In Defence Of Croatian Community Of Herceg Bosna

dr. sc. Mato Arlovic

The ICTY Trial Chamber 2013 conviction of the “Croatian Six from Herceg Bosna” (currently awaiting Appeal Chamber decision) has motivated dr. Mato Arlovic (a Judge at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia) to awaken his research in constitutional law within the expertise written for the purposes of defence before he had become a Constitutional judge. Hence, arrived the book “Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna and the (re)organisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. It is an important book because it negates the famous joint criminal enterprise supposedly led by the Croatian state and army heads – writes Marinko Jurasic of Vecernji List, as foreword to his interview with Arlovic.

Your book significantly defends dr, Franjo Tudjman’s and HDZ’s politics towards Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

– I must correct you. I am not defending Tudjman’s and HDZ’s politics, I am defending the truth. I speak of facts, of proof, of arguments and decisions that confirm that all the Acts passed and all the actions that followed go in favour of independence and sovereignty of BiH. I am bothered when the truth is negated … The aim of my book is not that anyone indicted of war crimes be acquitted or his guilt lessened. No, the aim of my book is in that noone is punished for something he did not do, to prevent a new injustice. Not only because it would constitute an injustice towards one nation of people but that injustice would also become the cause of new divisions and conflicts in this region. I advocate for those who are found to have committed crimes to be convicted for that is the first step towards reconciliation and a satisfaction for those who suffer.

Did the Republic of Croatia have a right to defend itself?

– I think that the rejection of Croatia’s application to present its arguments as a Friend of the court that it did not participate in joint criminal enterprise had deeply violated the principle of fairness as well as of approach to the court, and the highest of Croatian bodies are the ones who must express their standing on that. It’s not only that Croatia did not participate in it, but had it not done what it had there would be no independent and sovereign state of BiH today. In that situation it would be a grave injustice and untruth to condemn Croatia as an aggressor and a divider of BiH.

While a joint criminal enterprise did not exist in Croatia, the same Croatian leadership was creating a greater Croatia in BiH!?

– In the indictment against the generals, the state and army leadership is accused of joining together for the purpose of ethnically cleansing the Serbs from Croatia, while in the indictment against the Herceg-Bosna Six they are connected to a criminal enterprise for dividing BiH and the creating of Croatian Banovina, that actually encompasses a much larger area than the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna. At the end of that indictment it actually says that it also concerns “all other known and unknown persons”, which opens the possibility that all Croats in BiH and in Croatia had joined intoa criminal enterprise, which of course cannot be the truth. All the more because such a form of crime is not regulated by any Act but had appeared in the Hague Prosecution’s practice. If the Trial Chamber judgment were to become final it would open up some serious questions. It would follow that Croatia was an aggressor against BiH, led its war through ethnic cleansing and that it is responsible for the destructions in BiH. And that question of justice. How can a country that had itself been attacked from outside and from its rebel Serbs inside, in the situation when it’s helping its neighbouring country and in defending itself, be pronounced an aggressor against that neighbouring country from whose territory the aggression against itself was launched!? One wouldn’t know what’s harder – the question of political responsibility or the legal responsibility. The Croats in Croatia and in BiH would once again carry the stigma of being guilty for the 90’s war, as it was after WWII.

But, president Tudjman led talks about dividing BiH?

I don’t negate that, but I was appalled by the rushed and unfounded assumptions Rebicic came out with in his book “Geneza jedne zablude” (The genesis of a delusion). He writes that in Karadjordjevo, Milosevic offered Tudjman a division of BiH, and in an other place it’s written written that in a telephone call he warned Alija Izetbegovic that together with dr. Tudjman in Karadjordjevo Milosevic proposed division of BiH at the expense of the Bosniaks. Then, that Tudjman and HDZ leadership considered all non-Croats as citizens of a second order, which is one of the worst accusations that, in essence, equates with nazisocialism. I was politically active then and not negating the extreme right-wing elements, I can say that it is a complete untruth that the whole of the State politics was like that. Ribicic’s expertise is founded upon the testimonies of public dignitaries from Croatia who came out with their pereptions without evidence that any decision by any State body was made, and everything comes out from saying that there were talks of dividing BiH. And that is “fait accompli”, BiH will be divided and Greater Croatia put together.

