Today’s Croatian Responsibilities – No Cyrillic in Vukovar

Remember Vukovar - No Cyrillic in Vukovar  Photo:

Remember Vukovar – No Cyrillic in Vukovar Photo:

By Dr. Slobodan Lang (10 February 2013)
Translated into English by Ina Vukic

The most important question for today’s Croatia is, by far, that of its demographic health. A wrong diagnosis is a criminal act in medicine and a right diagnosis without therapy, is immoral. The whole truth must be determined and, on basis of that, the moset effective help needs to be set. Demographic health of today’s Croatia comprises of: maintenance and spacing of population, employment, ageing and ecology.

This is the fundamental responsibility of all citizens, of the academic community, of the economy, of religion and especially of politics. Only those political parties and politicians who offer solutions to these questions are to be supported.

Alongside of this, of course, we also need to attend to safety, to our reputation in the world and to our own dignity.

Emphasising other questions is merely diverting people’s attention, provoking conflicts and avoiding political and professional responsibility.

Satan attempted to provoke Jesus so that he materially overestimates the power and insubstantial politics. Jesus emphasised the importance of the spiritual, God’s power and personal responsibility. However, he did not persecute Satan because he knew that the only way is to find the truth and realisation of the good, and not in battles against lies and evil.

The demand for Cyrillic script in Vukovar is yet another attempt to vilify Croatia throughout the world and to divert the attention to secondary questions.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judgements on joint criminal enterprise are, today, the most important factors for relations world’s towards Croatia and for the relations between Croats and Serbs in Croatia.

Joint criminal enterprise (JCE) is a legal doctrine introduced by the ICTY in the trials against political and military leaders of former Yugoslavia, for mass war crimes, including genocide, during the wars of 1991 – 1999.

The court had assessed that without certain actions of cooperation and coordination it is practically impossible to carry out the crimes such as genocide or crimes against humanity.

In trials after World War II we find the first indication of JCE under the name of  “joint goal”.

JCE was used by ICTY for the first time at the Dusko Tadic’s judgment, 1999.

During Slobodan Milosevic’s trial the joint criminal enterprise was defined as forceful deportation of non-Serb population from the territories where Serb authorities wanted to establish or maintain Serb control.

With regards to wars in Croatia 1991 – 1995, the Tribunal considered two joint criminal enterprises, that of “Serbian forces” against Croats and that of “Croatian forces” against Serbs.

According to ICTY, “Serbian forces” had, through 1736 days (from 1st April 1991, at the latest, to 31st December 1995, at least), engaged in joint criminal enterprise with the goal that most Croats and other non-Serb population, through criminal acts be removed permanently from a large part of Croatian territory in order to create a Serb ethnic territory, which the Serb leaders called Serbian Republic of Krajina (SRK).

Participants in this joint criminal enterprise personally included: Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Martic, Milan Babic, Goran Hadzic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic (Frenki), Vojislav Seselj, Radovan Stojcic (Badza), Veljko Kadijevic, Blagoje Adzic, Radmilo Bogdanovic, Mihalj Kertes and Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan).

The participants were also political leaders in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, Republic of Serbia, leaders of Croatian and Bosnian Serbs, as well as leaders of “Serbian forces”. “Serbian forces” are: Yugoslav People’s Army, Serbian Army of Krajina, Territorial Organisation of Republic of Serbia and special units of ministry of internal affairs/ state security of Republic of Serbia for anti-terrorist activities and special operations, “Red berets”  and/or “Frenkovians”; “Scorpions”, “Arkanovians”, “Martic’s police”, members of Serb para-military groups from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia (including volunteers from the Serbian Chetnik movement and/or Serb Radical Party – “Chetniks” or “Seseljovians”).

Those convicted for joint criminal enterprise so far are: Milan Babic (12th July 2005), and Milan Martic (8th October 2008), and Goran Hadzic trial is still in process.

With the acquittal of Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, 16th November 2012, the ICTY has forever rejected that joint criminal enterprise with the goal of permanently removing Serb civilian population from “Krajina” was carried out, through the 90 days (from July to 30th September 1995).

After this judgment, it was the duty of the President of Republic of Croatia, of Croatian Government, of Croatian Parliament, of Croatian Academy of Sciences and the Arts, of the universities and of the media to consider in its entirety the joint criminal enterprise in creating Croatia. This is particularly important because Croatian defence, the Generals and President Tudjman had prevented a much greater suffering – which is constantly denied through lies and vilification.

There are only three lines about JCE in the Croatian Wikipedia, and in the English version the indicted Croats are listed, even after they have been acquitted. How is it shown in our history textbooks? Today’s authorities have rewarded the author with the position of Croatian Ambassador in Paris for his shameful and untruthful portrait of Croatian history.

