Reverence For Croatian Victims Of Serb Aggression: Vote Trashes Use Of Serbian Cyrillic In Vukovar

Bilingual signs with Serbian Cyrillic Removed from Vukovar's public buildings Photo: G. Panic

Bilingual signs with Serbian Cyrillic
Removed from Vukovar’s public buildings
Photo: G. Panic


This is a big move towards making solid steps for peace and healing of victims of Serb aggression and atrocities against Croats and non-Serbs in Vukovar in the early 1990’s. Those who oppose the “step” will call it by any other name except one that has even a tiny bit of positiveness in it; they will call it recist, denial of human rights, denial of minority rights and such.

The Vukovar City Council on Monday 17 August 2015 adopted amendments to the city Statute as per August 2014 Constitutional Court ruling that handed instructions to determine, within one year, in which of the city’s neighbourhoods bilingual signs can be displayed.
In the amendments the City Council of Vukovar voted constitute changes of the Statute of the city so that it no longer provides for the existence of bilingual signs, and Cyrillic alphabet, on the city’s and government institutions, squares and streets. The changes were adopted on the initiative of the Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ, the leading party in Vukovar local government. Serbian political representatives and the Councillors of the Social Democratic Party, the strongest party in the national government, unsuccessfully opposed the decision.
For a couple of years now much has happened in Vukovar with protests against bilingual (Croatian and Serbian) signs on public buildings and streets etc. Bilingual signs containing Serb Cyrillic were systematically pulled down, smashed and generally rejected by the Croats living in Vukovar. The Committee for the defence of Croatian Vukovar and their supporters, who represent the victims of Serb mass murders, rapes, destruction say that Cyrillic symbolically represents the utter terror and the horror inflicted upon innocent Croats in Vukovar as they went about seceding from communist Yugoslavia, seeking through democratic peaceful processes their freedom and democracy.

As was expected Serbia and some of Croatia’s antifascist riff-raff have protested against these amendments in Vukovar City Statute and have called them racist as well as denying human rights to minorities. Their protest also touches upon the decision in these amendments of the Statute of Vukovar to introduce charges of 3 Euro for any council document issued in Cyrillic at special request by an applicant.


Vukovar’s people who are behind the moves against the Serbian Cyrillic on public buildings, streets etc. and the councillors of the ruling coalition defended the amendments to the Statute which were proposed by city mayor Ivan Penava (HDZ) and all of these supporters continue seeking and calling for a new census. The last census, they say, was fraudulent and had many more Serbs who lived in Serbia, not Vukovar, recorded as living in Vukovar. Busloads of people from Serbia had come to Vukovar at time of census, falsely declared their residence there and then after went back to Serbia. All this in efforts to make-up the necessary minimum of 34% of population in a place needed to introduce bilingual signage on public buildings etc.! If that percentage is based on fraud – and all evidence argued and provided to the public so far seems to point that way – then those councillors in Vukovar that reject accepting that fraudulent census result as its benchmark for the introduction of bilingual signage are absolutely in the right!


There has been no information yet on how the government will react to the amendments made to Vukovar’s Statute, to the complaints made by the Serb Ethnic Minority Council and criticism coming out of Serbia calling the Vukovar council’s move racist, and in breach of human rights of minorities.


As regards Cyrillic signs in Vukovar the government has the possibility to directly enforce laws, bypassing the city statute, but the question is how much that would be in line with the ruling of the Constitutional Court instructing the government to propose to the parliament, within a period of one year, amendments to the Law on the Use of Languages and Scripts of Ethnic Minorities, including mechanisms for cases when local self-government bodies obstruct the right to bilingualism.


Along with the Serb Ethnic Minority Council of Vukovar, also dissatisfied with the amendments to the Vukovar City Statute is the Serb National Council (SNV), whose leaders on Monday described them as unconstitutional and unlawful and said that they would notify the relevant institutions in Croatia, as well as the EU, the Council of Europe and the UN.


They can write to EU and UN “till the cows come home” but they have no case! Vukovar council decision was in respect of human rights: those of the victims!


