Remembering Vukovar And The Smut Of Erdut Agreement

Ivo Lucic
Photo: screenshot

This is the week we remember the victims in the November 1991 fall of Croatia’s Vukovar (and all the victims of Serb aggression against Croatia), brutally attacked, destroyed, slaughtered and tortured by Serb rebel paramilitary as well as Serb-led Yugoslav Army forces. This is the week that in our mind the thoughts of forgiveness and reconciliation inevitably intrude upon those of profound sadness for the victims and the search for that light of justice due for all. Forgiveness, though, is only truly earned by those that repent. This, though, is not the case for the Serb who are, these days, on an accelerated and noisy rampage of trying to justify the crimes because of which Croatia was put into the situation of having to defend the self-preservation of its own people and land from the onslaught.

While the Erdut Agreement reached on 12 November 1995 for a peaceful reintegration into Croatia of its Serb-occupied territory in the vicinity of Vukovar, the region of Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium established all transitional arrangements, including a transitional administration that would facilitate the return of refugees in the region, the protection of refugees and their property rights, and the deployment of an international force to maintain peace and security in the region, Croatian Serb leaders including member of parliament for Serb ethnic minority Milorad Pupovac, undoubtedly propped-up by Serbia’s support, are resurrecting these days the Erdut agreement as though it was a permanent fixture in the way independent Croatia should proceed to develop itself as a sovereign democratic state, and as though it gave the Serb aggressor absolution for its crimes and rights to go on with life as though no aggression, murder, ethnic cleansing of Croats from the region, torture – occurred back then! Pupovac said this week at the marking of the anniversary of the Erdut Agreement that the agreement would be satisfied in full when there is Serb representation in all municipal councils of Croatia, in all government ministries, in all institutions…!

Whether the Erdut Agreement had in fact clauses or addendums that stipulate any such representation or not, is beside the point as in fact and de jure agreements have a life span that cannot be extended or shortened without due legal processes. The Erdut Agreement had the life span of transitional nature and if anyone has issues with its implementation the world of judicial pursuits upon which any “complaints” should be adjudicated in democracy is open to all, including Serbs. But I somehow doubt Pupovac has a leg to stand on in the scheme of things that occurred with Serb aggression and their tremendously destructive consequences for the Croatian citizens and the development of the democratic state.

Erdut Agreement was largely a brainchild of Peter Galbraith, US Ambassador to Croatia, who along with Russian Ambassador Leonid Karestadjians and German diplomat Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, concocted in January 1995 the so-called Z-4 Plan for Croatia where autonomy (to Serbs) would be given on a significant part of the occupied Croatian territory! It actually planned for a legal Serb state within Croatia! There’s more than one way of succeeding in extending the borders of Greater Serbia, it seems – if Croatia’s leaders permit Pupovac and his followers the reign of drunken, hateful, disrespect for the victims of aggression and Croatia’s victory of independence as a sovereign state. There was not a single word of remorse for the genocide committed against Croatian people, across Croatia. Pupovac made the point of saying that Erdut Agreement brought peace to the region but failed to address why it was essential to bring peace and what was behind it (Serb aggression).

The fact that Pupovac rhetoric regarding infiltrating public administration and decision making with members of ethnic Serb minority brings about torrents of traumas to the Croatian public because, among other disquieting thrusts that suggest Serb victory within Croatia, it represents the notion that all crimes of aggression against Croatians and Croatia should perhaps be erased as acceptable and forgotten as if nothing happened! Pupovac move here is a clear example of attempting to solidify the equating of victim with the aggressor.

That which medical doctors did in Vukovar hospital in 1991, healing all patients, even those belonging to the enemy, is something that is rarely seen and we can be proud of that. With this book I wanted to tell that relatively unknown story because we know quite a bit about the battles for Vukovar and about defending it but the story about the heroic doctors has remained somewhat in the shadows,” said dr. Ivo Lucic in Zagreb, Croatia, on 14 November 2014 at the promotion of his book “Vukovar hospital, the lighthouse in the historic storms of Croatia’s East” (“Vukovarska bolnica svjetionik u povijesnim olujama hrvatskog istoka”).

The hospital was also a warning for those who approached, and who has destroyed Vukovar just before that. The hospital sent the message to watch how they approach the institution marked with a red cross and protected under international laws. However, they did not accept that message and ran aground the cliffs of crimes, did everything that is already known to us, in Ovcara and other places, murdered the wounded and civilians and that is something that will remain in their conscience forever,” dr. Lucic emphasised.

