Croatia Vs Serbia At ICJ – Serbia Dodging Responsibility For Genocide

International Court of Justice, the Hague

International Court of Justice, the Hague

In presenting Croatia’s case against Serbia at the ICJ for genocide committed in Croatia during 1990’s the Croatian legal team had detailed gruesome atrocities committed against hundreds of towns and villages in Croatia. It put forth as evidence the great multitudes brutally killed, tortured, subjected to sexual abuse, locked into concentration camps, forcefully expelled from their homes in the campaigns of ethnically cleansing non-Serbs from all areas Serbs had aggressively declared as their own even though these were within the internationally recognized sovereign borders of Croatia. The relentless rhythm of death and destruction over a relatively short period of time, orchestrated from Serbia’s capital Belgrade as the headquarters of the Yugoslav People’s Army, Serbia took over as the former Yugoslavia disintegrated amidst individual states seeking to secede (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia) became very clear in the courtroom and anyone who has had the audacity to call this lawsuit unnecessary and bound for dismissal – and there have sadly been plenty of those in the media – must have pulled back and re-examined their conscience in both human and legal terms. Or, at least, I hope they did!

Croatia’s legal team said to the court that proof of genocide was not only the actual genocide or a high number of victims and that it was enough to prove genocidal intent which, together with concrete crimes, made it the gravest crime under international law.

The extent and pattern of the crimes, the words spoken and the racist propaganda confirm beyond any doubt Serbia’s genocidal intent to destroy Croats in areas that, to Serbs’ plan, were to have become part of a Greater Serbia, the Croatian lawyers submitted.

Serbia’s legal team said that Serbs are victims of genocide in Croatia emphasising the August 1995 Operation Storm (Croatian military action to liberate Serb-occupied Croatian territory) when more than 200,000 Serbs fled Croatia. The fact that the ICTY it its acquittal of Croatian Generals, November 2012, stated that there was no forced deportation of Serbs from Croatia around the said Operation Storm did not seem to have bothered Serbia’s legal team at ICJ.  Serbia’s legal team said that the war in Croatia caused major sufferings for Serbs who, faced with the separatist ideas of the then Croatian top government, decided to set up their own national entity known as the Republic of Serb Krajina (RSK).

So Serbia’s legal team is now labeling the 94% of Croatian voting population as “separatists” because they voted for democracy, they voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia, while the Serb minority there did not!

Furthermore, Serbia’s legal team likened the July 1995 meeting of Croatia’s government and military leadership at which Operation Storm was being planned in Brioni to that of the meeting held in 1942 at which the Nazi’s delivered the decision about the destruction of the Jews!  Croatia’s legal representative Phillipe Sands had, in no uncertain terms, asked Serbia’s team to withdraw this statement at its next appearance.

The Croatian legal team has accused Serbia of falsifying evidence including the fabrication of victims carried out by Serb NGO “Veritas” – in simple words it accused Serbia of lying. No one has ever been convicted in any court for the genocide that Serbia’s legal team claim was committed against Serbs (Operation Storm) and which they say represents the worst case of genocide since WWII and yet the international criminal court ICTY had spent many years, if not a full decade, analysing and deliberating on Operation Storm only to come up with the finding that no crimes had been committed as part of Operation Storm by Croats.

Serbia’s legal team went so far as to suggest that Croatia is the state that arose from WWII Nazi-puppet state in which multitude of Serbs were killed! They went so far as to try and make the world believe that the period of 1945 to 1991 did not happen for Croatia! Sorry, Serbia’s legal team, but Croatia of today arose out of former Yugoslavia and not out of any WWII state.

Serbia’s lawyers also argued that the authorities in Belgrade (Serbia) could not be called to account for crimes committed in Croatia before the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY/Serbia + Montenegro) was established in April 1992!

Before the proclamation of the new state Belgrade was not a member of the Genocide Convention which therefore cannot apply to the crimes during the 1991 war in Croatia, Serbia’s team argued!

Well, well, well! Serbia took over the former Yugoslav Army, Serbia’s people acted on behalf of Serbia’s political aims to secure parts of Croatia where Serbs lived in relative ethnic majority … the date of the actual establishment of FRY is really not important. It’s more than clear that Serbia would now like to think of itself as the heir of former Yugoslavia in everything except the crimes it planned and committed in the name of that failing Yugoslavia!

So, it’s then as Serbia’s legal team put it: The Croatian argument of genocide, which Croatia’s team says was committed against Croats in 1991, is basically an application to the court to apply the genocide convention retroactively against the Serbian authorities, despite the fact that they didn’t sign the convention at the time.

Some will argue that a retroactive application of the convention is not allowed, but these appear to me as mere agents of Greater Serbia who would like to muddy the waters and try to convince the ICJ that 1946 – 1991 did not happen for Serbia, either!

As it happens the truth is that the former Yugoslavia (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) signed the Genocide Convention on 11 December 1948! And Serbia who insisted on keeping that Yugoslavia, mounting aggression against Croatia via the Yugoslav People’s Army, was to my view obligated in observing all international conventions former Yugoslavia was a signatory to!

Indeed at the time of the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) on 27 April 1992, a formal declaration was adopted on its behalf to the effect that
“The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, continuing the State, international legal and political personality of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, shall strictly abide by all the commitments that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia assumed internationally”!

How Serbia’s legal team can now argue in the ICJ that “all the crimes” included in Croatia’s charges “were committed before Serbia was bound by the Convention.”

It is as clear as day: Serbia has not, does not nor is it likely to admit to its crimes – unless it is made to do so through an ICJ ruling that points to its responsibility.

The Convention (on genocide) was adopted to protect human dignity and not for states to avoid responsibility, said Croatia’s counsel Phillipe Sands, a British professor.