EU ParliamentBesides, Tove Ernst, European Commission Press Officer, reportedly said to Serbia’s news agency Tanjug and responding to a plea to the European Commission to comment on the abolition of the Cyrillic alphabet in Croatian city of Vukovar: “the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU bans discrimination based on minority status. However, the Commission has no overall authority with regard to minorities, especially in relation to the issue of recognition of the status of minorities, their self-determination and autonomy, and the use of regional or minority languages.” According to her, the Member States retain a general power to make decisions about minorities and the provisions of the Charter of fundamental rights concern the EU Member States only when they implement EU laws.
The Vukovar Council said it supported full application of the Constitutional Law on the Rights of Ethnic Minorities and the Law on the Use of Minority Languages and Scripts and warned that minority rights must not depend on daily politics. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. From Facebook: This is the correct move! 98% or more of Brownsville, Texas speaks on Spanish language as primary language, the other 2% know enough Spanish to get by in the streets, yet ALL the street signs and government building signs are in English and ALL the court proceedings are in English and ALL the government proceedings of any sort are in English and nobody complains. By the way, the majority of the local government officials speak in Spanish in their private time. My point is that Vukovar council is not discriminatory and you have the example of this town and county in South Texas to demonstrate that point. It could well be the only thing worthwhile to come out of this place.

  2. Great example David. It applies to so many jurisdictions on the planet…but not in crazy pseudo “Greater Serbia.”
    They are attempting to do in peace time through political means, political pressure, etc., what they could not accomplish with guns and tanks in the war.
    Only in Croatia can NGO’s and Serb Cetnik publications get funding from a leftist Yugo regime that hates Croatia and her residents.

  3. …it is NONE of Serbia’s (or anyone else’s) business to dictate what language or alphabet that Croatia will use in its OWN house!

    • Yes and the infuriating thing is that Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic has just compared upped his hateful game by saying that it would be a world scandal if Serbia took away the Latin alphabet from its cities streets buildings etc – totally of course disregarding the fact that it was the carnage, torture, rape committed by Serbs in Croatia has resulted in victims wanting nothing to do with the Serb alphabet Cyrillic – too cruel and painful reminders

  4. DELETED as misrepresentation of facts of battles in Vukovar 1990’s

    The Serbs were there (Vukovar) before it became part of Croatia.
    Croatia should have never gotten Slavonia in the first place.

  5. Bilingual street signs? In Sydney that would be like Bankstown having English/Arabic signs, Leichhardt with English/Italian signs and Bondi having English/Hebrew signs…or in one word…ridiculous! The country is Australia so it’s English. The country is Croatia so it’s Croatian.

  6. Since when are bilingual signs a human right? Only in bizzaro EU world apparently. If bilingual sings are a human right, God help Australia, we’ll have our work cut out for us in installing several language signs all across major cities and public buildings. EU countries should start worrying about REAL human rights and problems, such as the constant arrival of illegal immigrants, or the massive youth unemployment in several countries, failing economies, the massive amounts of emigration, children going hungry, lack of free speech, etc.

    • Australia (or other similarly populated country in the West) could also end up like Croatia did in 1990’s, Kat, with foreign nationals or migrants wanting to create a separate state out of suburbs, their own, just because 30 or 40 percent of them live in the areas, employing aggression as Serbs did in Croatia…nothing it seems is beyond the aggressive lot but that god for the several that have the courage to stand up against the nasty madness

      • Well at least in Australia, there is still hope that the sane majority would laugh them off and tell them where to stick it. In Croatia, our ruling elite enables this idiocy and blatant disregard for the human rights of Croatian war victims. It’s a shame that some of the most intelligent, successful Croats who care about the well-being of the nation, are not the ones running it. Too many such people find no use for the games of politics, but we’d be better off if they had a greater influence, as it seems more and more European leaders are actively working against the best interests of the native populations of their countries.

