Croatia: A Nation’s Unrelenting Grief and Suffering On 29th Anniversary of Serb Aggression

Zeljko Glasnovic (Top centre), Jure Buric (bottom right corner), Tomislav Mercep (bottom right centre), Mato Mostarac (top right)

It has been a balmy breeze I stood in all this poignant week in Sydney, Australia, as I watched and participated in the profoundly moving emotions of the grieving Croatian nation. It was a week of the 29th anniversary of the blood-soaked fall of Vukovar in 1991, of bestial massacres of Croatians by Serbs in Skabrnja, of the death of widely revered hero who tried with all his might and unstoppable courage to prevent the Yugoslav and Serb aggressor decimating the Croatian people – Tomislav Mercep (according to multitude of credible claims, convicted by Croatian courts of war crimes on basis of trumped-up charges) and the death of dr. Anto Kovacevic, political prisoner of former communist Yugoslavia and a fearless activist for democratic and independent Croatia. I faced and saw multitudes of inconsolably sobbing widows, widowers and grown children, brothers, sisters, neighbours… of those Croatians whose life was brutally and cruelly cut short in the 1990’s during the Serb aggression against Croatia.

To make matters horribly worse and to keep the Croatian nation in perpetual grief (and anger) Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his government, which comprises of Serbs associated with 1990’s bloody aggression against Croatia, in this same week announces a new law that would provide war pensions even to the Serb civilian victims of the 1990’s in Croata! The agony Plenkovic and his government are inflicting upon Croatian victims of Serb aggression has no bounds it seems.

This Croatian government’s mindset is deplorable and depraved.  

As far as I can see that new law does not even take into consideration the fact that most Serb civilians in the rebel-Serb areas of Croatia brutalised, ethnically cleansed of Croats, occupied for years by those Serbs, would not satisfy the definition of civilians because they were complicit in one way or another with the aggression, tortures, banishments of Croats, murders … any so-called Serb civilians participated in Serb hostilities against Croats in Croatia before and during the Homeland War and the new law and its regulation does not appear to provide measures of essential proof as to who was a “true” civilian and who was a “civilian combatant”, helping willingly the anti-Croat Yugoslav and Serb military on their path of destruction, murder, genocide, torture, rape, ethnic cleansing.

I did not see during this week of mourning in Croatia either the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic or the President Zoran Milanovic summon the people of Croatia to look beyond grief, to believe that the deaths they mourned had not been in vain. The President Zoran Milanovic laid a wreath in Vukovar’s Ovcara memorial field where the Serbs in 1991 slaughtered hundreds of Croatian wounded and sick, carting them off to their execution at that spot from the devastated Vukovar Hospital but je said not a single word while or after laying the wreath; his lips did not move, not even in silent prayer for the slaughtered victims. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic walked with the procession from Vukovar’s hospital to the Ovcara killing field, saying that “it is important to pursue information about those still missing,” from the Homeland War. But in that procession of remembrance he took with him his deputy prime minister, Boris Milosevic, a Serb, who came to Vukovar to lay a wreath for the aggressor and murdering Serbs who died during their bestial attacks against Croatians!

Speaking about the presence of Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic in the procession of remembrance in Vukovar, Plenkovic said that “Croatia won the Homeland War and thus extended a hand for coexistence to minorities… These are the messages of the future, focused on the values we share…” To add salt to the wounds of the atrocious attempts to equate the victims with the aggressor in Croatia, the Special Envoy of the President of Serbia for Resolving the Issue of Missing Persons with Croatia, Veran Matic, also huddled in Vukovar with a wreath for victims. His presence is mockery of Croatians, both fallen and living – both he and Serbia’s President Aleksander Vucic have and had means to access information about the missing Croatians from the days of aggression and still after almost 30 years they all keep silent with that information, hiding it on purpose.  And there are no messages to that effect coming from either the President or the Prime Minister of Croatia!

