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

Outrageous UN-Court Rape Of Croatian Historical Truth And Global Common Sense

General Slobodan Praljak

There are good reasons why death sentences have in most countries been abolished – one is that innocence of crimes can escape even those judges that enjoy the reputation of impeccable competence in judging evidence before the courts.

Do not for one moment even consider let alone believe that Croatian General Slobodan Praljak was a war criminal – his ICTY indictment did not include any crimes that he himself had committed against Muslims/Bosniaks, by his own hand. The crimes he and others in the group were indicted for basically come in the form of participating in a politically concocted concept and doctrine of joint criminal enterprise/line of command responsibility even if some actual crimes that have been said to have been committed occurred hundreds of kilometres away, hundreds of kilometres away from any knowledge or participation, any planning on their part…

The Croatian general Slobodan Praljak’s act of suicide by poison in the courtroom, Hague, on Wednesday 29 November 2017, after standing up in the dock and saying “Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal and I reject your judgment with contempt”, is perhaps the strongest statement of disdain for unjust court verdict, injustice, the modern world has seen. Having served much of the 20 year prison sentence passed, awaiting ICTY trial and appeal, Praljak would have been out of prison within a couple of years. To his credit, that just and decent human being, Croat, was not going to serve a prison sentence as a wrongfully convicted war criminal a single day longer! That speaks volume of his courage and honour!

Rest in God’s peace and embrace, General Slobodan Praljak.

In its final judgment, before it closes operations, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague had shown its true, immersed in politics rather than facts colours. ICTY has on Wednesday demonstrated that it is a body that toys with history and evidently writes history – false history! If anything defines a joint criminal enterprise then this judgment itself would surely rate among the top culprits.

I am certain you have read numerous news articles or seen numerous videos, heard numerous audios paraphrasing and interpreting, in the simplest of forms, that which occurred in the Hague on 29 November 2017, in words to this effect: “While Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina were busy carving out the borders with ethnic cleansing and genocide of what became Serbian Republic within Bosnia and Herzegovina state borders, stamped as valid entity in the Dayton Agreement 1995, in the southwest, Herceg-Bosna region, Croat forces with significant support from Croatia turned on the Bosnian Army (Bosniaks/Muslims) and set out to establish their own ethnically homogenous space, using some of the same methods of ethnic cleansing employed by the Serbs…”. Yes, the bottom line of the ICTY Appeal Chamber finding was exactly that. The fact that the Croat-Muslim conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina broke out to a full war rests with Muslim/Bosniak (helped by Mujahedin’s from Middle East and surrounds) attacks and massacres, not the other way around. Just consider the massacres of Croats by Bosniak/Muslim forces in the villages of Luzani, Gusti Grab, Dusina in January 1993 and track the Muslim onslaught that continued with regular and vicious force against which the Croats needed to defend themselves, and your conclusion would be that Croats were not the aggressor as ICTY says.

The facts that are well known to the ICTY will lead you to Muslim-led Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ABiH) with its attachments of foreign fighters referred to as “Mujahedin” or “Holy Warriors”. The “Mujahedin”, who principally came from Islamic countries, began to arrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina sometime during the middle of 1992. The “Mujahedin” were prepared to conduct a “Jihad” or “Holy War” against those of different faith and religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ABiH with its Mujahedin forces attacked towns and villages mainly inhabited by Croats. Predominately Bosnian Croat civilians, including women, children, the elderly, and the infirm, were subjected to wilful killings and serious injury. In the course of, or after the attacks, many Croat civilians were killed and many more were wounded or harmed while attempting to hide or escape. In several instances, ABiH forces killed Croatian Defence Council (HVO) troops after their surrender. Mainly Bosnian Croats were unlawfully imprisoned and otherwise detained in ABiH detention facilities. The imprisoned and otherwise detained Bosnian Croats were killed and beaten, subjected to physical and / or psychological abuse, intimidation and inhuman treatment, including being confined in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, and suffered inhumane deprivations of basic necessities, such as adequate food, water and clothing. They were provided little or no medical attention. Bosnian Croats who were imprisoned and otherwise detained were forced to dig trenches, to build bunkers and to collect human bodies in hostile and otherwise hazardous conditions. Some such imprisoned and otherwise detained persons were killed in the course of being forced to engage in such activities. Imprisoned and otherwise detained Croats were used as both human shields and hostages. ABiH forces plundered and destroyed Bosnian Croat property with no military justification. Bosnian Croat dwellings and buildings, as well as civilian personal property and livestock, were destroyed or severely damaged. In addition, Bosnian Croat buildings, sites and institutions dedicated to religion were targeted for destruction or otherwise damaged or violated…