      • Yep, Kat – and let’s hope that the one who know and care will seize the governing reins soon in Croatia otherwise slavery will take over…

  7. Reblogged this on IdealisticRebel's Daily View of Favorites.

  8. I am so sorry for the beheading. It is harsh and barbaric. May he rest in peace. Hugs, Barbara

  9. Thank you so much for continuing to share with us.

  10. Hello Ina Vukic !

  11. In Wales and Scotland, around 1900, children were humiliated or beaten for using the local Celtic language rather than English. The result was that many people lost the ability to speak it; but those who did not became very very angry, and now their language is a huge part of their identity- as English is, of course, a huge part of mine.

    • Serbs in Vukovar are free to speak, write etc Serbian language in their private lives, buy Serbian language newspapers and magazines but signs on public buildings, streets and town-squares are to be in Croatian only. This is not the same as the behaviour of the English towards Welsh, Scots, Irish as you can see, Clare. In Australia the Irish Catholics had a cruel life originally because the English banned the practice of all other religions except Anglican…

  12. I believe public buildings should legally have bilingual signs along with Braille for the Blind, Ina. Hugs, ♡Robin

    • I think so too, Robin, that way the visually impaired (the disabled) would have better independent access instead of depending on others to guide them. Much to be done on “breaking the barriers” for the disabled in many places around the world.

  13. Just a couple of thoughts…maybe in vukovar there should be bilingual signs on condition that these signs are accompanied by an iconic picture of the destruction of Vukovar and a description under it saying, “…we serbs were responsible for the criminal destruction of Vukovar and the murder of its Croatian people. We are grateful and humbled that Croatian victims have allowed the script of the murderous Serbs to be allowed.”

    The other thing is that we keep reacting to Serb provocations; always on the defensive – we even cow when Serb patriarch in Croatia claims that their monastery is evidence of Serb culture in Croatia for over 400 years and that Croatians have done more harm to Serbs than Serbs to Croats – can you image this being said in any other Country. Let’s stop responding directly and start responding on things on our agenda; our unresolved issues with Serbia – listing all of the things that Serbs have done to Croatia from landmines, to missing persons and cultural artifacts, to mass rape, to torturing of croatian prisoners of, to concentration camps, to reparations, to Croatian minority rights in Serbia to it’s historical brutality of Croatia and it’s criminal Greater Serbia plans. This BS about bilingual signs and Serbia response is war mongering and yet Croatians in Serbia have far less rights; but no one knows this.

    • Yes, Sunman, we’re still waiting for a politician in Croatia to take a lead in sorting Serbia’s BS out rather than responding to Serbia’s insults and insults of it’s church
      ‘s leader. As to Croats in Serbia – an example of true denial of ethnic minority rights.

  14. The politics are so complicated, that I can barely understand!

    • Yep, Luanne, these days one needs to be vigilant at politicians – one can’t trust them 100%, really. But the bottom of the line here are the victims and their well-being which not many politicians are coming out with as something not negotiable. Buggers they are.

  15. therealamericro says:

    Serbs in Vukovar do not meet the 33 percent threshold, as many are registered in Vukovar but live, work and pay taxes in Vojvodina, RS and Beograd. That is why Croat calls for an updated census fell on deaf ears.

    This was a machinated scandal to divert attention from all of the government’s failings, a tanking economy, the fact that Slavonians were and are leaving in large numbers to the EU for work, and was and is a convenient distraction from the Veterans’ protest.

    A farce from the get go.

    When a real census takes place and the real percentages are available, then we can talk about bilingual signs (which is unnecessary since most Serbs learn Latin script in Croatia first anyway, and Latin script is Serbia’s official script and has been for years).

    That and of course Poopie and SNV publicly recognize the JNA/VRSK aggression and wholesale ethnic cleansing – and permanently barring the return of – of 99.5% of Croats and non-Serbs, and apologize for it, and recognize the ICTY ruling of Gotovina et. al., then bilingual signs can be considered.

    Until then no dice.

