Using Russia Serbia Pumps Up Its Denial Of Genocide

Worker tending to Srebrenica memorial graveyard  Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Worker tending to
Srebrenica memorial
graveyard
Photo: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

 

A United Nations Security Council vote on a resolution (drafted by Britain) to condemn the 1995 Srebrenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) massacre as genocide, marking the 20th anniversary of the mass killing, has been delayed until today, Wednesday 8 July 2015, after Russia threatened to veto the measure.
Not without Serbia’s pressure, I dare say, Russia has deemed the resolution unbalanced and does not want the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys described as genocide. Instead it proposed condemning “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.”

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic sent a letter (made public on Monday 6 July) to Queen Elizabeth II concerning London’s initiative for the UN SC to adopt a resolution on Srebrenica, the Belgrade-based Danas daily writes.
The draft resolution submitted by Great Britain to the UN SC might jeopardize efforts invested in the stability of the region,” Nikolic said in his letter and one cannot but feel the threatening tone coming from this ultra-nationalist Greater Serbia thug who heads Serbia these days. His letter to the Queen goes on to say:
I ask you most kindly to dedicate your attention to a serious question that could ruin the efforts made by Serbia over many years in giving our humble contribution to the overall stability of South-East Europe.
That is, I am referring to the Resolution on Srebrenica, filed by Your country in the UN Security Council.
We are a nation that is fairly different to other countries of similar size and power. Whenever we were attacked throughout the history, we chose resistance and fight for freedom. In a large number of circumstances our conduct coincided with the formed international position, battle and goals of Your nation. We never wanted to give up, to withdraw or for others to decide what we will choose for ourselves. Such an attitude was very demanding, often dangerous, but in the end it carried relief and was healthy for our spirit…I believe you are aware that Serbs fought against Turks, against Austro-Hungarian Empire, against Germans and then against the Third Reich. We opposed many others, even NATO in 1999, in the belief that we must defend Kosovo and Metohija territory, which historically belongs to us… We have done all this convinced that the freedom and dignity of man are the supreme values, and there has never been cold calculation behind our role and intentions, but rather our feelings.”
Serbia’s pro-Russian President Tomislav Nikolic had also sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday 4 July, “pleading” for a Russian “no” in the UN Security Council when the resolution is tabled.

Nikolic’s move with Russia clearly reflects political divisions in Serbia among those who seek closer ties with the European Union and his pro-Russian faction that wants Serbia in the Kremlin orbit.

Srebrenica Bosnia and Herzegovina Graveyard of victims of genocide

Srebrenica
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Graveyard of victims of genocide

Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, a former extreme nationalist who now declares himself as pro-EU, has said he is ready to attend memorial ceremonies marking the Srebrenica anniversary in Srebrenica — but also has refused to call it genocide and is becoming increasingly hostile against anyone branding the crimes in Srebrenica and Croatia as genocide, even though those crimes were, in the face of irrefutable evidence, found as genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague. According to Vucic, “lately, some have decided to use various resolutions to once again place the brand of those who should be ashamed of the past…We Serbs show our greatness also by being able to bow before the victims of others as we do before our own, before the hundreds of thousands of who died in all the fatherland wars. But don’t make us feel humiliated because we are Serbs and because we fought valiantly for our freedom,” Vucic told those gathered in Blaznava, central Serbia, on Tuesday 7 July, and added that Serbia will be defending itself “with knowledge and smarts, with diligence.”
And those who think it’s enough to threaten us and say that we Serbs are, I guess, the only ones to blame for what was happening in the former Yugoslavia, and that we should forget Jasenovac, and Jadovno, and all other places of Serb suffering – essentially they are only saying and showing who caused many things (that happened) in that region,” Vucic said.

What utter sadness: the Serb leaders keep hiding and justifying their brutal and genocidal crimes of 1990’s behind those others committed in the 1940’s, of course completely omitting the fact that the Holocaust happened also in Serbia, with the help of Serb Nazi-collaborating government.

Well then – even at this approaching 20th anniversary of Serb-led genocide at Srebrenica, even at this approaching 20th anniversary of Croatia’s victory over Serb aggression and occupation, mass-murder, ethnic cleansing and destruction, Serbia does not want to own up to its heinous acts against other sovereign nations. It keeps painting history with lies and it keeps threatening – still.