Listing the atrocities committed by Bosniaks/Muslims against which Croats needed to defend themselves in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be an almost endless exercise if one were to examine ICTY recorded facts, but on 29 November 2017 the ICTY chose to pontificate without proof of individual responsibility for crimes on a doctrine of joint criminal enterprise against Croats. Were Croats driven by any shape or form by the alleged joint criminal enterprise would they, instead of Muslims/Bosniaks not have been the attackers in the first instances that led to full out war?!

ICTY’s finding regarding Croats and joint criminal enterprise to do with Herceg-Bosna and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole, really, could not be further away from the truth, from the facts, and it must be reacted to with outrage.

What ensued in the Appeals Chamber of in The Hague on Wednesday 29 November 2017 regarding judgment against six Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić and Berislav Pušić) is nothing short of outrage. Outrage pointed at the UN Tribunal that, in majority opinion from the bench, disregarded facts and evidence, which, if given due evidentiary weight, would give them no option but to overturn the 2013 Trial Chamber verdict of joint criminal enterprise. But, its not far-fetched to conclude that the ICTY has made up its mind a long time ago to brand Croatia and Croatians including the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) defending themselves from brutal aggression by both Serbs and later from Bosniak (Muslims) onslaught in early 1990’s as aggressors rather than defenders. That political agenda had been set a long time ago, including with the cunningly executed help by the former president of communist Yugoslavia Stjepan Mesic whose corrupt and perverse fabrications of false political agendas evidently made an impact with ICTY that would see Croatia be equated to Serbia when it comes to aggression. Yugoslav communists have never forgiven Croatian people for establishing an independent and democratic state, for seceding from communist Yugoslavia and last week, at The Hague, the world saw a victory of communist lies.

The indisputable fact is that both Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were the victims of a Serbian aggression that sought to create a Greater Serbia. “During wartime events in Bosnia and Herzegovina there was not a joint criminal enterprise on the Croatian side nor was there any idea that would include actions that are not in accordance with the international legal order. It should be emphasised that Croatia is the most responsible for the establishment and survival of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent country,” said a statement by Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic
Photo: Screenshot

In its first reaction to the ICTY joint criminal enterprise verdict the Croatian government said that many of the allegations in the verdict handed down by the Hague war crimes tribunal in the case of six Bosnian Croat wartime political and military leaders did not take into account the historical truth and facts, that those allegations were unfounded and politically unacceptable, and that it would consider all legal and political mechanisms available to contest them.

The government expresses deep dissatisfaction and regret over today’s verdict which confirmed the sentences for Jadranko Prlic,Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic. Many of the allegations do not take into account the historical truth and facts, they are unfounded and politically unacceptable,” the Croatian government said in a statement.

The government recalled the assistance Croatia had extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina when the Serbian military aggression threatened its territorial integrity.

The Croatian government has announced that it will proceed with plucking out parts of the ICTY Appeal Chamber judgment that are wrong and do not fit evidentiary facts and present those to the UN, Security Council with view to discrediting the judgment. This needs to be done post-haste and immediacy in order to stop the grave human suffering this judgment has caused and is causing.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Croatian President
Photo: Screenshot

Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who spoke Thursday 30 November 2017 said: “His (Praljak’s) act struck the heart of the Croatian nation. As the president of Republic of Croatia I want to say clearly and unambiguously that the court in The Hague yesterday did not pronounce a verdict against the Republic of Croatia or against the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia was not the aggressor, but did most for the survival of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole, and the Croatian people were the first to resist the Greater Serbia aggression, defending their survival and the survival of Bosnia and Herzegovina as its own country. Croatia and Bosnia were attacked by Milošević’s Serbia and the Yugoslav National Army and those are facts. Croatia didn’t attack anyone…We Croats must have the strength to admit that some of our nationals in Bosnia and Herzegovina did commit crimes and they must be held responsible for them. It’s unjust that Bosniak and Serb crimes against Croats have not been punished in the same way…I call upon Bosniak leaders to do everything in their power to ensure this judgment is not abused, but that it be the end of one and the beginning of a new era… Regretfully, at the very end of its (ICTY’s) existence a conclusion jumps at us that the Tribunal has omitted to achieve its goal of bringing justice for victims of crimes. It placed itself as a political arbiter and not a judicial body… Croatia, along with the United States of America has done the most for the unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina …We will fight with all legal and political means for the truth and justice…