Croatia has on Friday 21 March sought that ICJ finds Serbia guilty of genocide, that Serbia brings perpetrators of war crimes to account (especially its officers of the Yugoslav People’s Army), that Serbia hands over the details of those still missing from the war in Croatia, that Serbia returns the cultural wealth stolen from Croatia during the war, that Serbia pays for war damage caused to the sum set by the court. The Croatian legal team submitted that the ICJ judgment will have exceptional importance for Croatian people but also for peace and stability in the region and that this was an invitation to uncover the Greater Serbia ultra-nationalism for what it really is – a criminal project for the creation of Greater Serbia through theft and ethnic cleansing in Croatia and the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia has moved forward, it’s a member of the EU, it has democratic institutions and high level protection of minority rights. Serbia also wants that but it will be difficult for it to achieve this as long as it continues avoiding its responsibility,” said Vesna Crnic Grotic, leader of Croatia’s legal team at ICJ.

Indeed, this case is so very important for the region but above all, for humanity and human dignity. Dodging ones responsibility for horrendous crimes against humanity, for genocide, cannot, must not be permitted in the face of such overwhelming evidence. If ICJ fails to accept the reality and fact that Serbia was at the time the body, hands and mind of former Yugoslavia, which was a signatory to the Convention on Genocide, then the whole of humanity will indeed suffer and the future be left to legal technicalities whose only aim is to absolve the criminals of their crimes if political currents seek it.  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. “Indeed, this case is so very important for the region but above all, for humanity and human dignity. Dodging ones responsibility for horrendous crimes against humanity, for genocide, cannot, must not be permitted in the face of such overwhelming evidence.”

    I totally agree…. We are each responsible for our actions and should be accountable for them .. No one knows the scale of these horrendous crimes.. and while it can not undo what is done.. I hope it will show those who think they are tyrants now can not escape in the future for crimes against humanity…

    Blessings for all your hard work in bringing awareness
    Sue xox

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  2. Michael Silovic says:

    I think what we will find here is that the ICJ will equally blame both sides even though we know the truth is otherwise. I think there are way to much politics at this stage of the game that they will assign blame to just one side. The out come will be interesting to see. However if Serbia is found 100% guilty which they are you will hear them screaming about how they were wronged and to hell with the EU.

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    • Given Serbia’s close relations with Russia despite its apparent leaning towards a membership in the EU, the eventuality you speak of, Michael, is quite possible. But let’s hope that if the case is such, the EU can only raise its head up by not regretting a loss, which wouldn’t enhance its human profile, then

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  3. alija derzelez says:

    Cro courts have found couple of Croats guilty of war crimes that took place during the storm but it as a fact didn’t stop you from misleading your audience who are mostly fellow Croats.

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    • Sorry Alija Derzelez, no one has been convicted on Croatian side for crimes during the Operation Storm, which Serbia in ICJ claims was genocide against Serbs. I wish you would read the post carefully and not think yourself as “God” who knows who most readers of this blog are; you are completely wrong on all your points and your comment only evidences the nasty people who write rash and stupid comments, but which we sometimes need to tolerate in the hope of achieving an acceptance of truth. The fact that some Croat individuals have been found guilty of war crimes in Croatia only evidences a positive progress in justice for the victims.

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    • therealamericro says:

      Alija:

      The fact that Croatian courts prosecuted any and all violations of the law, Geneva Conventions, and the Law of Land Warfare means that, contrary to Serbia which NEVER prosecuted anyone for any crimes against Croats until AFTER Milosevic was ousted (even then it has been entirely low-level morons who were simply following the orders of their superiors – all of whom recieved the genocidal Rampart Plan orders issued in September 1991) means that Croatia during the war, contrary to Serbia and B&H (specifically, the so-called ABiH military tribunals who did nothing to prevent or prosecute the top down, bottom up war crimes and ethnic cleansing of Croats between June 1992 and June 1995) had a functioning legal and military legal system while Serbia and B&H (specifically, Serbian areas of B&H and Muslim/Bosniak controlled areas) did not.

      Ina: in terms of the sham NGO misnamed “Veritas” (which means truth – while the sham NGO “Veritas” perverts, subverts and rapes the truth), it was formed in ethnically purified of non-Serb Knin in 1993, at the behest of Slobodan Milosevic and with direct funding from his government and his party, SPS, by the then “Krajina” Secretary Savo Strbac, the Milosevic, Martic, Babic, Hadzic, Stanisic, Simatovic, Mrksic and Perisic Joint Criminal Enterprise participant.

      Enough said.

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      • Thanks, therealamericro, for comment re “Veritas” – indeed it will help readers who may not be aware of its character to understand better. Time to open it wide and blast it out of existence with truth about it and hopefully this will be done at the ICJ

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    • Wilkinson says:

      A chip on your shoulder, Alija Derzelez, or is it just that you do not like seeing Croats succeed in anything they do? Read the article man, don’t bring in stuff on the side and check for yourself elsewhere – plenty written about it. I’m not Croat myself nor are any people I know who follow this blog and there are quite a few -because it is always to the point – so there!

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      • Thank you for your support Wilkinson, persons who assume so much and who like to stray will always exist and I hope that they will learn to stick to the points at hand rather than ramble on and on

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      • alija derzelez says:

        Wilkinson,I guess your one of those people who will find,learn about the truth from Serbs,well just stay tuned and watch.

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      • Wilkinson says:

        It would be about time that Serbs started to tell the truth Alija Derzelez, because judging by your comment “stay tuned and watch” they have not done so yet. Certainly I am happy to get the truth from all sources and do not discriminate. I have yet to see how any truth could justify the shocking things Serbs did and please do not tell me about things Croats did – Croats had to defend themselves from Serb aggression and that is that.

