Croatian Vecernji list reports that compelling and credible evidence – witness statements etc – points to mass murders committed by (from September to the end of November 1991)members of rebel Serb led “territorial defence” for the self-proclaimed Serbian autonomous region Krajina (SAO Krajina) within the sovereign borders of Croatia, in Trpinja near Vukovar. It is alleged a number of Serb rebels had illegally arrested, mentally and sexually abused and killed some 14 Croatian civilians and 60 members of Croatia’s defence forces, at the time.
On Thursday 11 July a joint operation by the Osijek and Vukovar police had seen swift arrests of 12, out of 15, Croatian Serbs suspected of having participated in committing the above war crimes. Trpinja was a village of intense Serb aggression against Croatia in the early 1990’s. Court in Osijek had Saturday 13 July ruled a one month investigative remand for those arrested, thus enabling further investigations and preventing witness tampering.
All this is good! Right?
War crimes suspects must be arrested any which way! Right?
Not when it comes to Serbs – it seems. Such firm handling and justice doesn’t seem to figure in their reaction to the above arrests.
Belgrade, Serbia, based Novosti news portal wasted no time in securing and publishing statement by a joint council of ethnic Serb refugees which suggests that Croatia is, via these arrests, intimidating Serbs, driving fear into them and that the suspects should have been sent a letter of invitation for questioning in regards to these alleged war crimes!
Novosti reports that “the police arrested people in their homes, even on their farm fields, where they were working, at their places of employment and that the Trpinja residents (Serbs) were upset by the police ‘Phantom – like’ uniforms and weapons in their hands”.
“It’s a matter of intimidating the Serbs. This spectacular action by Croatian police brought fear into the village near Vukovar where Serbs live,” Novosti was told at the SDSS (Independent Democratic Serb Party) office in Vukovar, Croatia. The SDSS is led by Vojislav Stanimirovic, who was very active in the Yugoslav People’s Army during it’s brutal aggression against Vukovar in 1991).
Chairman of the Serb National Council in Croatia, Milorad Pupovac, also voiced concern last Thursday over the manner in which the arrest of the Serbs from the village of Trpinja near Vukovar was carried out, emphasising that there were elements of force and intimidation.
It certainly cannot be that both Stanimirovic and Pupovac are not aware as to how arrests by police occur in the democratic world. Raids, surprise elements, physical force are often crucial to securing arrests of suspected criminals.
And, as far as these latest arrests in Croatia of suspected war criminals are concerned it seems the Croatian police authorities might have learned a lesson from the recent past when even convicted ethnic Serb war criminals (rapists) fled Croatia (Vukovar) into Serbia, thus avoiding prison and punishment for their crimes.
As for Croatian Serb leaders Stanimirovic and Pupovac, if any one of them actually lodges a complaint about the manner of the above arrests with Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic, then the best reply to this complaint would be to send these two appalling politicians on a seminar or short workshop of demonstrations of police arrest techniques in some “Western” democratic country. No mercy there! And rightly so!
The victims of the above war crimes certainly did not get any mercy when they were arrested (without even being suspected of any crimes, but because they were Croats), raped, and murdered. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)