The key proof of that is the conversation in Franjo Tudjman’s presidential office, HDZ leadership in Croatia and in BiH on 27th December 1991.

It’s true that there was talk there about solving the crisis in BiH and a possible division of BiH. It’s true that some participants seriously objected to that because the Croats in BiH would lose the possibility of being equal and constitutional nation, that is, they would become a minority in BiH. But even those talks, as all other talks, wee led during the times of war and, therefore, I’m amazed at those who without any reservation state that the politics of dividing BiH were led. Of course, the actors in those talks held their fingers crossed in their pockets and were not sincere in the measure by which their assertions could be taken as truthful. In Tudjman’s case the decisions confirmed that.

There was political bluffing, insinuation, exaggeration…?

In military terminology that’s one of the forms of a special war. If that talk was crucial, how come it occurred a month and a half after the Croatian Community Herceg Bosna was founded. Ribicic writes that the talk was led at the time when Slovenia and Croatia had already been recognised internationally, which is not true. Only some countries, that were not themselves internationally recognised, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, had recognised Croatia and that in itself had a morally-political and not an international significance. The decision regarding a change of borders can only be made by the Croatian parliament, and nobody refers to its Acts. That is, even in the Constitutional decision regarding sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia and in the 25th June 1991 Declaration, as well as in the Decision regarding the severing of all ties with the Former Yugoslavia on 8th October 1991, it is clear and unambiguous that the right to independence is recognised for all other republics of the former Yugoslavia. And what’s occurring after the talk about the division of BiH. At the invitation by the Carrington Commission on former Yugoslavia the Croatian parliament passes an agreement that all states of formerly joined states and the USSR, if they implement the right procedure, should be internationally recognised. Then, dr. Tudjman as HDZ RH president, together with HDZ BiH and the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna leadership, calls upon Croats in BiH to come out at the 29th February 1992 referendum together with the Bosniaks and to vote for an inependent and sovereign BiH. That referendum would not succeeded with the Croats because the Serbs boycotted it, and there were not enough Bosniaks to make up the needed majority.

And they’re being accused of intending to create a Greater Croatia all that time?

– That’s right. It’s important to see that at that time there were three political concepts for BiH. Bosniaks wanted unitary BiH. Serbs wanted a confederative BiH if a link with Yugoslavia remained, and if not, then theseparation of Serbian Republic and belonging to Yugoslavia. Croats were for a sovereign and independent BiH of three equal and constitutional nations while BiH exists, and voted at the referendum for that which they had written down and in the decision to form the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna. And after it was decided on an international level to recognise BiH, the first country that did that on 7th April 1992 was Croatia. All that time Croatia supplied BiH with medical, humanitarian and military assistance. Individual uits were made up of Bosniak members of the Croatian Army (HV), who were organised, equipped and trained in Croatia for the battles in BiH against the Serb aggressor that had by that time already occupied 70% of BiH territory. The most complex training of Bosniak officers, and MIG pilots, was carried out in Croatia. Here, some 700,000 displaced persons were cared for, medical help given to more than 3,500 wounded at Firule (Split) … Does a country that wants to divide the other country and take over its territory do that!?

All the while a third of Croatia was occupied.

– Those who had come out with the postulation about Croatian division of BIH are unaware that with that they had perhaps supported the most cunning postulation of Greater Serbia politics, demonstrated via a special war, because acceptance of a division of BiH would open up a process of dividing Croatia. Radovan Karadzic was the first to use that postulation at1990 elections in order toconvince Alija Izetbegovic that he would try and trick him by such means. It was crazy to expect that via the Croatian Community Of Herceg Bosna the intention was to annexe that part to Croatia for the purposes of creating a Greater Croatia, and that the same criteria would not be used in Croatia where the self-proclaimed “Republic of Serbian Krajina” commenced the process of joining the territory to Yugoslavia and Serbian Republic within BiH. One can think about dr. Tudjman as one likes but he knew how to think in military and geopolitical terms for Croatia’s interests and, simply, everyone should forget about such postulations. That postulation is a total miss, even if the talk of possible division of BiH did damage the public perception. But later, Alija Izetbegovic himself offered a division of BiH to Tudjman because he wanted his own state.