By the end of its three-month siege at the hands of Serb forces in November 1991, Vukovar had become utterly devastated and its Croatian and non-Serb population ethnically cleansed. The capture of the town was an important strategic objective for the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army. It was designed to consolidate Serb control over the region of Croatia known as Eastern Slavonia.

When the Serb forces took control of Vukovar on 19 November 1991, several hundred people took refuge in the town’s hospital in the hope that they would be evacuated in the presence of neutral observers. But instead of the hoped-for evacuation, about 400 individuals – including wounded patients, soldiers, hospital staff and Croatian political activists – were removed from the hospital by Yugoslav army and Serb paramilitary forces and taken to Ovcara farm near Vukovar. The detainees were beaten up. Some died of their injuries and approximately 260 of them were executed and then buried in a mass grave.

Lest we forget!

Ina Vukic

Croatia Standing Up Against New Peaks In Vicious Cycle Of Serbian Nationalism

Croatian military parade Photo:Dusko Jaramaz/Pixsell

Croatian military parade
Photo:Dusko Jaramaz/Pixsell

Increasing pressure and uneasy disquiet is building up in many Croats’ hearts as 5 August 2015 approaches – 20th anniversary of Operation Storm, of liberating Croatia from the brutal, murderous, dark forces of ethnically cleansing Serb occupying forces.
The uneasy, painful disquiet, which wants to scream with protestation, comes with the relentless and aggressive campaign waged by Serbia’s leadership, in particular Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, that denies the aggression, war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in Croatia during 1990’s. Serbia also keeps on harassing justice for the victims of aggression by saying that anyone attending the victory parade in Zagreb on 5 August will be considered anti-Serbia and that Serbia will ensure it marks on that day a day of mourning for Serbs killed in that war and Serbs who fled Croatia after the Operation Storm in 1995!
In other words, Serbia has made its vicious mind up to spoil the due glory of Croatia’s victory over brutal Serb aggression. One could say this is to be expected given that Serbia keeps on denying its crimes.

It may be expected, but it cannot be accepted; even if the current Croatian leftist government has evidently been going out of its way, many a time, to ‘accommodate’ Serbian insults against Croatia!
A member of the European Parliament from the opposition HDZ party (Croatian Democratic Union), Andrej Plenkovic, has said that the failure of NATO member states to attend the 20th anniversary of military Operation Storm in August is a failure of the Croatian government’s diplomacy and a message of yielding on the foreign policy front to Serbia, which he says downplays the 1990s wars.

The politics of Nikolic-Vucic-Dacic (Serbia’s President-PrimeMinister-Foreign minister) are clearly implementing revisionism of what had happened during 1990’s, and that is the Greater Serbia policy and Milosevic’s aggression against the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH),” Plenkovic told reporters on Saturday 18 July in Zagreb.

 

Plenkovic said another example was the vetoby the instrumentalised (UN) Security Council permanent member Russia on a resolution on Srebrenica which mentions genocide, not because somebody politically wanted to mention it but because it was mentioned in rulings by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice in 2007.”
Plenkovic said such a policy was also visible in a joint decision by the governments of Serbia and the Bosnian Serb entity to proclaim August 5, Croatia’s Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian War Veterans Day, “the day of the Croatian army’s greatest victory“, a day of mourning for Serb victims.

It’s all part of a broader activity by Serbia and recent messages by (Foreign) Minister (Ivica) Dacic are just a continuation of such a policy.”

He said the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) had a “very clear position” that the 20th anniversary of Operation Storm “should be celebrated in a dignified way as a liberating, defensive military and police operation which not only liberated Croatian territory but changed strategically and in the long term the balance of power in Europe’s southeast.”

Plenkovic said Croatian forces, together with those of the Army of BiH and the Croat Defence Council (HVO), had liberated Bihac, BiH, a UN-protected zone at the time, sparing it Srebrenica’s fate. “Only then were the Dayton peace agreement and the American diplomatic initiative possible.”

The Croatian government’s failure to have “our allies’ units” take part in a military parade on the anniversary of Operation Storm “sends a very clear message that this government has failed, with its yielding to Serbia on the foreign policy front and its insufficiently engaged explaining of Operation Storm’s strategic role for the West and our allies, for stability in the region and peace in BiH.”