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      • alija derzelez says:

        Wilkinson,are you sure you are not a Croat,for some reason you don’t want to hear the truth,you are not interested in it.

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      • Wilkinson says:

        Alija Derzelez, I truly don’t know what you’re talking about – it was you who commented here “learn about the truth from Serbs, well just stay tuned and watch” – so I’m tuned and watching because I am interested in truth no matter where it comes from as long as it is the truth…I’m sure I’m not a Croat and I’m pretty sure you’re not one, either.

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    • therealamericro says:

      General Branimir Glavas was framed and convicted in a political show trial by the treasonous and now convicted grafting theif Ivo Sanader.

      Glavas was a threat to Sanader’s foreign handlers as he was always pushing national interests, so they used the testimony of an admitted liar, perjuror and murderer for the Kafkaesque “case” against him.

      Glavas was as “guilty” as the Croatian Spring participants.

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      • alija derzelez says:

        Wilkinson ,you are absolutely right,I’m Bosniak who fought the war on Cro side so I have better knowledge of it then you or Cro diaspora living in Australia.I would rather have you and rest of the world to learn the truth from me or any Croat then Serbs.Now why do you think Gotovina/Markac have wasted couple of years of there lives in Haage.

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      • Alija Derzelez – or whoever you are – start your own blog or another way of putting out the truth as you know it

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  4. Superb update, thank you!

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  5. A lot to think about in this article. One thing that is very rare is a country making it a point to protect people within its borders who are members of a warring or belligerent group–and yet are innocent civilians. Although I’m often critical of my government’s actions, I am mostly proud of the citizens of my country, the US. We don’t tolerate Muslims or Arabs being harassed, for instance. If someone acts like a jerk towards one of them, there are an overwhelming number who will stand up for them.

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    • Yes, Donald, standing up for minority rights is the ultimate human endeavour within a democracy but if any of such minorities went on to forcefully section off a part of US sovereign territory and declare it their state, separated from the US, then I would think the people of US would defend the integrity of the US territory with determination.

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      • Just to jog your memory, my friend, we did that once. It was a bloody mess.
        Still, it would be absolutely important, as you say, to protect those who are related in some way to the secessionists from being bullied.
        Easy for me to say, but not easily done. I hear that during WWII, the Dutch citizens wore yellow stars to keep the Jews from being singled out. (We do have our moments.)

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      • Always bloody, such things are but important to keep the perspective and important to remember that in WWII there were many who helped Jews survive at the risk of their own peril.

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  6. Well said. The Croatia’s case has always been strong, but the SDP / Milanovic /Pusic influence on the case troubles me greatly. They have more to lose if Croatia wins than to gain. Milanovic and Pusic are a blight on Croatia…they are ashamed of being Croats and of Croatia being a sovereign state.

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    • Sunman, these politicians are like those who out of their Yugonostalgia never put themselves forward to defend the innocence of the Croatian Generals at the ICTY, who were after so many years acquitted of war crimes…those associated with them had also no problems in spreading lies. But justice, I pray, is stronger than the misguided and dishonest words of these people …

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    • therealamericro says:

      Serbia’s shadow foreign minister, Vesna Pusic, is a pox on Croatia, as is her brother.

      Milanovic is a mere simpleton with “former” UDBa handlers.

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  7. Comparing the Croatian Govt meeting with that 1942 Nazi meeting is outrageous and abhorrent!

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  8. Such lovely, brotherly neighbours we have…

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    • 😦

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      • This is why I cannot take anyone seriously who tells me “can’t we stop all the hate and just get along like back in the day?”. How can people be so blind and naive? Of course, I’d love for some sort of resolution to move, I’d love for people to move on from the social, political and economic problems, but how can anyone move on when Serbia continues to avoid responsibility? How can anyone move on when they continually skew the narrative and to this day, they haven’t condemned the Greater Serbia policy? How can we move on when our own government aids in the manipulation of truth and sabotages progress towards freedom and prosperity for Croatia?

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      • Well said Kat, to boot herein lies the fact that Tito’s “brotherhood and unity” never did nor could it have worked because there was one “brother” (Serbia) who wanted to rule or impose itself as above others.

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  9. fabianalvareza says:

    Reblogged this on Fabián.

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  10. Not even a mention of the names Gotovina or Markac? I understand that you are a proud Croatian, Ina, however you fail to make an effort at telling this story as seen by those not from Croatia…very disappointing.

    It is fine for you to claim Serbia is dodging responsibility for genocide, however do not forget that Croatia has its own skeletons and is engaging in the same sort of behavior. In fact, Gotovina and Markac were welcomed back to Zagreb as heroes…not as war criminals which The Hague found them to be.

    Continuing to espouse the same dangerous talking points that caused the conflict will not contribute to reconcilliation.

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    • Travis, it is very, very sad that people like you actually exist and have the gall to promote lies – you must have eother slept through 16 November 2012 when the Hague Appeal Chamber acquitted Gotovina and Markac of all guilt on charges or you have decided to make it your business to spread lies – not here, thank you!

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      • People like me? Academics? I stumbled upon this blog in the midst of dissertation research and felt the need to participate in the discussion. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that you or your loyal followers are interested in a discourse on these subjects.

        And nothing I said was a lie–Gotovina and Markac were both convicted at the Hague. The controversial 3-2 vote (wouldn’t only a 5-0 vote really absolve them of guilt?) that overturned their convictions has been criticized as politically motivated. The dissenting opinions from the Hague judges also failed to identify any specific error in the original case that could justify the acquittal.

        This blog seems to serve only the purpose of furthering the ethnic vitriol and propaganda that tore apart Yugoslavia and caused such great suffering during the war. As someone who invests not only my personal, but professional time in finding solutions for the Balkans, I hope that you see the error of your ways and look to help build bridges between Serbia and Croatia. Because, after all, there is no group in Europe with closer ethnic ties than Serbs and Croats.