The work of the ICTY is nearing to an end. Only Goran Hadzic and Vojislav Seselj are still on trial for the war in Croatia. Six Croats and Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladic, Vojislac Seselj (Serbs) are still on trial for the war in Bosnia.

To date, 18 Serbs and 2 Croats have expressed their remorse for the acts they had perpetrated. Those from Croatia are Milan Babic – president of the 1991/92 self-proclaimed government of Serbian Republic of Krajina (SRK), and Miodrag Jokic – commander in the Yugoslav War Navy, which was responsible for the attack on Dubrovnik.

Milan Babic has, in stronger terms than anyone else, appraised, described and expressed remorse for JCE perpetrated by the “Serbian forces”.  Given that, as far as I know, the Croatian public is not practically aware of this, I’m giving here the most important (according to me) parts of what Babic said:

Innocent people were persecuted, innocent people were forcefully ejected from their homes and innocent people were killed.

I allowed myself to participate in the program of the worst kind against people only because they were Croats, and not Serbs.

Only the truth can give a chance to Serbian people to unload themselves from the collective shame.

These crimes and my participation in them can never be justified.

Even after I had discovered what had happened, I remained silent about it.

I come before this Tribunal with deep feelings of shame and repentance.

The regret that I feel because of that is the pain with which I must live for the rest of my life.

I can only hope that by bringing out the truth, by admitting to guilt and by expressing my remorse I can serve as an example to those who still wrongfully believe that such inhuman actions could ever be justified”.

Until Serbia condemns Memorandum of neo-Nazism, Croatia will remain endangered. At the very beginning of President Josipovic’s mandate, young Jastreb (Hawk) and I warned him not to enter into any arbitrary or superficial reconciliation. We have never been in conflict with Serbs or with Germans, but we are not prepared to come to terms with Nazism. Josipovic did not invite us for talks, but he has evidently burned himself and is now more careful. Perhaps he also doesn’t like it too much when Pupovac (Milorad) lectures him from time to time, but he doesn’t have the courage to react.

Completely unacceptable statements are coming from Serbia, from politics, from academic community and the church. Serbia, in its Constitution, needs to recognise the European borders set after Allied victory, nonaggressive solution to disputes with neighbours, reject the use of its army for aggression and persecution of other nations and express universal rights of all people. Until that happens, we can talk about relations with the neighbours, but not about friendship. Only this way Croatia respects the right of greater majority of good people in Serbia and long-term interests of all.

About 250 million people in Europe use Cyrillic; half of them are Russian. With Bulgaria’s entry into the European Union, 1997, Cyrillic (along with Latin and Greek script) had become an official script in EU.

84 languages, in the world, use Cyrillic, 37 Turkish, 23 Indo-European and the rest all the way to Eskimos. Among them is Juhuri, the language of the Jews from the hills of Caucasus.

Vuk Karadzic developed Serb Cyrillic at the beginning of the 19th century, and from 2006 it is constitutionally proclaimed as the official script of Serbia.

The attempt to introduce Cyrillic in Vukovar is an attempt to impose much lesser importance to much greater human rights (demographic health, justice and the truth about the creation of the state, security), and exclude legitimacy in the name of legality. I am not a lawyer, but I know that Huckleberry Finn was right when he helped his black friend escape from slavery, even though it was against the law of that time. To maliciously and unprofessionally call for the use of Cyrillic in Vukovar is completely unacceptable and impermissible.

Croatia should introduce Cyrillic when Serbia is accepted into the EU, the same way as … Ireland or Portugal.

Our citizens are not equal in Vukovar. For peace’s sake we gave special rights to certain people of Serb nationality. Today’s Croats are dissatisfied; they feel injustice and endangerment.

The Croatian anthem alerts us with the words: “ … Danube, do not lose your might, Deep blue sea go tell the whole world, That a Croat loves his homeland…” But Croatia has already lost a lot of Danube’s might, in Zemun and in Syrmia, and the message we send to the world is too weak.

The whole city of Vukovar is a living symbol of Croatian suffering, and the whole of Dubrovnik of Croatian culture. During the creation and defence of Croatia both have suffered particularly and we defended both, particularly. They are still not secure or equal nor connected to Croatia. At the instigation of the distinguished lawyer, politician and friend, Bosiljko Misetic, I propose that there be an immediate appointment of a non-political group of distinguished and professional people to draft special laws on Croatian Dubrovnik and Vukovar.  I propose to the president of the Republic and the Parliament to immediately call the leaders of the Peaceful Reintegration (Skare, Vrkic and Klein), the war veterans, Mr Misetic and myself regarding talks on realisation of this proposal – of course, that’s if they care about Croatian Dubrovnik and Vukovar.