As to Serb civilians being “civilian combatants” in aid of Serb aggression against Croatia I am reminded this week of the heart-wrenching story of a Croatian man from Croatia’s Vukovar who ended up in Sydney, Australia, to recover from unspeakable tortures by the hand of Serb “civilians” during the 1990’s after the International Red Cross had come across the Manjaca concentration camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mato Mostarac told his harrowing story in 1995 to the ABC TV documentary program Four Corners, which was producing the award-winning documentary film “The Coward’s War”, headed by Australia’s renowned investigative journalist Chris Masters. I myself assisted as psychologist and interpreter in the interviewing for the documentary film of the deeply traumatised survivors of Serb aggression.

Mato Mostarac’s Serb neighbours in Vukovar broke into his yard in late August 1991, beat his wife who cowered in pain and was paralysed from it, and forcefully took him with other Croats in a truck to the Begejci concentration camp in Serbia, for a while in Begejci and then transferred to the Serb-held Manjaca concentration camp (Bosnia and Herzegovina); a death camp of brutality unseen since WWII. Serbs cut and chopped Mato and the other Croatian victims with a razor blade over their bodies and faces, tortured and raped or forced them to watch a detainee father rape his detained son and vice versa… Many indications show that Serb civilians were largely not civilians but cruel torturers and murderers of Croats, in aid of the communist and Serb aggression against Croatia. When I met Mato Mostarac, his whole face and body were marked with numerous thin and long scars from razor blade cuts… Here is a bit of what Mato Mostarac told us at the shooting of the 1995 Australian state television documentary ABC “The Coward’s War”:

„After they (Serbs) took their turns I was completely covered in blood. I had a white jumper on, and everything was soaked in blood. I ate all my blood, dried blood, it dried all over me. I’d pluck it together with the fibres from the jumper and all that. I’d eat all that event the blood from my hair. I ate everything … hungry…hungry…and they just give you water…“

As to the passing of Tomislav Mercep and on the fact that some consider Mercep a national hero while others (mainly die-hard communists of former Yugoslavia) consider him a war criminal, here is what, according to Fenix Magazine, Croatian newspaper base din Germany, dr Jure Buric (wartime Mayor of devastated Dubrovnik, former member of Croatian Parliament) said this week:

„Tomislav Mercep – for some a hero, for others a criminal. The latter have a court verdict they can wave around for something like that, and the former have common sense and a good memory of his heroic deeds at a time when a rifle and a cannon and a pencil and a bad word attacked him and his homeland. Is it heroism to defend his home? It is! Is it heroism to defend your people? It is!

And? – there is further and no further. There is no further, because when a man defends himself, he can do something dishonourable, but even that dishonourable deed should be viewed through the prism of reality and the moment when we cannot all control our emotions and actions, because it is not a ballroom dance with pleasant music and chess. The buzzing of bullets and destructive grenades are the music here, and on the board are living, not wooden figures. So who is who ?! A punishment is enough for an honest man if he realises that he did something dishonourable, because he has to live with it. He doesn’t even need a punishment that will make the other side happy and drive him to the grave ahead of time.

For such a thing, courts and court scales are needed, on which everything should not be thrown in order for the desired party to prevail.

With Tomislav Mercep, the court scales tipped against him and it was not easy for him or us to watch the hero rot, like my friend the late prefect Đuro Brodarac (who died in prison), who was met by the same fate.

Only you, the latter, rejoice in his death, but know that there are infinitely many more of the former – those who mourn him and pray to God for his soul!“

As to Veran Matic’s visit to Vukovar this week representing Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic, retired general and former Member of Croatian Parliament, Zeljko Glasnovic, summarised so clearly and aptly the widespread sentiments across Croatia and its diaspora in his Facebook status:

„Veran, continue to be “faithful to your fatherland” and do not tell empty stories once a year when you come to Croatia. What kind of reconciliation are you talking about, what kind of cooperation and search for the missing are you talking about? You know where they went missing, why don’t you tell us Veran? You come to worship falsely and provoke false sympathy. Did you lay a wreath in the centre of Vukovar where in April, 45 years ago, 200 most prominent citizens of Vukovar were killed by the army that fought under the same five-pointed star under which Vukovar was destroyed in ’91? Did you lay a wreath at a mass execution site near Vukovar where 400 Croatian soldiers were killed by the same communist villains at the same time?