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      • Well, Travis, you do not seem to accept court judgments even though laws require us to etc, to only mention one. As an Academic you can speculate and argue as to dissenting opinions of judges as much as you want but you cannot give those opinions the weight of truth regarding someones guilt or innocence because that truth we are to uphold is only the one that comes from majority vote among judges. You seem to have forgotten that the war started because 94% of voters in Croatia wanted to secede from communist Yugoslavia and the 6% remaining either were against secession from Yugoslavia or abstained from voting! Bridges cannot be built on lies or half-truths and denials, regardless of any ethnic ties that existed or may exist. But I strongly believe that your motive in not accepting the actual acquittal of Croatian Generals in the Hague and perpetuating the fact that there were judges who expressed dissent is only to keep the political unrest nonacceptance continue, you should actually be saying to Serbia: accept the verdict and move on – but then if that is not one of your points in your finding a solution for the Balkans you will never find one that will have lasting or meaningful reconciliation simply because it is in human nature that every victim, no matter who, seeks satisfaction or justice before they can move on… You’re an Academic? Congratulations! The fact that you entertain with more weight the minority judge decision rather than majority judge one from the Hague is a strong indication to me as to where your “academic” input might fly – to me, I acknowledge minority decision but accept the majority one as the one that is to define the path of justice.

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    • alija derzelez says:

      INA,I Will take your comment as a compliment,at least you didn’t call me Juda or even worse a Udbas,Tito loving.

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      • Sorry Alija Derzelez, I have never shied away from the truth no matter who gives it, but the fact that your “name” comes accompanied by the same email addresses used with other “names” in the past on this blog to try and pretend to be different people actually puts me off and justifiably beings suspicion as to what can come out of such sources. But. never mind, I have suggested that people start their own blogs or portals etc if they believe in truth. and spreading of it as well as quashing lies.

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    • therealamericro says:

      Travis:

      Interesting you mention skeletons in the closet regarding Markac and Gotovina.

      One skeleton that comes to mind is UN complicity and collaboration with RSK (which was violently ethnically cleansed of 99.5 percent of its pre-war non-Serb population, who the RSK barred from returning) the duration of the war (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tLLkDOk56U).

      Another skeleton is the fact that pre-war UDBa operative, illegal Croatian Serb paramilitary arming campaign participant (1988-1995), one-time “Krajina” Information (Propaganda) Minister and wartime “Krajina” Secretary as well as Martic, Babic, Milosevic, Hadzic, Mrksic, Perisic, Stanisic and Simatovic Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) particpant Savo Strbac formed the sham NGO “Veritas” following orders from Milosevic and with funding from Milosevic’s party, SPS, and the Serbian wartime government in ethnically purified of non-Serb Knin in 1993. Strbac and Veritas worked closely with the ICTY from “Veritas”s foundation and its “research” and “evidence” was the catalyst for the indictment, and for all intents and purposes, the propaganda provided for the ICTY, as well as legal arguments, were foamed at the mouth by Strbac openly in the media long before any indictment was ever written. Strbac and Veritas were awarded by the ICTY for their “work.” You don’t find it a conflict of interest that the ICTY was working with, awarding and more or less building an entire case off of the “research” and “facts” and legal arguments and suggested provided by the unindicted war criminal and unapologetic greater Serbian fanatic and die hard Milosevic apologist Savo Strbac?

      Another skeleton that comes to mind is Strbac’s own words, in the following linked video with English subtitles, on August 7, 1995 on RSTV in Banja Luka, where he clearly states that the Serbian exodus was a self-exodus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSRXAYeSo3M). Also verified by Milosevic at the August 15, 1995 Supreme Defense Council meeting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsyjCBA_qIg), and the documented (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_hJcjIYSBg) exodus preparations that preceded Operation Storm (which the “impartial” UN were telling Martic was going to happen some time in August).

      Another skeleton that comes to mind is the fact that of the 49 deaths (down from the famous “up to 20,000 killed in Knin” posited by the discredited liar and perjurer Gen. Andrew Leslie – who moonlighted as a speaker for Serbian ultra-nationalist diaspora events across Canada – who was forced into early retirement for being a lying integrity violator and disgrace to the Canadian military: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv75JppT7L0), 29 were solved and the perpetrators punished, meaning that the Croatian civilian military judiciary functioned.

      Another skeleton that comes to mind is that Gotovina, Markac and Cermak took all reasonable measures to prevent – as all Croatian forces were drilled constantly on the Geneva Convention and Laws of Land Warfare – and or prosecute any and all crimes or war crimes by any uniformed personnel, and that the Croatian judiciary functioned. Meanwhile the JNA, VRSK and RSK did not charge a single Serbian civilian, soldier or policeman for any crimes against Croats or non-Serbs during the war.

      Another skeleton that comes to mind is that the prosecution’s own evidence demonstrated that Croatian forces fired with a 94.5 percent accuracy rate, exceeding the then best-case-scenario of 92 percent as an average for NATO militaries – even though Croatia was using mostly outdated Warsaw Pact mortars, artillery and rocket systems. Another skeleton is the absence of said “standard” being applied to US, UK and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya – if it was valid, why not apply it to everyone, all NATO members and of course all Serbian forces and commanders from the 1990s?

      Another skeleton is that no VRSK, VRS or YPA officer was ever charged with “excessive and indiscriminate shelling” of Vukovar or any other Croatian town, by the ICTY or any VRSK, VRS, RSK, RS, YPA, or Serbian court.

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    • therealamericro says:

      Travis:

      As an academic you are aware that your appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, aren’t you?

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  11. What bothers me Ina is that Croatian dailies including TV, are not reporting daily news from Hague court more than 1 line or 2 if we are lucky. Some days there is absolutely nothing. Do you think Croatian Government has something to do with that?