To crown these pathetic attempts of covering up and minimising the severity of the brutality in crimes Serbs had committed during 1990’s in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has just released a statement that he “would be watching who will attend the Victory Parade in Zagreb, Croatia” – to be held on 5 August marking 20th anniversary of Operation Storm that liberated Croatia from Serb murderous occupation – because their attendance will signify their “anti-Serbia stand!”
Serbia will interpret the participation in the event that will mark the 20th anniversary of the operation Storm as an anti-Serb stand, Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Tuesday, 7 July.
He said that Serbia was criticized for sending soldiers to Moscow on May 9, when 70 years of the victory over fascism was celebrated – while Croatia is now organising a parade to mark the anniversary of Operation Storm that claimed the lives of several thousand Serbs, while several hundred thousand others were expelled. Oh dear, once again, another Serbia leader, refuses to accept decision from the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague, which found that there was no forceful deportation of Serbs from Croatia – Serbs left of their own accord more likely than not, in fear of their own horrible deeds prior and with evil intent to keep saying that Croatia deported them forcefully!

Croatia has invited armed forces of other countries to take part in the parade of 5 August.

The participation of their troops in the parade will sent a very negative message to Serbia. We will take that as an anti-Serb stand,” the Serbian foreign minister said.

So, according to Serbia: Serbia can attack, can occupy, can murder, can defend itself…and hold this as glorious for its nation, but no other country can! And to boot, the country that defended itself from Serbia’s brutal aggression (Croatia) is not supposed to celebrate its victory because there were casualties on the aggressor’s side! Serbia’s foreign minister and the Serbia that subscribes such a view need to crawl under a rock, where they belong, and stay there for at least a hundred years, until all who committed crimes own and bear responsibility for them.

Vukovar, Croatia Cemetery for victims of Serb aggression and genocide

Vukovar, Croatia
Cemetery for victims of Serb aggression and genocide

So, taking aim at what it terms genocide denial, the British draft UN resolution on Srebrenica genocide stresses that “acceptance of the tragic events at Srebrenica as genocide is a prerequisite for reconciliation.”

Hallelujah!

Many Croats have been saying that for decades! I have been saying that over and over again, in my articles responding to some unwise moves made by various Croatian politicians on the path to reconciliation with Serbia or Serb aggressor. I wish Croatia had more politicians of the calibre of those standing behind this draft of UN resolution on Srebrenica genocide and who defend the content of this resolution.
Genocide is a crime and those who committed it are criminals who should be punished as such …To say so is not ‘anti-Serbian,’ as some have alleged,” British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft wrote in a letter to Mladen Ivanic, the Serb chairman of the Bosnia And Herzegovina presidency, after Milorad Dodik, president of Serbian Republic, called the Srebrenica genocide “a lie” and accused Britain of “trying to register at the UN, on the basis of false declarations and reports, that a genocide was committed against Muslims.”

Another showdown between Russia and Britain (between East and West as the new Cold War surrounds would have it) at the UN Security Council on the matter of calling Srebrenica genocide by its real name – genocide – will occur on Wednesday 8 May (today). Of course, most of us would agree: there should be no showdown because to call Srebrenica genocide a genocide would be the overdue justice the victims deserve, which should not be poisoned with the cold concept of ‘showdown’. Wouldn’t that be a most fitting gift the UN could bring to the Srebrenica 20th Anniversary commemoration on Saturday 11 July 2015 that will see dignitaries attend from all over the world. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Heartbreaking update – 9 July 2015:
Russia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that would have described the Srebrenica massacre as “genocide”. Four other members of the council abstained while the remainder voted in favour. The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said: “Russia’s veto is heart-breaking for those families and it is a further stain on this council’s record.” A UN tribunal at The Hague has already convicted numerous people of genocide in relation to the Srebrenica killings, but a formal recognition by the UN could compel individual states to pursue prosecutions. Russia says the resolution would have caused greater instability in the region while the British-drafted resolution says it was essential to achieve reconciliation. What a terrible shame veto in the UN SC has such enormous power – even to reject or veto the finding of its own court! What a waste of taxpayers money! .

Last Battle Of World War II In Europe Fought In Odzak/Croatia

Odzak, Croatia, May 1945 Last Battle of World War II in Europe Croatian soldiers and volunteer defenders assemle

Odzak, Croatia, May 1945
Last Battle of World War II in Europe
Croatian soldiers and volunteer defenders assemle