You will show the true respect you are talking about only when you say ‘SORRY, WE HAVE COMMITTED AGGRESSION AGAINST CROATS, we killed you, we raped your wives, we killed your children, we looted and burned your homes, we demolished your churches, we took out eyes, cut off hands, ears and fingers of your defenders, we buried them in pits, because of us mothers do not know where the graves of their children are, we have turned your people into refugees, we killed civilians and the wounded, we massacred them, we abused them, we are still silent today about where your missing are, SORRY WE REPENT.’

The persistent equating of the victim with the aggressor does not make your kneeling credible, Veran, no matter how much you cause your knees to bleed in Ovcara and other execution sites, you and those who will come after you. Veran, what kind of delay in normalisation and the search for the missing are you talking about? There is no delay, WE do not know Veran where our people disappeared to, YOU know and are silent. Who’s at a standstill here?

Tell us, Veran, who carried out the aggression on Croatia – we defended ourselves, and died while defending our country for the freedom of our people. After your ‘pal’ Sljivancanin (Veselin) was released from prison (after serving two-thirds of 17-year sentence for ICTY war crimes in Vukovar conviction) he gave a statement that ‘he did not finish his job in Vukovar’, and you would like to reconcile? You are covering up crimes against Croats just as all Croatian governments are covering up the communist crimes from World War II.

Veran, until the last bone is found, until you all kneel and cry over your crimes, until all your war criminals are punished, until you pay the last penny, until you admit aggression, until you open the archives, NONE of you need to come to any of our anniversaries. ALL of you, Veran, are persona non grata in Croatia for me. And not only you, but also half of our government that cooperates with you as the UDBA (communist Yugoslavia Secret Services) did to cover up and forget as many crimes as possible. A prime example of this, despite all the relevant evidence, is the honourable man Nikola Kajkic, who exposed you and was no longer suitable for our institutions while in the case of the betrayal and surrender of our generals to The Hague they were very expeditious and quick: “Locate, identify, arrest, transfer “. You just continue kneeling, Veran, our killed people also knelt before you as you (all)  brutally executed them – but they received no mercy.“

No memorial or monument to Croatian suffering such as Ovcara/Vukovar and Skabrnje during the 1990’s Homeland War should be a diving board for politics and especially not the politics of equating the victim with the aggressor. This is unacceptable, cruel and designed to keep the Croatian people who fought for and defended Croatia and Croatians for independence. Perpetual grief for the sufferings Croatians endured or fell victim to has not yet steeled the Croatian people for the future they lost rivers of blood for in the Homeland War. Grief should unite towards building a better future but, alas, the Croatian government and leadership continue interrupting that positive outcome from national grief…their sights are set on diminishing the value and the direction Croatian people took at the risk of their own lives from the very bloody dawn of Serb aggression. Time to put the foot down against the thugs in Croatian government and leadership who equate brazenly and cruelly the victim with the aggressor. Ina Vukic

Croatia – Heed The Book Of Amos

 

On 30th August 1991 sixteen Croats were killed and 95 wounded in Vukovar in the attack by the Belgrade-;ed Yugoslav People’s Army and Serbian terrorists; Vinkovac and Nustar were viciously attacked also.

30th August 1993 the International Conference on the protection of victims in Geneva coined a phrase: never since WWII has there been so many civilians exposed to the cruelties in war as those imposed by the war led by Serbia against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

30th August 2020 the Croatian government treads a dangerous path of reconciliation with the Serb aggressor by taking more steps in equating the Homeland War victims (Croats) with the Homeland War aggressor (terrorist Serbs from Croatia and Serbia). Individual deaths of Serbs in Croatia during the war are given more or equal weight to the mass deaths of Croatians and ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs.