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  12. therealamericro says:

    Travis, I am a loyal reader and I welcome all discourse. As an American, I, unlike my post-Constitutional government, am a firm believer in the 1st Amendment.

    In terms of the Gotovina & Markac appeal victory, it is not the first time there have been dissenting votes in the appeals chamber. Luka Misetic wrote about the dissenting votes, their arguments, and the academics that supported those arguments: http://miseticlaw.blogspot.com/. I highly encourage you to read his blog.

    There have been dissenting voices, the most vocal, the Marko Milanovic: http://www.ejiltalk.org/the-gotovina-omnishambles/. If my memory serves me correctly, I gave quite a lengthy and detailed response to his, in my view, flawed arguments. My posts are mysteriously not there. Hmmmmm. Might have been another ejiltalk post on Gotovina…..

    Another of course is Eric Gordy, and Mr. Misetic responded to him here (Misetic provides his main arguments and refutes them point for point: https://croatiabusinessreport.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/eric-gordys-straw-men/).

    Also, military law experts praised the ruling: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1994414.

    You state that some alleged political motivations – I would argue that the indictments themselves were politically motivated as is the ICTY, by certain circles within the UN, as well as Western diplomacy, who all but cheerleaded for Milosevic the duration of the war, to equate and spread guilt for Serbia’s wars whose genocidal conduct was outlined in the Rampart (RAM) Plan thereby absolving their own actions and more important, inaction.

    QUOTE:This blog seems to serve only the purpose of furthering the ethnic vitriol and propaganda that tore apart Yugoslavia and caused such great suffering during the war. ENDQUOTE

    This blog writes about ongoing issues – and also has great cultural commentary and travel pieces. The ICJ is an ongoing case, so it is no surprise that Ina is writing about the issues at hand at the ICJ case. Could you provide one single example of a) Vitriol or b) Propaganda anywhere in any of Ina’s pieces?

    Thanks in advance.

    QUOTE: As someone who invests not only my personal, but professional time in finding solutions for the Balkans, I hope that you see the error of your ways and look to help build bridges between Serbia and Croatia. Because, after all, there is no group in Europe with closer ethnic ties than Serbs and Croats. ENDQUOTE

    Thank you for your concern. Croatia, fortunately, is slowly de-Balkanizing mentally, though it will take the much needed lustration laws to finally break with the backwards, inherently corrupt Yugoslav Communist mentality that robbed Croatia and Croats blind for 45 years, and which has been eating away at Croatia like a noxious, virulent tumor since independence, with unrepentant Titoists in all sectors of Croatia’s political, academic, media and business life.

    However with NATO and EU entry, and new faces and political forces on Croatia’s political scene, the future is looking better and better.

    Serbia refuses to admit any culpability, accept that its state-expanding ideologies were (http://www.hic.hr/books/greatserbia/) and remain state policy, if you pay attention to Nikolic’s remarks today on how Kosovo will be part of Serbia within 100 years.

    The SNS victory in Serbia only drove the wedge between Croats and Serbs even further. The voting Serbian majority and Serbian politicians have an ability to destroy bridges with Croatia.

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    • Thank you on this commentary, therealamericro. Much appreciated as I am aware that that there are those in the world who cannot accept the truth without a “fight” because it comes against the grain of their beliefs and those beliefs are often a product of falsehoods served as truths and there were many of those pointed against Croatia by the communist regime.

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    • alija derzelez says:

      Therealamericro,Can you tell me what,which part of the article you find to be the truth… PART DELETED AS INAPPROPRIATE

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      • Just a note Alija Derzelez – part of your comment has been deleted because of the claims you make regarding your involvement with the battles as veteran. that you know the whole truth etc and yet the readers of this blog have now way of verifying that information – veteran registers in Croatia are public and if someone on this blog states that they are a veteran and because of that they know the truth, then they need to identify who they are so that the public, if they wish, can verify

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      • alija derzelez says:

        Well no,members,names of those who happened to serve in special forces is classified,units like Pume,Crne Mambe etc,etc.Anyways you and your readers can try Alija Derzelez.Now can you answer the question.

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      • Verifying your credibility by searching for Alija Derzelez on the net is like stabbing in the dark among characters of legendary Turkish hero from 15th + centuries, through 1920’s Ivo Andric short stories, to folk tales of Bosnia, computer games and music world … Hm, perhaps a reincarnation of the legendary 15/16th century hero had occurred in the 1990’s and no one noticed but the person claiming his name… your question has been answered and time for ridicule well and truly cut off

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    • therealamericro,

      I don’t doubt you are a loyal reader–your pseudonym tips your hand a bit.

      However, the point I was making also seems to have escaped you…Serbia AND Croatia are both responsible for the same crime. Trying to make one side out to be worse than the other does not contribute to a solution. I am not new to the Balkans, so don’t think these things are lost on me–nor am I interested in a point by point debate on the amount of deaths in Knin or who killed more of each other. That sort of discourse does nothing to further reconciliation.

      As someone of neither Serb or Croatian descent it is easy for me to view the conflict as neutral–my initial interest in the region years ago stemmed from US intervention. Thus, as a student of American foreign policy the decision to arm as well as train Croatian troops is of particular interest. Again, studying as someone without a rooting interest the shelling of Knin and subsequent flight of the Serbs following Operation Storm is troubling as the US can be linked directly to that offensive. It is also easy for me to understand the reasoning of the Serbs in Croatia not wanting to live in a Croatian state–the ghosts of Jasenovac, Budak, and Pavelic do not die so quickly. Nor did the actions of Franjo Tudjman. Want proof of ethnic vitriol? The men quoted on the left side of the screen are Tudjman, Gotovina, and Markac. If a website had Milosevic, Kostunica, and Karadizic quoted, would that not puzzle you?