He said the HDZ considered this “a big failure” of the incumbent government. Asked if this was only the government’s failure or if the entire diplomacy and the president, who signed the invitations to the allies to attend the parade, had also failed, Plenkovic said this was first and foremost a diplomatic failure of the government and its ministry of foreign affairs.
I do not agree entirely with what Plenkovic says here as do believe there will be NATO member states representation at the victory parade in Zagreb on 5 August but I do agree with his assessment of the pathetic and destructive work done by the current government and its foreign affairs field. It has been too soft and too anti-Croatia when it comes to Serbia’s tantrums and crime denials.

The 20th Anniversary of Croatia’s victory over Serb aggression; the 20th Anniversary of freedom from communism on 5 August will officially be celebrated in the town of Knin in the morning and then with the victory parade in Zagreb late in the afternoon/evening. The victory parade event is the part of the celebrations that has given rise to distressing political quarrels and fighting fueled by the current government’s (Social Democrats) push to hold the parade – which, by the way is the first one ever of its kind to mark the victory over Serb aggression – and HDZ’s (opposition – Croatian Democratic Union) opposition to it at this time.
Serbia’s Prime Minister’s (Aleksnader Vucic) statement last week that attending the military parade in Zagreb, Croatia, on 5 August will constitute an insult to Serbia, and Croatia’s defence minister Ante Kotromanovic offered a reply on Friday 17 July:

I have refrained from reacting up until now, but today I really must respond. Radical rhetoric is not a good way to communicate. However, there are moments when one simply must direct people towards facts. All this time, our intentions were to keep our national holiday of our country’s liberation away from the international relations. Celebrations of 4th and 5th August are far above that. The comments given by the person who had during 1990’s, with a rifle in his hand, encouraged only the worst and called for killings and hatred – are not trustworthy. I want to be clear regarding these new attempts in balancing the guilt and equating the victim with the aggressor and say – we know very well who the aggressor was, and places like Vukovar and Srebrenica tell us who the victim was. Operation Storm was a legitimate action that stopped, among other things, another massacre that would have been much larger than Srebrenica!”

Croatia's First POresident Dr Franjo Tudjman Standing at Town Knin August 1995 - As Croatia  Was Liberated From Serb Aggressor

Croatia’s First POresident
Dr Franjo Tudjman
Standing at Town Knin
August 1995 – As Croatia
Was Liberated From Serb Aggressor

Those who think that Croatia’s military parade will not succeed on 5 August because soldiers of members of NATO countries will not be marching there are quite wrong in my book! Why would Croatia bother about which country will march with it and which will not for that Anniversary? After all, Croatian soldiers and Croatian military were the only ones who actually liberated Croatia from Serb occupation in August 1995 and they are the ones who should be marching and parading with pride. Anyone else is so very welcome to come and watch and marvel at the courage that still prevails in Croatia despite the vicious aggression flowing from Serbia. Perhaps on 5 August 2015 Croatia will learn who its friends are and who should be left behind and who should not? Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Look Who Is Digging Theodor Meron’s Grave!

Theodor Meron, President of International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Theodor Meron, President of International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Have just discovered that Stjepan Mesic (die-hard Communist in mind and heart, former president of Croatia, who was the apparent ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte’s “best boy” for political maneuvering of ICTY indictments that would equate the aggressor with the victim in 1990’s Serb war of aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at any price – even lies and confabulations that would blacken and attempt to degrade the righteousness of Croatian citizens’ right to defend their lives and homes from aggression) and his cronies (such as Budimir Loncar/former advisor to Mesic and current advisor to president Ivo Josipovic  – but with a disturbing history in the notorious former communist police OZNA, which ordered multitudes of murders of innocent people during Tito’s Yugoslavia) are behind the “ifimes” (International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies) which has recently published a malicious article “ICTY: ‘Meronization’ of our future”. Stjepan Mesic is listed as Honorary President of staff of ifimes!

Of course, it’s as clear as day: this group of individuals, with this article, are telling the world that if we do not question the ICTY judgments brought down by Judge Theodor Meron, President of ICTY, (especially regarding the acquittals of Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markac and Momcilo Perisic) then there is no real justice!

The problem with this group’s reasoning is that they do not appear to uphold as paramount the appellate court’s responsibility of weighing the evidence and decisions made by lower courts, that they contradict themselves as they strongly suggest ICTY judges must consider political implications and consequences of their judgments, and at the same time that judges must not be political!