Dr Slobodan Lang   Photo: Pixsell

Dr Slobodan Lang Photo: Pixsell

About dr. Slobodan Lang. Born to Jewish family 8 October 1945 in Zagreb, Croatia. Physician, author, writer, politician and former personal adviser to the first Croatian President dr. Franjo Tudjman. His paternal grandfather Ignjat was the president of the Jewish community in Vinkovci (Croatia) and his grandmother Terezija was a housewife. In 1941 Catholic priest Hijacint Bošković, distinguished Dubrovnik and Croatian Dominican, was engaged in an extraordinary attempt to rescue the Langs from Nazi persecution. Bošković traveled from Dubrovnik to Vinkovci with a special permit that allowed him to relocate the Langs to Dubrovnik. Langs grandfather refused to leave, saying that he “was the president of Jews in peace and he will stay one in the war”. Both of his grandparents were killed in the concentration camp during the Holocaust. He graduated at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine and is a specialist in social medicine. (
Related post: No Cyrillic in Vukovar – Thank you!

Croatia: Bridge over troubled water

Peljesac Bridge

Connecting Croatian territory into a continuous body of land has become addled by political rumdumm from all sides (Croatian and Bosnian and Herzegovinian). The issue of Peljesac Bridge that would provide for the uninterrupted access to all Croatian districts and land, border issue, hots up as Croatia’s imminent entry into the European Union draws nearer to July 1, 2013.

As things stand now, persons wanting to travel by car from northern part of Croatia into Dubrovnik, Peljesac Peninsula, the islands of Mljet, Vis, Lastovo, Korcula etc must enter Bosnia and Herzegovina and 5 kilometers later re-enter Croatia. And vice versa!

Membership of the EU, which is supposed to lead to membership of the EU’s Schengen area of borderless travel, requires stricter checks at the border and having Croatia broken into two as is now will mean greater disruption of trade and tourism. Bosnia’s problems with organised crime and people-smuggling mean that those tougher checks cannot be relaxed or overlooked.

The idea to build Peljesac Bridge arose among Croatians in 1997 and rejected in the same year. In 1998 the idea for the bridge gained support. In 2000 the bridge was added to the spatial plan for the Dubrovnik-Neretva County of Croatia. The building works on the bridge commenced in November 2005, under Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ government. Then came concerns by eco-activists that building the bridge may cause damage to sea life in the Bay of Mali Ston (which flourishes with Oyster & Mussels farming). These concerns proved unfounded, and then came new opposition to building the bridge on economic grounds. I.e., that the bridge would cost too much money; that an undersea tunnel would cost less; that some new deal could perhaps be made with Bosnia and Herzegovina…that if the bridge was going to be built it would need to be at least 55 meters high to allow for biggest ships – as nearby seaside Bosnia & Herzegovina town of Neum might want to build an industrial port one day!

Between 2007 and 2008 tenders were called by Croatian government for the building of the bridge. Works on access terrain to future bridge started from both sides in Autumn 2008 under the Croatian Democratic Union government, with 2015 nominated as the year of completion.

In late 2011 when Social Democrat/SDP led government took over in Croatia they terminated the building contract already in progress worth about 259 Million EURO. Early 2012 Zoran Milanovic led government said that ferrying people across the Bay would be less expensive. That fell into the wastebasket as a terrible idea and one that still does not join all Croatian territory. Then the SDP led government came up with the idea that a road corridor through Bosnia and Herzegovina would perhaps be better. In the meantime Tomislav Karamarko, leader of HDZ opposition, insisted that Peljesac Bridge must be build. That coincided with EU coming into the party – suggesting EU funds could perhaps be used to build the bridge, and certainly 200,000 EURO have been put aside last month for a feasibility study (even though a feasibility study exists from before) for the bridge.

But this rumdumm ain’t over yet, and one cannot avoid the impression that someone out there doesn’t want to see the Croatian territory uninterrupted.