      There is no denying the brutality of the Serbs in Vukovar, or the tenacity and terror with which Arkan’s Tigers terrorized many innocent Croats and Muslims–however, one cannot ignore the reciprocal treatment of the Serbs. To ignore it does an injustice to the deaths of all involved in a complex conflict. The rise of anti-Serb and fascist ideology in modern-Croatia is also a point of concern. The behavior of Croatian fans at football matches around Europe has caught the attention of football’s governing bodies, and I am sure you are aware of Simunic’s fate.

      Once again, I am just an outside observer. My university has an exchange program in Zadar, which I will be attending next year, I am in my 2nd year of BCS (Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian) language studies and I don’t have any ill feeling towards Croatia, or Croats. I just can’t stand seeing the ideologies that caused such a mess continue to be espoused. I am for healing the relationship between Serbia and Croatia but that will only happen if both sides shoulder their share of the blame.

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      • I’ll bud in here, it seems to me Travis that you fail to distinguish between the blanket policies of Serbs and Croats at the time: the former was attack and kill and destroy and the latter was defend and regain the territory stolen through ethnic cleansing etc… and so while any crime committed as a frenzy in defense that was not a part of Croat policy but deeds of individuals who had strayed from policy or orders etc and these must be called to account … so you seem to forget that, perhaps for a reason? I just wonder since you live in the US: do you blame all Americans for what was done to Native Indians, as you seem to blame all Croats for what was done in Jasenovac etc? Hm, somehow I don’t think so just like all other nations that engaged in colonisation and imperialism with brutal past do not blame all their people of today for what their forefathers did in the past?

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      • Ina, that’s a very subjective view of the matter. Entirely understandable given your ethnic affiliation, but my conclusions are different.

        There is no distinction between the events in terms of a moral high ground. Certainly the Serb offensives in the Krajina and other parts of Slavonia were aggressive and included a policy of ethnic cleansing–although the forced migration variety, not atavistic killing. Although the killing that did take place would fit into your description of “individuals who had strayed from policy or orders etc”. The Croatian offensives backed by the US were also aggressive and included a policy of ethnic cleansing through forced migration. Call them “defensive or regaining territory” but they included the killing of both Serb military personnel as well as civilians.

        While off topic:

        Of course I condemn the US government of the late 1800’s for their policies toward the Native Americans. I never blamed “all Croats for what was done at Jasenovac”, and that assertion is egregious. I stated that I understood the opposition of the Croatian Serbs to falling under the authority of a Croatian state given the historical context. Nothing more, nothing less. Now, can you condemn those who committed crimes in the name of the modern Croatian state?

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      • The only understanding of Serbs’ pushing the banner of historical context, Travis, is to condone it as relevant to 1990’s crimes – and they are not! And sorry to rain on your parade: the Operation storm cannot be considered as an offensive because it was a military action to liberate territory from occupation and one could not liberate Krajina without military intervention – it was Croatian army liberating Croatian territory, not Serbia’s territory. I condemn all individuals who committed crimes regardless of ethnicity, and I have repeatedly said that in many articles… I suggest you revisit the policies or strategies used by Serbs at the time. To history, why mention Jasenovac in this context at all? There were Croats who perished there too but this details seems to elude many…purposefully I believe. And it’s a funny thing that when it comes to the Holocaust, Serbia is still getting off “Scott-free” and yet it’s Nedic led government collaborated with the Nazi’s to that effect that it helped liquidate 94% of Serbia’s Jews by May 1942, being one of the first countries of the region to declare itself “Judenfrei” “Jew-free” – ah yes, many will say: it was the Germans who did it! Taking responsibility for criminal acts comes hard to Serbia, indeed – and this has nothing to do with “ethnic affiliations” I might have. Ethnicity does not blur my vision or reason and I hope it doesn’t do that to you at the end of the day, either.

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      • therealamericro says:

        QUOTE: I don’t doubt you are a loyal reader–your pseudonym tips your hand a bit. ENDQUOTE

        So there is something wrong with being proud of one’s heritage?

        QUOTE: However, the point I was making also seems to have escaped you…Serbia AND Croatia are both responsible for the same crime.ENDQUOTE

        No they are not. Croatians did not elect the Ustasha regime in WWII, it was imposed. Croatia today is not the legal successor to NDH, it is the legal successor to SRH – hopefully that will be taken out of the Constitution when a new government comes to power as the Communist state committed genocide against Croats after the war, as the Croatian state long preceded both NDH and SRH.

        Both NDH and SRH were unelected, imposed regimes.

        There was no genocide by Croatia in the Homeland War. There was, however, a genocide of Croats in Croatia by Serbia and its Quislings, and of Croats and Bosniaks in B&H by Serbia and its Quislings in the 1990s.

        Attrocities happen in every war. American and British forces both committed attrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        That does not equate to genocide, which is defined as:

        In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

        Article 2
        (a) Killing members of the group;
        (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
        (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
        (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
        (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

        Article 3:

        (a) Genocide;
        (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
        (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
        (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
        (e) Complicity in genocide.

        and evidenced by scale and planning.

        The YPA General Staff wrote and disseminated the Rampart (RAM) Plan to all subordinate YPA (and proxy force – VRSK, VRS, Red Berets, Serbian Guard, etc.) which explicity outlined the targeting of civilians as a means to demoralize the enemy.

        No such order, which in itself is a written intent and military ORDER to commit genocide and attrocities, was issued by the Croatian Army, Croatian Defence Council, or Army of B&H to all forces ordering them to do the same as a military strategy.

        In the terms of HV and HVO forces, no criminal orders whatsoever were given the duration of the conflict.