Amos’s message (The Book Amos) stands as one of the most powerful voices ever to challenge hypocrisy and injustice. Salvation comes through judgment, Amos teaches us. Hence, you must first be judged in order to be saved and what the Croatian government and President are doing is to free the Serbs and Serbia from being duly judged for their brutal aggression against Croatia and saved regardless of the fact they have not been judged.

But, Croatia stands strongly divided on this unnatural process of reconciliation.

The culture of competitive victimhood is detrimentally promoted by the minority Croatian government who has chosen to collaborate with members of former rebel Serbs in Croatia (the aggressors) rather than with those who uphold the values of the Croatian Homeland War of 1990’s. Using lies and half-truths the government of Croatia is helping its Serbian coalition partners to upstage the Croats as to who was the biggest victim in the Homeland War! The fact that Serbs were the cruel and genocidal aggressors and the Croats in absolute need to defend their lives and homes from such a cruel aggression has been buried for the sake of the government’s reconciliation politics that rest on competitive victimhood.

As elsewhere in the world so too in Croatia, the single greatest challenge in politics right now into which seemingly every single debate and issue and struggle Croatia has fits into is how we handle disagreement. The Croatian social media and independent media as well as some mainstream media are filled with bitter disagreements with what the Croatian government is doing:

Almost humiliating the Croatian people and veterans who fought the Serb aggressor and saved Croatia not only from continued communist oppression but also from continued oppression from Greater Serbia appetites in Croatia.

Just a few recent examples of humiliating the Croatians and their glorious victory over the brutal Serb aggressor easily slot into the formula for reconciliation which spells out disaster for the Croatian nation. These are the commemoration of six Serbs killed in Grubore on 25 August 1995, the comments made by Milorad Pupovac a couple of days ago that he will insist on making Serbs in Croatia feel safe…all in all, fuelling the competitive victim culture so that the Serb aggression ends up not looking so bad!

Many Croats in Croatia and outside it are angry, bitter, there is a lot of upset. The former rebel Serbs in Croatia as well as members of government, especially the communist Yugoslavia nostalgics,  seem to have lost the capacity to disagree with the Croats who keep providing them with the need to reconcile the Homeland War through what it was: a victory over the aggressive neighbour (Serbia) who never acted neighbourly. The former rebel Serbs, Serbia, Croatian government and the Croatian President keep coming up with individual examples of supposed injustice to the Serb aggressor or their civilian population in Croatia who were not civilian but often armed and always aggressive towards their Croat neighbours. They have lost the national perspective of it all because they never had the Croatian national perspective and they never wanted an independent Croatia.

To butter-up this atrocious political garbage that panders only to former communists and Serb aggressor against Croatia in the 1990’s Milorad Pupovac, Member of Croatian Parliament for Serb minority, said a few days ago in his statement to the Croatian public television that “it’s a big deal that the Andrej Plenkovic cabinet and President Zoran Milanovic, together with us from the Serb community, have decided to change the trend and stop the spreading of hate produced by war.”

Well – no hate was produced by the war – hate against independent Croatia started the War and pursued its destructive path against Croats all the way, to today. Croats do not hate Serbs, many Serbs helped Croatia defend itself against Serb aggression, but Croats as a rule do not like injustice and liars!

The hallmark of every great civilisation is not how it handles agreement but how it handles disagreement. Handled badly, as the Croatian government and President do, disagreement with the national plight and deserved status inevitably leads to the development of hatred, that is, their disagreement with the Croatian national plight is interpreted as hatred for the Croatian national plight.

In the Book of Amos, Chapter 5 where it says “There are those who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground”; Chapter 6, where it says “you have turned justice into gall (bitterness), so all your righteousness tastes like poison fruit” what the prophet is saying is that if the quest for justice becomes bitter, even if you get it right, it tastes like poison to everyone. The cries for justice in Croatia for the Homeland War are very bitter because its government in association with its former Serb rebels and aggressors have turned away for justice to the Croatian fallen defenders in the war of Serb Aggression and justice for war reparations.