You claim that the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was a necessary form or self-organisation?

– According to the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of BiH the right to defence was a duty of every citizen, and municipal councils had an important role. Citizens living in them had a duty to self-organise themselves in defending freedom, territory and the sovereignty of their republic if the central authorities cannot function. When Serb attacks started Prime Minister Jure Pelivan said at the Assembly of BiH that the government was not controlling the situation, and Izetbegovic said “that is not our war”. And then, in 24 municipalities, arising from the right of necessary self-organisation the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was organised as a community of municipalities. The Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna did not arise within a procedure that’s characteristic of an act that would have a constitutionally legal force but rather it was much closer to statutory decisions made by units of local self-government. The decision was signed by presidents of the municipal councils who were elected to those positions at democratic elections. A referendum was not carried out. The decision calls upon the Constitution of BiH. In it, it’s written that it is of a temporary nature while the situation lasts in BiH and that the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna is being formed- what is very important – on the territory of BiH. “The area” belongs to the units of local self-government, and “the territory” to the state. If, according to the classic theory, a state is made up of territory, population and legitimate authority, the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna had no territory and admitted that it was formed within BiH territory, respected the constitutionally-legal system of BiH, and had no population of its own. One of the accusations against the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was that by using Kunas it negated the monetary sovereignty of BiH. But at that time in BiH everyone was using German Marks. One of the important proofs that the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna was not of a state-forming shape is in the decision made by the ministry and upon which it existed and exists today as an association of citizens who promote cultural contents.

After that it grew into a republic?

– That was the result of international agreements, that is, the initiative about three entities which do not bring into question the international subjectivity of BiH. Croats were among the first to sign that international act just as they were to sign all other acts proposed by the international community, while others refused to sign. Serbs did not adhere to the Washington Agreement, which in some of its elements for the Constitution of the Federation of BIH offered a reorganisation into a composite state. NATO military action followed, which broughtthem to the Dayton Agreement. For Serbs, at all times, the variation of separating the Serbian Republic and annexing it to Serbia was valid, and some represent that stance to this day. The international community also held talks about dividing BiH in their search for models for its internal organisation. My opinion is that it is a big delusion that one can guarantee constitutionality and equality of all three peoples and at the same time carry out an internal reorganisation based on ethnic principle. That is not possible! The civil principle of internal organisation of BiH must be contitutionally and legally institutionalised.

Everyone is accusing the Washington and the Dayton agreements?

I do not agree. In legal nature they are international contracts for peace. They stopped the war. The Serbs relinquished a part of the occupied territory, but a part of their war conquest was recognised. It is not just to accuse one nation because it defended itself, and not the other two. Annex IV of the Dayton agreement contains the Constitution of BiH and it can only and exclusively be changed by the elected members of BiH parliament. Therefore, the problem is not in the international community but in the (im)possibility of agreements between the political leaders of the three peoples in BiH. They represent maximalist attitudes because every appeasement and compromise is treated as a betrayal within their entities. In such a situation it is easier to expect the international community to make moves and take over the responsibility. Hence, I call them political entrepreneurs. Organised in this way BiH cannot be compatible with the EU. BiH needs thorough changes and that is why I put out 12 points of possible considerations for a new organisation of BiH, and at that I start from the need to make a combination of the national and civil across the entire BiH territory. The Constitution must guarantee the constitutionality through its institutionalisation of the protection of the individual, of members of minorities who are now excluded from the nation, and through parity of representation of the three equal and constitutional peoples in all bodies of representation all the way to the national level. The Constitutional court is there to guarantee fundamental rights and freedom of all, and if it cannot do that because it is not independent, and given that BiH is a member of the European Council, then there is the European court for Human Rights that guarantees fundamental freedoms and rights, and when BiH become a member of the EU there is also the court in Luxembourg.