May 2015 has been the month during which the world remembered the 70th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) – World War II victories, defeats, victims and heroes. It was on 8 May 1945 that the Allied forces accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany, marking the end of the war in Europe. But it was not the end of WWII – not in Europe. It would also take another three months before Japan surrendered to end WWII elsewhere.
In Europe, World War II ended days later than what the world widely believes – i.e. that it was 8 May 1945. It’s generally considered that the last big battle of WWII in Europe was the so-called Georgian uprising on the Netherlands’ island of Texel, which ended in enormous losses for both sides to finally came to a complete end on 20 May 1945 with the arrival there of the Canadian troops.
Less known is the fact that the very last WWII battle in Europe actually occurred within the territory of WWII Independent State of Croatia – the Battle for Odzak. These days and post-WWII the town of Odzak is situated in Northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
When commemorating 70th anniversaries of notable WWII events, whether they bring tears of joy or those of sadness to our eyes, it would be remiss not to pay tribute and remembrance to the actual very last battle of WWII in Europe and its heroes who were also its victims – slaughtered Croats.
The Battle for Odzak lasted sixteen days and ended on 25 May 1945.
Besides using the tactics of exhausting the Croatian defenders the “Yugoslav’ army Partisans brought in airplanes. The psychological effects of using powerful and destructive weapons had a significant effect of the morale of Croatian defenders and on the civilians. Tanks were introduced. Bombing ensued all day long, incessantly on 24 May 1945. On the other side of Bosna River the civilians were asking the Croatian soldiers to surrender, that nothing would happen to them. After surrender they were placed in stables at nearby Garevac, which were prepared for such an eventuality in advance. Garevac had already become a centre of horrendous Serb brutality against Croats: given that by end of 1944 they did not manage to take Tuzla, Serb Chetniks on Draza Mihajlovic order attacked Modrica and Garevac. They were severely defeated and then decided to no longer attack the Croatian military positions but instead attack whole Croatian villages in the area, including civilians in them. Murder and rape of Croatian women and children ran rampant. Many Serbs were members of Tito’s Partisans who attacked Odzak.
In late hours of the night of 24 May 1945 the centre of Odzak was attacked, bombed severely and captured by Partisans within two hours.

 

Slaughter and liquidation of Croats (soldiers and civilians) followed swiftly including all the Croatian soldiers who had surrendered prior to the bombing and were placed at Garevac (as mentioned above). The Battle for Odzak and its murderous aftermath was fiercely guarded as a secret by Tito’s Partisans and indeed during the entire time of the existence of communist Yugoslavia. It was only when in 1990’s Croatia’s plight for independence and secession from Yugoslavia picked up on steam that details of the Battle for Odzak and the terrible sufferings and slaughter of Croats gradually became to be known. Yugoslav state archives were finally opening doors for research.

 

In 2012 Stipo Pilic and Blanka Matkovic wrote an extensive research based essay “The Battle for Odzak: The War Ended Twenty Days Later” (PDF) and I have sourced information for this post from it. The article analyses the military operations in the area of Podvucjak (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and the Battle for Odzak at the end of May 1945, which represents the end of World War II in Europe. The first section presents the geographic and demographic characteristics of the area, while the second one describes military operations carried out between 1941 and 1944 with the emphasis on the organisation of defense, but also relations between Partisans and Chetniks. The third part analyses the situation in Podvucjak in 1945, and the fourth one battle for Odzak, which ended with the fall of that town on 27th or 28th May. In the last section the authors tried to identify locations of the POW camps and gravesites, but also the identities of those who committed war and post-war crimes against Croatian population in this area in May 1945.

 

 

There are still details that need to be uncovered as researchers and historians keep working at it and, for now, we owe those who perished so brutally after the Battle for Odzak in May 1945 without a trial, without a crime to their name, our deep respect for they were the last and brave WWII defenders of Croatia from Yugoslavia and even though they lost the war their bravery during those last 16 days of battles stands high among the bravest of the brave. For that and for their terrible deaths we owe them that the full truth of their brutal deaths be investigated and those guilty – condemned. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

When Humanitarian Reasons Exclude Human Rights For Victims Of Indicted Serb War Crimes

Indicted Serb war criminal Vojislav Seselj at The Hague

Indicted Serb war criminal
Vojislav Seselj at The Hague

 