What the Croatian government seems to be wanting to achieve in its profoundly flawed reconciliation politics is the perception that there were only victims (Croatians and Serbs) in the Croatian Homeland War of 1990’s and no perpetrators of criminal aggression! This is the stuff powder keg for future unrest is made of and it has nothing to do with any ethnic rivalries between Serbs and Croats they are trying to peddle to the world but it has everything to do with falsifying the facts of that recent history, with hypocrisy equating victim with the aggressor.

There is a distinction between legal term and psychological term of victim. When in law we talk about a victim what we mean is that there was a perpetrator of a crime and then the person who suffered that crime and in order to restore justice one has to fight for the right of that victim. When justice collapses in the society hope collapses with it.  So, it is always important tom think about how to figure out what is right. That is the right or healthy thing to do, but in the psychology of competitive victim culture, which appears to be promulgated by the current politics of reconciliation in Croatia, there is a wrong or unhealthy side.  As Psychologists have for decades talked about competitive victim culture this what is happening in Croatia at the moment is fundamentally unhealthy. The reconciliation politics that the Croatian government is pushing for in partnership with the Serb aggressor is trying to train the victim (Croats) that they are not victims, the only victims! Accelerating the destructive competitive victimhood in the Croatian state.

When we are talking about victim culture, psychologically we are dealing with something vary difficult and very dangerous and that’s why Amos talks about not turning justice bitter.

Competitive victimhood narrative in Croatia falls into the usual formula: you did this, yes but you did this … both sides, Croat and Serb are forced into a competition to see who has been hurt the most, when the truth and justice is a very simple thing to deliver. And this is utterly wrong. It is a fact that Croatia was attacked in 1990’s by Serbia and rebel Serbs from within. The Croatian government is pandering to the European Union undercurrents of politically and morally corrupt push for equating victims with aggressors so that peaceful co-existence may be achieved. What a monstrously corrupt and unfair proposition!

Amos stressed that social justice was the key to building an enduring future. Unfortunately, many people fail in Croatia to heed him – the social justice for Croatia has only one entry door and that door is to heed the message of 1990’s 94% of voters choosing to rid themselves of Yugoslav communism and oppression – completely. This has not been done, this door has been shut by former communists, if anything, the powers that be since year 2000 are chipping that choice away, making it almost null and void by forcing a reconciliation with the unrepentant aggressor, who did not and does not like that choice the people made. The possible consequences of such reconciliation politics are too ugly to contemplate.

The Book of Amos tells us that the transgressions that require judgment are nearly entirely comprised of acts of oppression. It is hard to read the book of Amos and not conclude that the Lord is deeply moved when one nation deals cruelly with another, or when the weak and helpless in society are crushed by the powerful. The entire book of Amos shines a powerful light on society, revealing its dishonesty, corruption, and violence. That being the case, overwhelming disaster naturally follows.

Croatians must not allow competitive victimhood to become a debilitating issue for the independent nation that arose from the rivers of blood during the 1990’s Homeland War. They must take action against the injustices with role models that uphold and act on the truth behind the fight for independence. Otherwise, they will be rendered helpless and their future controlled by the very same force that attacked Croatia and its people.

For real and lasting reconciliation facilitating forgiveness among groups involved in brutal conflicts, even in intractable conflicts, requires reducing competitive victimhood which stems from the conflicting parties’ motivation to restore power and a positive moral image. While Croatian Serbs and the Croatian government are trying to dig out any event that saw even a single Serb killed wrongfully in Croatia during their aggression against Croatia and flag that as overwhelming evidence to say that Croats too were brutal, if not more brutal than Serbs, there will be no reconciliation. The Croatian government and President have got it wrong! One cannot bring about lasting and true reconciliation post a brutal and genocidal aggression without the aggression being nationally condemned and called by the name it deserves! One cannot ask for forgiveness for a deed if that deed has not been established in the national creed as a deed that requires forgiveness. The Croatian government of today with its Serb partners are trying to further erode the factual history of the Croatian War of Independence and that the War did ensue because of Serb aggression; brutal one at that!