  16. Nek mi gospodja Ina Vukic nesto objasni:

    The Court further describes the main events that took place in Croatia between 1990 and 1995. It notes in particular that, shortly after the latter’s declaration of independence on 25 June 1991, an armed conflict broke out between, on the one hand, Croatia’s armed forces and, on the other, forces opposed to its independence (namely forces created by part of the Serb minority within Croatia and various paramilitary groups, to which the Court refers collectively as “Serb forces”, irrespective of the issue of attribution of their conduct) and at least from September 1991  the Yugoslav National Army (“JNA”). By late 1991, these Serb forces and the JNA controlled around one-third of Croatian territory within its boundaries in the SFRY, a situation which lasted until 1995. It was during this conflict that the genocide alleged by Croatia is claimed to have been committed. Finally, the Court describes how, during the spring and summer of 1995, Croatia succeeded, as a result of a series of military operations, in re-taking the greater part of the territory of which it had previously lost control. It was during Operation “Storm”, in August 1995, that the genocide alleged by Serbia in its counter-claim is claimed to have taken place.

    Sto mene interesira je recenica: By late 1991, these Serb forces and the JNA controlled around one-third of Croatian territory within its boundaries in the SFRY, a situation which lasted until 1995

    A sada nek mi objasni pojam Agresije unutar granice SFRJ

    iz: Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia)
    The Court rejects Croatia’s claim and Serbia’s counter-claim
    od 3.2.2015

    • There is nothing I can explain, Emil – while you decide to take snippets and turn them out of context the ICJ did rule that there were acts of genocide perpetrated on Croatian soil, none on Serbia’s of course because it was only Serbs (Montenegrins) that were the aggressors against sovereign states within former Yugoslavia (Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and not the other way around and if people needed to defend themselves against that aggression I say good on them – THhnk God they were able to.

  17. Sorry you have no idea about international law, not be the smartest and I see another article by pushing on one same line that showed you that Franjo Tudjman, anyway what international law says. I was just ICTY versus Prlic and others known to the term used aggression and to the Republic of Croatia against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    • Emil, Emil – where did you finish you law degrees? I certainly don’t pretend to be an expert but I do understand and know quite a bit perhaps more than you but as far as Prlic et al are concerned the case is still in process, not finished – given that you claim to know the law I’m sure you know the meaning of due process and Appeal is part of that. As to Croatian aggression against Bosnia & Herzegovina – pure political lie and concoction thank you but of course a court case can pronounce it given that shonky evidence and liars gave testimony. Just think of Bihac – in August 1995 – were it not for Croats it would have become another Srebrenica – genocide and that is recognised – you want to call that aggression – go ahead!

  18. Stjepan F. says:

    There is an article on Huffington Post that relates to this. The author thinks that the signs are a waste of money since there is no issue of bilingualism. There is one language (called Croato-Serbian) that the local Serbs can read in the Latin script and have nothing to complain about. See:

    • Oh dear, oh dear – what possessed the author of that article to drag out the Serbo-Croatian language that was “banned” in Croatia in 1970’s after which one could officially speak/write either Croatia or Serbian but not both combined and reasons for that were and are obvious and part of people power. But then again being a Serb from Serbia who says he speaks Serbo-Croatian today even though the language ceased as such combination 40 years ago, before he was born probably, tells you something… In Bosnia and Herzegovina the Bosnian language had become official an internationally recognised some 20 or so years ago, so why would people go back to using something that had brought so much pain. Can’t think of any other reason but underhanded attempt to stir further unrest.


  1. […] In August 2015, Vukovar changed its town statute to say that the collective rights of the Serb minority [re street signs, government building signs etc.) in the area of the town of Vukovar are to be ensured when the conditions are met. […]

  2. […] In August 2015, Vukovar changed its town statute to say that the collective rights of the Serb minority [re street signs, government building signs etc.) in the area of the town of Vukovar are to be ensured when the conditions are met. […]

  3. […] Some readers here may remember that many Croatians did not accept the 2011 Census results, according to which Serb minority was given the right to bilingualism and the official use of the Cyrillic alphabet in that city of Vukovar. Many suspected the number of Serbs in Vukovar was fabricated to make up the needed minimum 34% of total population for the town and many protested, some were fatally wounded by police for trying to smash the bilingual sings on buildings, many arrested a…  […]

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