Translated from the Croatian language by Ina Vukic

No Dogs, Catholics Or Muslims Allowed

Civilians of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993 running for cover to avoid Serb snipers during the city's siege Photo: Chris Helgren/Corbis

Civilians of Sarajevo in
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993
running for cover to
avoid Serb snipers during the city’s siege
Photo: Chris Helgren/Corbis

The referendum held on 25 September 2016 in the entity of Serbian Republic (Republika Srpska/RS) within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) regarding confirmation that 9 January should be set as public holiday for the celebration of the Day of Republika Srpska/Serbian Republic Statehood Day may to many in the outside world seem benign but given BiH’s geographic position coupled with the 1990’s history puts it all in a different light. But, in reality and in truth this frighteningly defiant move led by Milorad Dodik, RS president – and nourished and supported via Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s promises of financial supports – has all the hallmarks of officially legitimising war crimes, especially ethnic cleansing and genocide (including Srebrenica) committed during 1990’s against Croatians and Bosniaks/Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina/BiH in that self-proclaimed Serbian territory situated within sovereign borders of BiH.

 

It once again brings to a chilling reminder the chilling “banner”, the “warning sign” under which Serb aggression operated there in that BiH sovereign territory in the 1990’s: No Dogs, Catholics or Muslims Allowed.

 OHIO, Nov. 21, 1995 from Centre left: President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, President Alija Izetbegovic of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and President Franjo Tudjman of the Republic of Croatia sign the Dayton Peace Accords. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Brian Schlumbohm

OHIO, Nov. 21, 1995
from Centre left:
President Slobodan Milosevic
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
President Alija Izetbegovic
of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and President Franjo Tudjman of the Republic of Croatia
sign the Dayton Peace Accords.
Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Brian Schlumbohm

 

In November 1995 the primarily US-driven international Dayton Accords peace agreement ended the war in BiH and it preserved BiH as a single sovereign state, divided into two largely autonomous parts/entities: the Bosniak-Croatian Federation and the Serbian Republic. Dayton Accords, although made having peace in mind, in essence meant that peace had no chance as no conductive environment was created for proper reconciliation, in many ways the Serb aggressor was rewarded with its own region to govern autonomously. Dayton Accords agreement had sealed the fate of BiH as a sovereign state made up of three constitutional peoples (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) into a perpetual state of ethnic rivalry, recriminations, dysfunction and fear that Serbs were only “an inch” away from achieving their initial goal of creating their own sovereign state from parts of BiH’s sovereign territory they’d cleansed of all non-Serbs.

 

Milorad Dodik had officially, with apparent newfound determination, begun threatening to hold a referendum on secession of Serbian Republic from BiH in 2014 if Bosnia does not become a confederation of three states (Serb, Croat and Bosniak). At that time he sought to seize on the Crimean referendum and subsequent Russian annexation as a political and moral guide and an example of self-determination in action, however wrong, tragic and misguided these actions may have been held by the leaders of the Western democratic world. Dodik had planned for the referendum regarding 9 January as the Day of Serb Republic/ Statehood Day (which date by the way coincides with the Serb Orthodox religious holiday) to be held on 15 November 2015 but this and any such referendum was thwarted via BiH Constitutional Court’s ruling, making such referendums illegal.

Milorad Dodik September 2016 Photo: Reuters/ Dado Ruvic

Milorad Dodik
September 2016
Photo: Reuters/ Dado Ruvic

Defying BiH Constitutional Court and BiH Parliament, to which Serbian Republic answers, the referendum held Sunday 25 September saw the Serbs living in that entity in overwhelming numbers voting Yes to declaring 9 January as the Day of Serbian Republic. The relatively very few Croats and Bosniaks now living in the Serb Republic (having returned there post 1995 Dayton Accords agreement) had refused to vote in the referendum because, in essence, the referendum represents Dodik’s rehearsal for an eventual secession of Serb Republic from BiH and, therefore, the destruction of BiH as the world knows it now.