Well, no, the ICTY did not deliver a verdict against Croatia or Croatian people specifically but the effects and the meaning of the verdict are exactly that. As it stands, the verdict gives a certain licence for all manner of persecutions against Croatians in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the least of which are criminal indictments of similar nature against persons who have committed no crimes. Such an outlook would serve no other function but to aid the Bosniak plan for supremacy in the Federation of Bosniaks and Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is an outlook that is in itself criminal and utterly perverse, for it satisfies no justice for victims who perished by the hand of others, not of the accused. It’s regretful that the president did not reject the ICTY verdict outright or, at least, announced that she will do everything in her power to challenge it.

The facts to which the ICTY Appeal Tribunal in its verdict of joint criminal enterprise (that Croats formed Herceg-Bosna entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina with view to joining that part of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia and in that name committed war crimes) wilfully turned a blind eye to include:

  • If it were not for the Croatian defence Council (HVO) – which ICTY has branded as the military component of what it says was a joint criminal enterprise – Bosnia and Herzegovina would not have been successful in its defence from Serb aggression nor would it have been internationally recognised as an independent state (beginning of April 1992 Croatia was the first country to recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina as an independent and sovereign state);
  • Croats and Croatia at all times maintained the resolve that the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina should remain as is, without divisions and continue as triethnic state made up of three constitutionally equal peoples: Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs. Croats gave decisive votes at referendum beginning of 1992 to keep Bosnia and Herzegovina as undivided and one state while at the same time the Serbs proclaimed part of the state as their republic, just as they did in Croatia the year before;
  • All humanitarian and military assistance to Bosniaks/Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina went via Croatia; Croatia enabled and carried out within its own territory and with own resources the training of various formations and hierarchy of Muslim/Bosniak army personnel; Croatia took over the care of over 500,000 Bosnian/Muslim refugees during the war; over 15,000 war wounded Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina were treated in Croatia’s hospitals and medical centres; – these certainly are no actions a country, Croatia, intent on being an aggressor against Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the ICTY says, would undertake;
  • Croatia and Herceg-Bosna were signatories together with Bosniak representatives to all international agreements during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina – neither was considered criminal then;
  • Bosniaks pursue the line that Herceg Bosna was a criminal enterprise that wanted to attach itself to Croatia – this defies all logic and common sense, let alone the facts that serve as evidence to the contrary – the fact that Bosniaks and Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Washington Agreement in March 1994, forming a Federation of Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of these facts;
  • Croats and Bosniaks/Muslims fought side-by-side to defend Bosnia and Herzegovina against brutal Serb aggression; defending, for example, the city of Bihac in 1995 which, if not defended by Croats would have seen another Srebrenica/genocide of Muslims – the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina actually called upon Croatia and Croats to intervene and help their defence against the Serb aggressor (ref. Split Agreement/ Declaration, July 1995).

Without a doubt, the ICTY Appeal Chamber had ample evidence to overturn the Trial Chamber finding of joint criminal enterprise against Croatians. No one would dare dispute that members of all three ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina committed crimes during the war but the responsibility for those crimes must be attached to individuals who committed them not to some flight of fancy of some doctrine that’s driven by a direction of a geopolitical gang and steered by opinion rather than fact.

Not a single person among the six Croats who faced ICTY Appeal judges on Wednesday 29 November 2017 had commanded, planned or committed war crimes.

General Zeljko Glasnovic
Member of Croatian Parliament for Diaspora
Photo: Screenshot

And so if one wants to tell it like it is/was one cannot ignore the words spoken by Member of Croatian Parliament for the Diaspora, General Zeljko Glasnovic, on Thursday 30 November 2017: “…what occurred yesterday (in The Hague) was rape of historical truth and common sense…

The very body that hands down justice, or is supposed to hand down justice, whose verdicts must serve civilisation’s standards, to reflect both historical and factual truths – ICTY for example – turns the victim into an aggressor! For political gain that serves someone’s agenda and it’s not that difficult to decipher whose agenda. We live and learn. We live and suffer injustice, we do not and should not engage in revenge because of injustice struck against us – we wait as the Bible says: “…vengeance is mine, said the Lord!” Truth will out! Ina Vukic

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