        And the Croatian Army and Croatian Defense Council military judiciaries and Republic of Croatia and HZHB/HRHB civil courts investigated, tried and punished those who broke the uniform code of military justice, Geneva Conventions, and Laws on Land Warfare. During and immediately after Operation Storm, over 1,000 court martials and or civilian trials took place in Croatia, with 741 convictions of Croats – soldiers and civilians.

        For the entire duration of the existence of RSK, and in Serbia, until Milosevic’s foreign-sponsored removal from power by the CIA-controlled General Perisic and Jovica Stanisic, there was not a single investigation, let alone prosecution and conviction, of a single Serbian soldier, let alone officer or senior officer or commander, for any crimes against non-Serbs – not one.

        These facts alone show who’s intent was criminal and whose was not.

        There was no criminal conspiracy by Croatia’s government, electorate, intelligence services, or military commanders or members in Croatia against Serbs – the same goes for the Croatian Defense Council in B&H as HZHB took in over 320,000 Bosniak refugees, sheltered them, fed them, clothed them, and trained and armed their men – you don’t take in, feed, clothe and shelter the people you were / are allegedly “conspiring” against, and you definitely do not arm and train their men if that is the case.

        QUOTE: Trying to make one side out to be worse than the other does not contribute to a solution.”

        Sticking to the chronological order of political events, facts, evidence (http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/09/world/cia-report-on-bosnia-blames-serbs-for-90-of-the-war-crimes.html) and applying common sense, logic and reason is not trying to make one side out to be worse than the other.

        Trying to equate guilt does not provide a solution to anything, it prevents a catharsis in Serbia, and by doing so, it prevents truth and reconciliation from finally taking place, and allows the seeds of irrational, imperialist hate to sprout in the future.

        QUOTE: I am not new to the Balkans, so don’t think these things are lost on me–nor am I interested in a point by point debate on the amount of deaths in Knin or who killed more of each other. That sort of discourse does nothing to further reconciliation. ENDQUOTE

        Again you appeal to your own authority, however the weakness of your argument is that avoiding a) Scale b) Planning c) Chronological order of events d) The evidence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSRXAYeSo3M), you inadvertently admit that you don’t want to have a real debate but rather would like to repeat discredited cliches and engage in guilt equivocation.

        One single armed paramilitary was killed in what the discredited and forcibly retired perjuror General Andrew Leslie called the “firebombing of Knin.” You argument is that Serbia and Croatia, and their military forces, behaved the same way and therefore are equally guilty and the same however the 94.5 percent accurate fire missions (mortar, artillery, rocket, tank) within the newly invented “standard” called the “200 meter rule” (and this was according to the prosecution’s own evidence), that was never applied to any YPA, VRSK, or VRS operational commander, is far different from the indiscriminate carpet bombing, rocketing, shelling, mortaring and sniping that the YPA, VRSK, and VRS forces took part in August 1991-November 1995 in Croatia and B&H.

        And there is a big difference between Croats and non-Serbs being ethnically cleansed at gunpoint and leaving their apartments, homes and hearths with the clothes on their backs, that is if they were not killed or raped or sent to the myriad of prison camps across set up by YPA Counterintelligence across occupied areas of Croatia, B&H and in Vojvodina and Serbia and tortured, raped (men included), and forced to sign sham confessions, and Serbs listening to the orders of their war criminal leadership (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSRXAYeSo3M) and fleeing with all of their possessions on pre-planned, pre-rehearsed evacuation routes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_hJcjIYSBg).

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  13. therealamericro says:

    – Alija:

    Every single sentence.

    ; – )

    Like

  14. therealamericro says:

    QUOTE: There is no distinction between the events in terms of a moral high ground. ENDQUOTE

    Yes there is.

    Serbia’s aggression was planned long prior to the war. When Serbia’s arming Serbian ultra-nationalists and then sending in the Serbianized YPA to “separate the warring parties” turned brutally violent, in August 1991 the YPA General Staff wrote and issued the Rampart (RAM) Plan order to all civilians explicitly ordering the targeting of civlians to “demoralize the enemy.” No such order was ever issued by any Croatian commanders, local or otherwise, and much less the Croatian Army’s General Staff.

    QUOTE: Certainly the Serb offensives in the Krajina and other parts of Slavonia were aggressive and included a policy of ethnic cleansing–although the forced migration variety, not atavistic killing. ENDQUOTE

    So the unselective deaths of 10,000 civilians (7,000 in 1991), including over 300 children; the maiming of 30,000 civilians (25,000 in 1991), and the August 3, 1991 to November 1, 1995 indiscriminate mortaring, shelling, rocketing, and sniping of any and all Croatian civilian areas – to and include hospitals which, in Vukovar’s case, was demolished – with every other frontline hospital either demolished and or severely damaged in 1991 by YPA and VRSK, and all areas within VRSK / YPA range isn’t atavistic killing?

    What about the massacres, with execution-style gunpoint killings, ritual slaughtering, and in the case of Skabrinja and Lovas, chainsaw murders of Croats in: Ćelije, Kuljani, Zamoča, Kozibrod, Struga, Dalj, Petrinja Banovina, Vukovar, Medak pocket, Gospic’s surrounding areas, Šibenik hinterlands, villages surrounding Pakrac, Erdut, Vaganac, Lovas, Siroka Kula, Novo Selo, Glinsko, Bukovac, Baćin, Saborsko, Ovcara, Nadin, Gornja Jama, Voćin, and Joševici?

    What about the 1992 artillery bombing of the Slavonski Brod grade school that killed 13 children and maimed another two dozen for life?

    What about the leveling of not just Vukovar, but every single frontline Croatian village and the wholesale looting, torching and outright demolishing of every Croatian and non-Serb village in the RSK?