A further element of defiance and repulsive attempt to legitimise genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in this referendum can be seen through Biljana Plavsic’s comments as she voted in the RS representative office in Belgrade, Serbia. Biljana Plavsic, whose actions in 1992 as a member of collective presidencies of both Bosnia and the breakaway Serbian Republic of Bosnia constituted crimes against humanity and who actively supported the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats in Serb-held lands, who is an ICTY convicted war criminal said last week that the referendum represents a defense of Serbian Republic – of that in which she herself had participated in the 1990’s.

Whether the leaders of Croatians and Bosniaks living in BiH consider Dodik’s defiant move with the referendum as some kind of an internationally acceptable foundation for a movement that would split BiH into three different ethnically defined sovereign states (Bosniak, Croat, Serb) is at this stage a disquieting point occupying a great deal of political analyses space throughout the world. As desirable as contemplation of such a division of BiH into three sovereign states may appear to each of the three ethnic groups at this moment may be, this articulated in the media desirability or political assessment in essence masks the real and dangerous prospect of the possibility of repeated Serb violence and aggression against Croatians and Bosniaks in BiH.

 

Croatian refugee families from Serb Republic still today in their thousands seek return to their rightful homes in Banja Luka. Photo: HINA

Croatian refugee families from Serb Republic
still today in their thousands seek return to their rightful homes in Banja Luka.
Photo: HINA

Dodik’s defiance with holding the referendum and his subsequent defiance of the BiH State Prosecutor by refusing to answer a summons to appear before the prosecutor regarding his breach of the Constitutional Court order that declared the referendum illegal, are acts that are very likely to motorise the Serb population’s energy for renewed attacks against non-Serbs in BiH. Dodik has found it handy to interpret everything commented against his referendum as threatening to his personal safety and so:
I will not go to the prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo but I am ready to give a statement in any other judiciary office in the Serb Republic,” Dodik told a news conference 27 September 2016. He therefore rejects the jurisdiction of the government of Bosnia Herzegovina to which Serbian Republic entity must answer. He has therefore, in his mind and in his deeds already cut Serbian Republic’s ties with BiH.
If Dodik fails to comply with a summons, and fails to justify it, the prosecution will then issue an arrest warrant,” said Bosnia’s Security Minister Dragan Mektic, a Bosnian Serb.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina with entities of Serb Republic/ Republika Srpska and Croat Bosniak Federation

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
with entities of
Serb Republic/ Republika Srpska
and Croat Bosniak Federation

 

All this says that Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a more dangerous state than at any other time since Dayton Accords in 1995, with looming possibility of renewed violence and crimes against humanity. It confirms that, despite atrocities committed in early 1990’s and guilt confirmed via international criminal tribunal and domestic criminal courts, Serbs have not learned to keep their fingers off sovereign territories and state borders that have been established/recognised on an international level for many decades. Collective catharsis associated with the atrocities and war crimes as some guarantee of lasting peace in BiH has made no progress despite Dayton Accords and the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). This latest behavior of Bosnian Serbs evidences the fact that reconciliation in BiH (in former Yugoslavia, really) has been a pipe dream, and a utopian dream concocted by the West and the European Commission who thought that equating the aggressor with the victim would reap positive results of reconciliation and peace. Permitting Serbian Republic to exist within BiH in the first place was the beginning of that pipe dream, which was above all cruel to the victims of war crimes and, as such, it was never going to work. Daytom Accord should have either split BiH into three distinctive sovereign states (Bosniak, Croat and Serb) or insisted on retaining BiH as a single sovereign state without entities or divisions of autonomous territory between its constituent ethnic/national groups.

But as things have panned out, the world must cringe with disgust watching the referendum signatures of the majority of the genocidal Bosnian Serb “nation” celebrating without an inkling of shame or remorse their “state” founded on war crimes, forced deportations, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, genocide, torture…and all that permitted by way of world leaders’ benign political statements that offer only political analyses of the past and no visible intention for decisive involvement to stop such lunacy that is creating new victims of the imposed ethnic Serb superiority in that region. This is a true perversion of justice for the victims of crimes against humanity and freedom to live peacefully anywhere within one’s country’s sovereign borders.

