”

    The truth is Croatia – the Croatian Army and Special Police under Gotovina and Markac in particular – enforced the rule of law and did everything possible to punish and prosecute any Chetnik / JNA like behavior by any Croatian forces and or returning civilians or the carloads of criminals who swept in to try and steal stuff.

    1,000 trials and 741 convictions during and immediately after Storm, with a total of 2,380 criminals and traitors tried and sentenced to date.

    In my opinion, they should have been shot for disgracing and betraying the uniform, the State and the Nation by acting like toothless Chetnik rabble.

    War is war – people’s individual “feelings” are subordinate to the national interest, and to proper military discipline and order.

    Gotovina and Markac understood this, lived this, enforced it, and were despite the massive global propaganda and diplomatic effort against them, acquitted. Because they were and remain, unlike the spare-toothed JNA, VRSK, VRS and Chetnik primitives, professional warriors with honor and dignity ; – )

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  14. Placing all the blame on the Serbs is going to put Serbia into a situation where it will lash out.
    They already paid the price, don’t make them collect the value.

    America and NATO can’t bomb Serbia twice. If you were smart, you would aim to build better relationships with Serbia rather than try to provoke another war.

    And stop peddling the crap that the Croats suffered more than the Serbs.

    Serbs never tried to exterminate Croats the way the Ustase did to Serbs, and it wasn’t the Serbs who kicked out hundreds of thousands of Croats from the land they were living on for centuries.

    You make it look as if the Croats were poor innocent angels and the Serbs were the aggressors motivated by nothing but hate.

    It’s pathetic you believe your own b…..it.

    You don’t even pretend to be objective. You don’t even know the meaning of the word.

    Like

    • All Serbia needs to do is to examine it’s own motives and actions in her attack on Croatia in 1990’s and come to terms that what happened in 1995 was a reaction to what Serbs did before then. But then again, it seems, you and Serbia would like everyone to forget those hideous crimes against Croatian and non-Serbs in Croatia & Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatians did not kick the Serbs out of Croatia – read the facts and court rulings. But perhaps your don’t respect the rule of law as brought down by the courts in democratic countries. Ustase paid their dues from WWII but Chetniks never did – it’s time.

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      • “Ustase paid their dues from WWII but Chetniks never did – it’s time.”
        First of all, chetnics leader was sentenced to death after the WWII ended, and they were heavily prosecuted.
        Second – why are you talking about WWII now? Get over it.
        We were in war – yes. You won with the “little” help of your friends – ok. That doesn’t make your side of the story true.
        Every side had criminals – but they are not all equal in the eyes of a public, because we (Serbs) suck at propaganda. On the other hand Croats are doing a great PR work. That’s all.
        So, if you are a good christian like you claim you are – stop seeding hatred, seed Love.

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      • When it comes to WWII and mentioning it, Pedja, it’s because the Serbian side keeps rubbing it in with lies and blown out figures of victims and that must be corrected. Also the part Serbia played in the Holocaust of WWII must also be acknowledged. Chetnik leader from WWII Draza Mihailovic sentenced to death is being rehabilitated by Serbia – just imagine how the world would react if that were the case for Croatia! Oh, neither I nor any truth loving person can ever get over WWII until all crimes are dealt with, including Communist crimes, because all victims of crime must receive due respect. “We” were not in a war – the war was one of aggression and the attacked side needed to protect itself. Of course there were individual criminals on all sides and they are and must be prosecuted. You won’t hear any complaints from me when it comes to that, you’ll only hear complaints when innocent individuals are prosecuted. No hatred seeded here, just putting out the truth as response to lies. Truth must be defended especially when there are many who try to twist it. I do seed love – love for the truth and if some interpret that as hatred that’s beyond my or anyone’s control. Thank you on your comment.

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  15. “Croatians did not kick the Serbs out of Croatia – read the facts and court rulings.”
    haha, good one Ina, good one…

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    • Pedja, whichever way one reads the facts and court rulings the conclusion is still the same: No joint criminal enterprise was perpetrated by Croatians as means of forcible deportation of Serbs. For your benefit, but I still think you’ve read it but not accepted it:http://www.icty.org/sid/11145
      “The Appeals Chamber unanimously found that the Trial Chamber erred in concluding that all artillery impact sites located more than 200 metres from a target deemed legitimate served as evidence of unlawful attacks against towns in the Krajina region of Croatia. A majority of the Appeals Chamber further concluded that the Trial Chamber erred in finding that artillery attacks ordered by Mr. Gotovina and Mr. Markač were unlawful. The majority also held that the Trial Chamber erred in finding the existence of a joint criminal enterprise whose purpose was the permanent and forcible removal of Serb civilians from the Krajina region. Accordingly, the majority reversed all of Mr. Gotovina’s and Mr. Markač’s convictions. The majority also declined to enter convictions against Mr. Gotovina and Mr. Markač on the basis of alternate modes of liability. The Appeals Chamber ordered the immediate release of Mr. Gotovina and Mr. Markač.”

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      • Ok, if you say so. I won’t be bothering you anymore, it is pointless. I am not serbian nationalist, in fact one of my best friends is Croat living here in Belgrade – a great guy. All I ask of you is, for the sake of truth, not to change my post and share this link with the public:

        Pedja over and out.

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      • Pedja in accordance with comment policy posts or comments are changed even deleted if they contain personal attacks, swearing etc. Hence your Youtube link has been deleted – I believe the crimes at Dvor na Uni in 1995 (covered by your Youtube link) are currently being investigated by joint efforts of Serbia and Croatia
        http://www.tportal.hr/vijesti/svijet/232755/Hrvatska-i-Srbija-zajedno-istrazuju-zlocine-u-Dvoru-na-Uni.html#.UNxDhbbRxo4
        hence I’d rather wait and see what results that brings and truly hope the perpetrators are brought to account. Nationalists of any nationality can be great people, it’s when lies and crimes accompany their efforts that the world somehow gets to consider all nationalists bad. And not all are – being nationalist in essence means loving one’s nation. So nothing wrong with that.

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      • Francis A. says:

        “It is when lies and crimes accompany their efforts that the world somehow gets to consider all nationalists bad”. Very true, words, Ina, very true….. Tell us more about World War II :).
        Cheers

        Like

      • All in good time Francis A.

        Like

  16. Parece mentira,pero no se puede bajar los brazos.
    Exitos!

    Like

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