For the people of Dubrovnik (Croatia), Morinj is a symbol of horrendous sufferings endured by the Dubrovnik’s residents who ended up in Morinj (near Kotor, Montenegro) concentration camp. From the total of 440 Croats from Dubrovnik who suffered torture at the hands of Serb and Montenegrin camps 300 of them endured the horrors of Morinj camp; some 200 of these suffered abuse of unimaginably cruel proportions. In Morinj camp most were tortured in the most horrible and insufferable ways, many are to this day suffering chronic Post Traumatic Disorder as one of the nightmarish consequences of utterly horrific tortures and trauma.
Pobjeda news portal (Montenegro) reports that four out of six men originally indicted and now retried on charges of war crimes (against Croatian civilian population between October 1991 and August 1992) and relating to concentration camp Morinj have been convicted Wednesday 31 July to a total of 12 years imprisonment. They are Ivo Menzalin (4 years), Boro Gligic and Spiro Lucic (3 years) and Ivo Gojnic (2 years). While the defence for these four men has announced that it will appeal the judgment, the special prosecutor Lidija Vukcevic said in the Podgorica supreme court that their guilt for the war crimes had been proven beyond any doubt.
The summary of the horror story behind these horrible crimes perpetrated in Morinj concentration camp against Croats from Dubrovnik goes like this:
In 1991, as part of Serbia’s war against Croatia, Yugoslav Army units led by Montenegrin officers and full of Montenegrin reservists ravaged many of the villages in the southernmost tip of Croatian Dalmatia and shelled the historic port and World Heritage city of Dubrovnik, causing millions of euros in damage and hundreds of civilian deaths. Throughout the duration of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro remained in a federal state with Serbia until 2003.
In 1997, Montenegro expressed regret for its part in the wars and the consequent atrocities. However, the process of coming to terms with the past has been selective and superficial.
“Rat za mir” (“war for peace”), was the cynical slogan under which Montenegrin politicians backed the Yugoslav Army’s campaign in southern Croatia.
In 2004-05, the ICTY in The Hague found former Montenegrin admiral Miodrag Jokic and General Pavle Strugar guilty of war crimes and sentenced each of them to eight years’ imprisonment. Attacks on Dubrovnik’s civilians bore a special place in the verdicts.
The Morinj camp war crimes prosecution began in 1998 in Montenegro’s Podgorica city, adjourned several times and retried (with same verdicts both times) … a profile of criminal justice process akin to circumstances where denial of crimes and profound lack of will by Montenegrin authorities and politicians to get stuck into the business of delivering justice where justice must be done had littered and undermined any path for reconciliation. Whether this latest verdict will in fact contribute to some semblance of healing for the victims remains to be seen. The chances for that, though, seem very slim as a significant number of Montenegrin politicians look the other way, barely acknowledging that horrible crimes were perpetrated even though an “apology” for the same war crimes had trickled through albeit with muffled resolve some years ago. Perhaps it is due to this pathetic attitude towards crimes that the sentences received by the four men for Morinj concentration camp are so obscenely inadequate. I pray for the health of those victims whose horrific times spent in Morinj must be revisiting them right now as intensified nightmares and horrendous flashbacks – all because justice has betrayed them. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)
SERB/MONTENEGRIN ATTACK ON DUBROVNIK 1991/1992