Lord, save the humanity from this lot!

They definitely appear to be subscribed to the trends started under Carla del Ponte, as Chief Prosecutor, under Judge Fausto Pocar as ICTY President (who, by the way had a dissenting opinion to the majority one in the 16 November 2012 ICTY Acquittal judgment for Croatian Generals) when the politics of equating the victim with the aggressor was painfully obvious and “order of the day at the ICTY”.

It seems that Meron, by weighing evidence before him with fresh and non-political eyes (as Appeal courts should and have the duty to do) has ruffled the feathers of those who consider cold evidence and interpretation of it less important than political agendas between nations, particularly of, say, the aggressor such as Serbia was against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s. So, those who did not like the way ICTY judgments were delivered by Meron started a new trend of labeling him with the sins they themselves subscribed to: political court judgments. This so reminds me of the horrible days under Communism – attack becoming the tool of defence!

This “ifimes” group has the gall to say that Meron is the one who “has definitely marked ICTY as a political court and Theodor Meron as its gravedigger and the executioner of anticipated international justice”.

And yet, just before they wrote this disgraceful sentence they wrote that Meron  “should have examined all the possible implications of the partial acquittal in the Karadzic case as well as a series of other issues that have appeared in the final stage of ICTY’s work”.

Now, why should a judge examine all possible implications of his judgment!? Implications of a decision should not and must not influence the making of a decision that is based on evidence and the weighing of evidence with view to the actual alleged criminal offence.

So, “ifimes”  group criticise Meron as being political on the one hand and on the other they criticize him for not using politics in bringing decisions in court!

Furthermore, the group admits that Serge Brammertz, ICTY Chief Prosecutor who seems to follow Carla del Ponte’s political lines of equating aggressor with the victim at any cost, is in conflict with Meron. In “conflict between two concepts and two civilisational approaches to resolving international relations: the conservative and anticivilisational concept represented by ICTY President Theodor Meron and the positive and realistic concept represented by ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Bramemertz”.

Can you believe this rot of humanity “ifimes” is peddling!?

The world does not need such transgressions of democracy, human moral code and real justice that Majority Opinion brings to the table as accepted and final judgment in a court case.

For them the Majority Opinion (led by Judge Meron) is conservative and anti-civilisational and the politically driven bias (even with highly suspect testimonies that, if tested, could amount to perjury)  Brammetrz appeared as having continued with after Carla del Ponte, is considered by them as positive and realistic!

And now we come to the real motive behind this atrociously biased and political, but insidious article from “ifimes” (Stjepan Mesic  & Co.):

The IFIMES International Institute is of the opinion that the announced discussion on the activities of ICTY which will take place at the UN General Assembly on 10 April 2013 should focus on strengthening international law and protecting the victims of past and future crimes rather than serving individuals and countries whose aim is to (mis)use the international legal system for their own interests”. Or, in other words, let the UN General Assembly debate on 10 April 2013 be the platform where Serbia will receive legitimacy for its rejection of ICTY judgments (as Vuk Jeremic had expressed publicly during past months) and for its relentless politics of justifying the horror its aggression against Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had set in motion.

As I said in one of my previous posts, and in my letters to various heads of UN member states – there is a realistic and immediate danger that the UN General Assembly debate on 10 April WILL NOT BE PROTECTING ALL THE VICTIMS, WILL NOT BE AN UNBIASLY LED DEBATE UNLESS IT IS COORDINATED AND FACILITATED BY A FULLY INDEPENDENT GROUP OF PEOPLE.

With such importance being given to “dissenting opinions” as opposed to “majority opinions”, which define the final judgment of a court, let’s not be surprised if we enter a future (after April 10) where the courts will no longer be fully independent of politics, where majority opinion will mean squat, where appellate courts will cease to function, where people can take as valid whatever judgment they want – from majority or minority – where the rule of law, accepted legal standards and democracy (which includes accepting the majority opinion or vote with due grace and humility) will become just a footnote in history books.  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

WATCH THIS VIDEO:

Theodor Meron on BBC HARDtalk, March 2013 “…Criminal court must not have a broader agenda … we would not be doing our job if we are guided by how people, nations, community will react to judgments… reconciliation is up to the people … not the court…”. Hear! Hear!

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