Along come new complications in the past few weeks. Bosnia and Herzegovina are disputing the border around the area where the bridge is to be built. I.e., a document purporting to represent an agreement between dr Franjo Tudjman (President of Croatia) and Alija Izetbegovic (Bosniak member of Bosnian-Herzegovinian Presidency) in 1999.  This is a border agreement with which Croatia reportedly transfers to Bosnia and Herzegovina the tip of the Klek peninsula and two tiny islets Mali and Veliki Skoj near the proposed Peljesac bridge site. The Milanovic government decided recently to pass the agreement for ratification in Parliament, thus causing fiery disputes in Croatia’s public domain, which grew into delicate attacks between President Ivo Josipovic and the government, stirring the spirits among experts too. The document is reportedly ratified by the lower chamber of Bosnia’s parliament and whether it will be ratified in the Croatian parliament is yet to be seen. There are new calls against possible swift ratification, including comments by Tomislav Karamarko, leader of HDZ opposition, that late President Tudjman was very ill at the time in 1999 and may not have been fully informed or aware of implications of the so-called agreement.

The political plot thickens around Peljesac Bridge and southern Croatian beauties such as Dubrovnik and Korcula, with significant population and tourism industry remain cut off from the bulk of their homeland.

While according to international law Croatia has the right to connect its territory by building a bridge, Bosnia and Herzegovina also has a right to a free access to the sea, but the madness in this is that some think that if Peljesac bridge were to be built it might need to be over 75 meters high in order to cater for the possibility (wishful thinking) that one day the largest of passenger cruisers might just pay a visit to Neum; others say that Bosnia and Herzegovina might want to build a commercial harbour in Neum which means one needs to provide for tall industrial cranes, up to 75 meters or so!

Bosnia, headed by foreign minister Zlatko Lagumdzija, says the bridge threatens its access to open seas and would prefer a closed road corridor in the hinterland above Neum.

Well, there seems to be at least one sober person in this madness: portal reports that Neum’s mayor Zivko Matusko welcomes Peljesac bridge and does not want his municipality split in two by the corridor Croatia’s SDP led government still hasn’t put to rest. Matusko urges the parties to sit down, reach an agreement and stop trading with territory. He rejected a possibility of building a cargo port in Neum, saying that the town’s strategy was to develop tourism and the terrain and sea depth around Neum are simply not suited for large commercial port. He said that a maritime port could only be in the nearby Croatian town of Ploce.

With all the idiocy Lagumdzija swivels around about big ships and cranes filling little Neum’s foreshores in some distant future the Croatian government seems to have forgotten that a great proportion of its population lives in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and deserve, have a right to, uninterrupted access to the rest of Croatia, and vice versa – as soon as possible. It’s not just entering EU that’s important in this matter, it’s the right of Croatia to connect its territory into a united whole and a bridge is the best solution. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Calls to annul the Croatian EU accession referendum question its legitimacy

Vladimir Seks

An enormous legal storm seems to be brewing in Croatia.

Almost the minute the referendum results were announced (late in the night of  22 January) in favour of EU accession the former deputy parliamentary speaker of Croatia, Vladimir Seks (HDZ), boasted: “…without the changes in the Constitution, agreed to between HDZ and SDP, the referendum would not have passed.”

It is thus official: the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), in power to December 2011, and Social Democratic Party (SDP), in power since December 2011 had agreed to adjust the Referendum law in 2010 to secure a future “sure win” for the case of European Union accession referendum.

The last couple of days saw some interesting but disturbing developments in Croatia regarding the EU referendum.

The pro-EU camp is attempting to argue the reduction of the actual number of registered voters in order to bump up the overall turnout numbers above 50%. (The turnout vis-a-vis total number of registered voters was a poor 44% according to Croatian Electoral Office).

Certainly, the idea that the Croatian electoral roll is in shambles is by no means new. In the aftermath of the past couple of general elections there’d been protests that there seemed to be more registered voters on the roll than citizens eligible to vote. Estimates of up to half million of “suspect” registered voters had been bandied around. But, no one it seems did anything about it.

Serious commotion regarding the electoral roll commenced when, on 25th January, the  Dubrovnik online portal published an article claiming that the referendum was neither constitutional nor legal. This claim was backed by legal assessment of the laws governing referendums. I.e. it claims that while decisions are made on basis of majority votes among the votes actually cast, this must be under the condition that the majority of registered voters actually cast their votes.

It is claimed that the Parliament had omitted to adjust the new 2010 Referendum Act and, hence, the pre-existing condition of majority of registered voters to cast votes remains.

The problem seems to be that in accordance with Constitutional law for the enforcement of the Croatian constitution, articles of the changed Referendum constitution cannot be applied prior to their enactment that is, prior to the adjustment of the referendum law.

Media reports lead us to believe that an application to the Croatian Constitutional court for assessment of the validity of the referendum results is already on its way.

If such sloppy work in processing new laws by the Croatian parliament is proven by the Constitutional court it’s high time to bring in a new, mighty broom and sweep the “old geezers”, the stale political elite, out. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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