    What about the RSK passing a law BANNING any non-Serb refugee returns, and the RSK leadership refusing ALL peace negotiations and deals that mandated all refugees return to their pre-war homes (the reason they shot down Z-4)?

    Ignoring all of this, and the fact that the RSK leadership and people were rehearsing a mass evacuation into RS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_hJcjIYSBg), and the “Krajina” leadership ordered the evacuation (here with English subtitles – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSRXAYeSo3M – fyi “Krajina” Secretary Savo Strbac was working with the ICTY since 1993, placing the ICTY in a massive conflict of interest), while insisting on the equal “guilt” of political and military leadership in Croatia and Serbia, is at best intellectual dishonesty from you.

    QUOTE: Although the killing that did take place would fit into your description of “individuals who had strayed from policy or orders etc”. ENDQUOTE

    Very interesting choice of words, and suppression of evidence. The most important being a) There was no Croatian political or military equivalent to the genocidal Rampart (RAM) Plan that Belgrade drafted and issued to all subordinate commanders who, along with their own subordinates, gleefully carried out the duration of Serbia’s aggression b) That Croatian civilian and military authorities investigated and punished – with Croatia still investigating and punishing – any and all crimes or war crimes by any Croats, soldiers, police or civilian c) There was not a single investigation, let alone prosecution, of ANY Serbs – soldier, civilian, let alone officer or senior officer – for the systematic, pre-planned (RAM Plan) genocidal crimes committed against Croats and non-Serbs in Croatia and Bosniaks, Croats and non-Serbs in B&H.

    Just look at Serbia’s show trials regarding Ovcara and the myriad of brutal detention centers across occupied Croatia, occupied Bosnia Herzegovina, and Vojovodina and Serbia.

    QUOTE: The Croatian offensives backed by the US were also aggressive and included a policy of ethnic cleansing through forced migration. ENDQUOTE

    US backing was limited at best, and there was no policy of ethnic cleansing nor forced migration, here are the words of ICTY darling Savo Strbac, with English subtitles, yet again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSRXAYeSo3M. You can’t forcibly migrate or ethnically cleanse a population that left on pre-planned, pre-rehearsed routes under the orders of their own (war criminal) leadership – this is something Milosevic lamented at the August 15, 1995 Supreme Defense Council Meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsyjCBA_qIg.

    QUOTE: Call them “defensive or regaining territory” but they included the killing of both Serb military personnel as well as civilians. ENDQUOTE

    Military personnel die in war. Serbia’s aggression was long pre-planned and part of Serbian state policy since 1844 (http://www.hic.hr/books/greatserbia/). While 49 civilians did die in Oluja and its aftermath (this is the ICTY figure, not “Croatian Ustasha diaspora propaganda”), the Croatian judiciary functioned and 29 of those deaths were solved and the perpetrators punished during and immediately after Operation Storm. If the military and civil judiciary investigated those crimes and punished those crimes they found enough leads and evidence to punish, that means that the military and civil judiciary functioned and the intent was lawful and legal and not like the YPA, VRSK and VRS intent which was proven by a) The genocidal Rampart (RAM) Plan b) The absence of ANY investigation, let alone prosecution of anyone for any crime or war crime by any Serb forces or civilians in Croatia or B&H until after Milosevic was removed from power by the two war criminals who approached the CIA in the early 1990s to save their own skin and get immunity by feeding the US misinformation during the war and then saving their own skin by taking part in the overthrow of Milosevic.

    QUOTE: While off topic: Of course I condemn the US government of the late 1800′s for their policies toward the Native Americans. I never blamed “all Croats for what was done at Jasenovac”, and that assertion is egregious. I stated that I understood the opposition of the Croatian Serbs to falling under the authority of a Croatian state given the historical context. ENDQUOTE

    The problem is that not all Serbs supported the atavistic killing and gunpoint ethnic cleansing of their non-Serb neighbors in Croatia. While the systematic propaganda by the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, Serbian media, Serbian politicians, and Serbian Orthodox Church from 1986 on mobilized many Croatian Serbs, it was limited to particular geographic areas. Most Croatian Serbs in Zagreb and Rijeka, were not affected by it. In fact, five percent of Croatian military forces were Serbian the duration of the war. So to say that all Croatian Serbs had the same irrational fears do to the inculcation of neurotic and psychotic symptoms as a wartime Serbian strategy would be again, intellectual dishonesty at best.

    Also, ignoring the very real historical grievances and in the case of Milosevic’s rise, the systematic violation of the SFRJ constitution, the “meetings of truth,” the “spontaneous happenings of the endangered Serbian people,” the illegal arming of Serbs in Croatia by Serbian intelligence and Yugoslav People’s Army counterintelligence that started a year before any non-Communist political parties even formed in Croatia, the State-Church-Media-Academia inculcation of neurotic and psychotic syndromes as a pre-war and wartime strategy of Serbia – is also intellectual dishonesty at its best.

    QUOTE: Nothing more, nothing less. Now, can you condemn those who committed crimes in the name of the modern Croatian state? ENDQUOTE

    I did, I do, and will continue to do so. But thereRenaud de la Brosse is no comparison between Croatia’s lawful defensive war effort and Serbia’s pre-planned (RAM Plan) genocidal aggression.

    There never was and there never will be.

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  15. Once again, my head is spinning from your account. Heartbreaking is the only word tipping my tongue at the moment – not simply for the atrocities and injustice but for the callousness and disregard of our world as a whole. None of this plays out on news media – in North America it’s as if it never happened. Canadian soldiers under the umbrella of “peace keeping mission” struggle with deep psychological wounds – as a Canadian I can tell you – the horror of these events was swept under the carpet, a subject rarely discussed. Thank you for opening eyes.

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  16. Excellent way of telling, and pleasant piece of writing to get information on the topic of my presentation subject, which i am going to present in school.

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