By way of referendum for Serb Republic Statehood Day Bosnian Serbs are erecting a monument to those who committed genocide. This comes without real sanctions and practical intervention against this shame for humanity as all of the political analyses and statements by world leaders about this appear more benevolent toward this Serb cause of celebrating genocide than toward anything else. Turbulent times are on the cards once again for Bosnia and Herzegovina; for Bosniaks and Croatians. Together with political instability in Macedonia, violent protests in Kosovo, the destabilisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have a destructive influence on the entire Balkan region. The referendum in Republika Srpska also perfectly shows how history can be used to drum up hostility between nations. Desirous of peace and life without fear, a life that moves away from daily infliction of pain contained in politically live reminders of the 1990’s war, Bosnian Croats may do well by utilising this latest practically unchecked Bosnian Serb defiance and seek their own independence or autonomy within or without BiH. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Renewed Aggression And Hatred From Serbia – Alarms

 

Vicious and Indicted Serb War Criminal  Vojislav Seselj Burns the Croatian Flag in Belgrade

Vicious and Indicted Serb War Criminal
Vojislav Seselj
Burns the Croatian Flag in Belgrade

It’s difficult to conclude that the renewed aggression against Croatia coming out of Serbia since the indicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj burned the Croatian flag last week is not politically connected to the announcement by Milorad Dodik, the president of the Serbian Republic (entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina/B&H, which has the 1995 massacre and genocide of Srebrenica as its cornerstone) regarding his plan to bring about at the end of April 2015 the declaration of the independence (from B&H) of the Serbian Republic. All this tells me, and I’m sure, many, that the Greater Serbia plan has not been shelved and sovereign nations affected by it (e.g. Croatia, B&H) must continue vigilance, as possibilities of renewed armed Serb-aggression, such as the one in early 1990’s, do seem to pose a risk.
Serbia did not succeed in its aggressive bid to try and stop secession from communist Yugoslavia of Croatia and B&H into independent states. However, in B&H, Serbs managed to hive off a part of that sovereign country as their enclave with their own local government. In Croatia, they lost completely – Croatian forces in 1995 “Operation Storm” liberated most of the Serb occupied and ethnically cleansed region (Krajina), and the rest was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia by the end of 1998. And everything they do politically points to the conclusion that Serbs cannot accept that; they cannot accept being a minority where they are a minority within a country.
Even though the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) appellate judges had just over a week ago, 30 March 2015, ruled that the indicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj had violated the terms of his release and ordered him to return to ICTY custody, Vojislav Seselj and Serbia’s leaders (Seselj’s political mates during the 1990’s aggression against Croatia and B&H, Serbian ultranatiolists) seem unperturbed and have raised their hate speech and aggressive disposition to almost the levels that existed during the 1990’s war of Serb-aggression against Croatia and B&H .
While the sinister Milorad Dodik is announcing a declaration of Serbian Republic independence in B&H (in defiance of the 1995 Dayton Agreement, which had as its foundation a goal to keep B&H in one piece as a sovereign and independent state) Vojislav Seselj is burning the Croatian flag in Serbia’s capital Belgrade, in front of Serbia’s government house, and threatening that he will only come to Croatia in a tank, and armed! Meanwhile, Serbia’s minister for work Aleksandar Vulin has obviously in the name of Serbia’s government intensified his anti-Croat hate speech, calling Croatia’s 1990’s war hero and general, Ante Gotovina, an Ustashe General and promoting still the lie that some 200,000 Serbs were deported forcefully from Croatia in 1995, ignoring the ICTY Appeals court ruling that there was no forceful deportation of Serbs from Croatia. (Ustashe were members of the Croatian Revolutionary movement in the period 1929-1945 and are considered an ultra-nationalist and fascist formation.A similar group in Serbia, during the same historic period, was the Chetniks.)