The way things stand at this moment it appears that the people rather than the government in Croatia take heed of the Book of Amos. Changes that give true credence to Croatia’s War of Independence as the foundation modern Croatia is built on are on the horizon, visible from the Croatian grassroots. They are in the unrest and painful discomfort that the current government reconciliation politics are causing among a widespread Croatian population that voted for independence, that fought for independence, that has lost family lives for independence.  Ina Vukic

Serb Aggression Reconciliation Needs Serious Introspect

 

To escape from any dire situation requires that you accept two truths: the truth of how you got there and the truth of how you can get out. And the sad truth is that, in all these years since Serb (and Montenegrin) aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (early 1990’s) Serbia’s leadership and the squalling (about victimhood) that underpins its Greater Serbia movement has dragged into the European Union like a mischievous dog, already changing the parameters of would-be-reconciliation into new politics that are not likely to see reconciliation reaching the light of day any time soon.

Truth and reconciliation commissions are something that typically happens to countries that have been truly brutalised and can find no other way past their national traumas. When initiatives for such truth commissions comes from the one who brutalised in the first place, from the one who has denied and twisted the truth for decades one can say with confidence that only through Divine intervention can such truth commissions fully succeed with reconciliation.

“We have solid arguments for Croatia’s involvement, because NGOs have information on war victims and crimes that state institutions do not have. This is also important for victims and for restoring trust,” said 23 May 2018 Belgrade, Serbia, based Natasa Kondic, honorary president of the Belgrade Humanitarian Law Centre and one of the initiators for the establishment of RECOM, a regional fact-finding commission for the establishment of facts about war crimes and other violations of human rights committed in former Yugoslavia from January 1, 1991 until December 31, 2001. It’s been dubbed as “Truth Commission”! And Kondic is digging up arguments why Croatia should get involved with such a commission. How much of truth and whose truth this commission is likely to promote is anyone’s guess – given the disasters and the political prostitution of truth presented on several occasions through the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

I would suggest to Kondic to hand over to the proper authorities the information about war crimes she claims to have and stop disrespecting the victims of those crimes.

Horror! Where in the world does a person admit publicly of knowledge of information about war crimes committed that state institutions do not have? Well, in Serbia, it seems. Does this information refer to so far covered up and un-prosecuted war crimes? Is it a scenario for political play and wrangling in a region filled with still fresh blood from crimes committed when Serbia attacked Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s? Is it a yet another angle and edge that gives Serbia more time to keep denying its crime of aggression and bloodshed, all in justification of its Greater Serbia expansion? You can be sure its not about justice for victims, if it was then any such alleged information should have been in the hands of authorities as soon as it came to light.

Civil society organisations from Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro have called on the Croatian authorities during the week to support the establishment of RECOM. The NGO in Croatia that has joined hands with Serbia’s and Montenegro’s (both aggressors against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) is Documenta. An organisation whose pockets are lined by the likes of George Soros and governments still controlled by staunch former communists still in grief for losing Yugoslavia!

And wouldn’t you know it (!), former president of Croatia Ivo Josipović appointed Zlata Djurdjevic, law professor from the University of Zagreb, as his envoy to RECOM a while back, and she reportedly participated in the drafting of the RECOM Statute. This is the same president of Croatia whose father, a former communist Yugoslavia, stands accused of horrific communist crimes against innocent Croatian people after WWII but justice has eluded him as it has others of such dark calibre.