The United Nations war crimes tribunal ICTY in The Hague has Thursday 6 November ordered a temporary release of ailing Serbian ultra-nationalist leader and war crimes indicted Vojislav Seselj (for war crimes committed in large parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Vojvodina part of Serbia between 1991 and 1994 against the non-Serb population  ) for “compelling humanitarian reasons.” The war crimes court said that Seselj should return to Serbia “to receive treatment in the most suitable environment.”
Seselj had surgery for colon cancer last year, and the recent visit by Serbian doctors to his Hague cell resulted in their public disclosure that his cancer had spread to his liver.
Seselj surrendered in 2003 on ground of “fighting for Serbian interests” – he said at the time. There had been numerous delays in his trial due to his repeated obstructions to the court trial process (Seselj has insisted on representing himself in the trial) and to top it all off, a dispute among judges in 2013 led to one of the judges’ ( Judge Frederick Harhoff ) being disqualified and replaced. This replacement in October 2013 has meant that instead of a judgment being delivered in the case the new judge Mandiaye Niang has needed and still needs time, it seems, to familiarise himself with the case, whose trial hearing had drawn to the stage of closing arguments way back in March 2012 and Judgment was expected in October 2013.
Seselj is also charged with inciting others to commit war crimes in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s by creating a militia and sending its members off with incendiary speeches. He appeared at the time in Serbian parliament time after time maintaining hate-filled speech against non-Serbs (Croats and Bosniaks mainly) and urging for the creation of Greater Serbia, which thrust horrendously brutal winds into ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs of much of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s. During the Serb-aggression against Croatia Seselj evilly insisted in his public speeches that “the eyes of every Croat must be dug out with a rusted spoon” (!).
His judges proposed this year that he could await his verdict in Serbia, but Seselj refused, saying he would not abide by court rules to remain under house arrest and avoid political activities (despite being in prison since 2003 he remained and is the leader of the Serbian Radical Party). Moreover, he has been demanding that the war crimes tribunal pay him 12 million euros (about US$15 million) for trial costs and damages (the Hague chamber dismissed the demand).
While in The Hague, Seselj has been tried and convicted of contempt of court three times for revealing the personal details of protected witnesses.
Regardless of the serious medical diagnosis, Serbian media report that Seselj has no intention of using the temporary release from the war crimes tribunal’s jail for medical treatments but has announced his threat of revenge.
If I come to Serbia at all I will not be engaging in medical treatment but will turn all my energy into revenge”, said Seselj, as reported by Serbian news portal Blic.

It’s unclear as to whom or where Seselj’s threats of revenge are directed but one may expect to find out once he lands in Belgrade and starts addressing the Serbian public. One can expect a stirring of the Greater Serbia ideas into some kind of frenzy in the efforts to once again glorify the genocide committed by Serbs in early 1990’s in the name of Greater Serbia. The disquieting question as to why the ICTY is taking so long to deliver its judgment on the trial against Seselj is on many a lip across the world right now.

The Croats of Vukovar, in Croatia – where Seselj’s politics of Greater Serbia left the city devastated and many murdered, maimed and raped victims still without justice. 18th November 2014 will mark the 23rd anniversary of the fall of Vukovar and mass murders committed against Croats, mass rapes and mass destruction. To Vukovar, Seselj is considered a war criminal and in light of his temporary release from The Hague, pending a judgment, this year’s commemoration is destined to bring about a bitter taste of devastating disappointment and confusion with the international war crimes tribunal justice system. One assumes that The Hague does not want another prisoner to die on its premises, awaiting judgment. In many ways the decision by the court to release Seselj is arguably understandable on humanitarian grounds, however the same decision has left the world not knowing, for now, whether the tribunal thinks he is guilty or innocent of the charges against him. Furthermore, there has been no kind of “action plan” released by the tribunal regarding a delivery of judgment and this is truly confusing and utterly unfair to the victims.

As to reactions to Seselj’s temporary release the vice-president of the Serbian Radical Party (to which Seselj is still the president), Milorad Mircic, has stated for the Serbian media the following: “If life in Serbia was better we would welcome Seselj as a victim. However, since we live in misery and squalor he will be the only hope and straw of salvation to take us out of this swamp into which Aleksandar Vucic and Tomislav Nikolic have taken us with galloping speed”.

While the war crimes tribunal in The Hague may have had the best, and praiseworthy, humanitarian reasons for temporarily releasing a reportedly very ill man from its prison, pending judgment from the protracted trial, one finds it difficult to accept or understand why the treatment for cancer could not have continued in Netherlands – such a move would have also satisfied the victims’ human rights to justice, which includes medical treatments under the jurisdiction of the country in which the criminal court is located.

Judging by his threats of revenge, receiving medical treatment seems to be the last thing on Seselj’s and his Serbian Radical Party’s mind. And the first thing on the victims of Serb aggression and genocide minds leaves no room for speculation: yet again, they have been left at the mercy of everything else except transparent and true justice. They are left in confusion and disrespect by the very institution set up to deliver justice for them: surely, the victims are more interested in the war tribunal’s plan for the delivery of the judgment than in the place of Seselj’s medical treatment! They deserve to know when the war crimes tribunal plans to publish a judgment, regardless of what that judgment might be. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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