 

 

As one might expect, Milorad Pupovac, a member of Croatian parliament representing the Croatian Serb National Council support this Greater Serbia “warrior” and continues equating the 1990’s Croatian War of Independence with the WWII efforts towards Croatian independence. Serbia’s president Tomislav Nikolic had said that stringent measures under the law would be taken out against the person burning Croatia’s flag in Belgrade – but guess what – it’s been over a week and Vojislav Seselj still walks the streets of Serbia instead of being rounded up by Serbia’s authorities to prevent any further criminal actions while the burning of the flag is processed, and, to ensure Seselj returns to the ICTY to face judgment on charges of war crimes perpetrated against Croats and Bosniaks in Croatia, Vojvodina and B&H. Tomislav Nikolic sees the ICTY order to have Seselj returned to Hague as pressure against Serbia! The fact that Seselj stands accused of most heinous crimes against humanity does not seem to factor one iota in Nikolic’s thinking on due justice!
Furthermore, Serbia’s foreign minister and another of Seselj’s political “mates”, Ivica Dacic, said that the ICTY decision to seek Seselj’s return was “perfidious and scandalous” and jeopardised the stability of Serbia and the entire region. Never mind the fact that victims of Seselj’s war crimes spree deserve justice!

 

 

The ICTY Trial Chamber has last week ordered the ICTY Secretariat to contact the medical team of Vojislav Seselj (in Serbia) as soon as possible and furnish the Chamber with the latest information about the health condition of the accused. Meanwhile, Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic states that his government has no proof that Seselj is well again! I would have thought that organising public hate speeches, threatening Croatia, burning Croatia’s flag was proof enough that Seselj was quite well physically to be treated at medical facilities in the Hague for any physical ailment he may have and when it comes to his mental state – there’s ample proof that he needs to be behind bars as he is a danger to many innocent people!

To throw another element into the factor where Serbia will try everything and anything to avoid acceptance of its guilt for the horrible wars that ensued during the breakup of communist Yugoslavia, Serbia’s president Tomislav Nikolic has a few days ago announced that Serbia’s military forces would be marching in Moscow at the May celebrations of WWII victory! One may indeed raise ones eyebrows and ask: Why? This are the times when Serbia says it wants to join the EU and the EU is not in good terms with Russia, over Ukraine! Is Serbia giving up its plan to join the EU (its leaders’ political idol war criminal Vojislav Seslj says Serbia should not join the EU) or is Serbia, once again, intimidating the international community (EU) in order to, somewhat surreptitiously,  “bag” new acreage for Serbia – Serbian Republic in B&H – and get away with its denial of war crimes perpetrated during 1990’s?

 

 

As to Serbian plans to march in Moscow, Serbia’s political scientist Aleksander Pavic said that he believes that Serbia’s participation in the parade has a tremendous symbolic significance. “We are definitely part of the coalition [of victors], considering how many Serbs were killed in the Second World War. We had not one, but two anti-fascist projects, and we have the right to say that we were the first to rebel in a Europe enslaved by Nazism.” Pavic, like all Serbia’s leaders, have conveniently forgotten that Serbia’s WWII “rebellion” against Nazi enslavement came after Serbia under Milan Nedic exterminated, by May 1942, 94% of its Jews and became one of the first European countries to declare itself “Judenfrei” (Jew-free)! Serbia was like Russia during WWII: shouting to be anti-Nazi while murdering multitudes of innocent people! What a disgrace for humanity!

 

Although, last week Croatia had, after Seselj’s burning of the Croatian flag, called its Ambassador to Serbia back to Croatia for consultations it is of utmost importance that, within Croatia, some serious measures are put in place to protect the Croatian people and Croatia’s war veterans from Serb nationalist lies and the undermining of the sovereignty of Croatian state. Pressure might be on from the EU (and other parts of the world) to see neighbourly relations between Croatia and Serbia become more normal and moving towards reconciliation but this latest outpouring of hatred and lies against Croatia and the 1990’s War of Independence coming out of Serbia vividly demonstrate that Serbian and Serbs still do not see themselves as Croatia’s neighbours nor do they want to be neighbours – they still want a piece of Croatia for Serbia just as they want the same in Bosnia and Herzegovina! That is the ugly bottom line and the sooner the Croatian leadership acknowledge this truth publicly the better it will be for Croatia and its people; for democracy and freedom far and wide. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A. Ps. (Syd)

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