Why would Croatia want to join RECOM at this stage when Serbia still negates and denies its role of aggression against Croatia! It stands to good reason that it does not go down that path as that path has all the hallmarks of political agenda that does not include truth and reconciliation. To demonstrate how Serbia operates in the realm of internationally desired reconciliation after the 1990’s war of Serbian aggression one only needs to look in the actions of Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic upon his visit to Croatia a few months ago. Multitudes of Croatian people protested against this visit, holding with anger among other things that Serbia still hides information about hundreds of missing Croats from the war, but Croatia’s president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic insisted on welcoming Vucic in Croatia, for good reconciliatory reason, she claimed. So, as such political things go, when Vucic handed to Croatia a number of files on missing persons the media went all out to build a hopeful picture that, finally, the missing can be found and their remains given a Christian burial…that Vucic has finally come clean in the name of Serbia!

Yeah, right!

However, the Croatian Commission for Imprisoned and Missing Persons – part of the War Veterans’ Ministry – after inspecting the files Vucic brought found that the information handed over had turned out to be about missing people whose remains or destinies had already been found! Vucic, Serbia, had no intention on handing over any information that would lead to finding the remains of victims of Serb aggression who are still missing. So much for good faith and will for reconciliation, which is always founded on truth.

And now we get a serving of Kondic who claims she and NGO’s have information on war crimes that authorities don’t! Kondic from Serbia is not the only one to keep information of war crimes hidden from authorities. According to Novi List news portal, Vesna Terselic from the Centre for dealing with the past, Documenta, from Zagreb, had announced that the data on victims, which this organisation has compiled for Croatia, would be available to the regional commission once it was established, “regardless of the decision of the Croatian institutions on whether to join RECOM “.

What are the Croatian authorities doing? It’s obvious that the possession of information on war crimes revealed by Kondic and Terselic suggests that such information has contents for war crimes that may not yet have been processed or prosecuted!(?)

Generally, the London Summit on Western Balkans will focus on three aims:

• increasing economic stability with a view to improving the business environment, encouraging entrepreneurship, addressing youth unemployment, and promoting regional inter-connectivity

• strengthening regional security co-operation to help tackle common threats, including corruption, serious and organised crime, trafficking of people, drugs and firearms, terrorism and violent extremism

• facilitating political co-operation – to help the region resolve bilateral disputes and overcome legacy issues stemming from the conflicts of the 1990s and strengthen democracy and gender equality.

As to the last aim above, issues to do with the war, one would think that it should draw firm lines between the aggressor (Serbia and Montenegro) and the victim states (Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) of the 1990’s and put a stop to equating them. The idea of RECOM appears to feed into the madness of equating the victim with the aggressor. For this reason, among others, it is a welcome thing that official Croatian involvement with RECOM had stopped with the exit of Josipovic as the country’s President and the exit of Zoran Milanovic as Prime Minister.

At the conference or summit in London the Initiative for RECOM has announced their plan to compile a consolidated list of all victims of the 1990s wars by 2025, as well as causes and circumstances of their suffering, “because that year (the remaining) countries of the Western Balkans want to become EU members.” Expansion of EU is becoming more and more like a market place for trading with the truth and half-truths; and prolonging the agony for victims who should have had justice years back.

It has been said in the EU power-wielding circles that The Truth Commission should ensure that the minimal standards of the right to the truth are met, through the establishment of a common database of facts about war-related violations of human rights, building on the legacy of the ICTY.

The problem lies in the fact that ICTY’s legacy has more to do with twisting the notable amount of truth via a number of shady testimonies, political garble, false claims of political agendas and the like and equating the victim with the aggressor than it has to do with absolute truth. In such a political war and political clutter, reconciliation has no hope without pointing a firm finger at the aggressor – Serbia. It is then that truth will out: who were the parties (countries) forced to defend own life and self-preservation in the first instance in 1990’s former Yugoslavia? The answer to that will facilitate the absolute truth in all its details.

If EU wants to find a way for countries to relate to one another it needs to show and demand that all are aware of history and the roots of its bloody events. It is not enough to count the bodies in order to achieve reconciliation, which is what EU wants – the aggressor must be held to account and atone. Reconciliation begins with that, without it, it simply does not even start in the true sense of the word. Defending own life and right to self-preservation become points and real justice is thrown to the wolves. Ina Vukic

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