BBC and DW – Go Jump In The Lake! Beauty Of Croatian Lands – Celebrated!

 

Manuel Neuer (Centre)
Photo: Screenshot

“How beautiful you are”, by Marko Perkovic Thompson, is not even the national anthem of Croatia and yet it has been molested to “Kingdom come” as nationalistic, fascist, ultra-right – God knows what not, down in the doldrums of leftist miserable existence. As one unsavourily expects The Deutsche Welle (DW) and BBC (and other such politically twisted media outlets) have during the past week got their hands on a private video showing Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer on a holiday in a Croatian coastal town, having fun with a number of people singing the popular Croatian song “How beautiful you are” (“Lijepa li si”). While the lyrics of the song celebrate the natural beaty of different parts of Croatia and parts of Herzegovina where multitudes of Croats have lived for hundreds of years (and were joined into the same Kingdom or country on and off over the centuries past) these media outlets had decided to label the song as “controversial”, dubbing it as nationalistic with fascist connotations!

BBC article says that “the lyrics refer to Herceg-Bosna, an area of neighbouring state Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed by Bosnian Croats in the 1990s, who were supported by the government in Zagreb during the Balkan wars. Croatian nationalist folk singer Marko Perkovic penned the song in 1998. His performances have been banned in several European countries. Critics have linked Mr Perkovic – known as Thompson after the type of machine gun he carried during Croatia’s independence war in the 1990s – to the nationalism of Croatia’s pro-Nazi Ustasha regime in World War Two. The Ustasha was a Nazi puppet regime which killed more than 100,000 people in concentration camps, most of them Serbs, Jews and Roma. Mr Perkovic denies sympathising with the Ustasha.”

It is quite telling of BBC’s and DW’s political unsavouriness and systematic wrongful imputations regarding Croatian patriotism to write about a song that came into being in 1998, celebrating the beauty of Croatian lands after the bloody war of aggression was won (Croatia’s Homeland War officially ended in 1998 with the reintegration of Serb-occupied and ethically cleansed territory) when they immediately jump into WWII and Croatia’s siding with Germany in the war. It is the idiotic and sinister side of leftist (communist, neo-communist) politics to keep pushing the preposterous idea that Croatians of 1990/1991 did not really want independence from communist Yugoslavia even though they voted for it at the 94% voter level!

Since in its article it mentions Herceg-Bosna, it is quite telling of BBC’s rotten politics to fail to mention in the same article British very own Lord Carrington and Lord Owen who were very forceful and downright usurpers of Croatian people’s rights to self-preservation when it comes to Croats of Herceg-Bosna. Why put all the “guilt” on Croats? Why talk only of Croat supposedly wrongful nationalism in that war where Croats had to defend their own lives from Serb and then Muslim aggression? Didn’t both Lord David Owen and Lord Peter Carrington make their mark in attempting to divide Bosnia and Herzegovina according to ethnic or nationality lines, carve the borders of future countries within former Yugoslavia, including Croatia, during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1990’s. Of course they did! Lord Carrington attempted to pass a plan that would end the wars and result in each republic becoming an independent nation. Lord Owen continued under Lord Carrington’s pursuits to recognise the importance of ethnic (nationalistic) divides in that cruel and barbaric war of aggression in order to achieve peace and self-determination/preservation.

And when it comes to Herceg-Bosna who else but Croatians from neighbouring countries would come to the aid of Croatians in Bosnia and Herzegovina – no one! One must ask, why then is allegiance to nationality as an important factor of peace that Lord Carrington and Lord Owen not criticised by BBC or DW or anyone else of similar calibre one may come across more important and humanly proper than that of Croatians! The inevitable answer to this lies in anti-Croatian propaganda and political lynching devoid of any common sense, facts or fair-minded reason.

Marko Perkovic Thompson (third from L)
July 2018 = celebrating Croatian victories at FIFA World Cup
Photo: picture-alliance

Marko Perkovic Thompson’s 1998 song “Lijepa li si” in translation goes like this:

How Beautiful You Are

When I remember, tears well up

The scent of memories

Every step of my homeland

And folk customs

I recognise your beauty

Which awakens my love

When I’m with you my heart

Beats stronger, it is big!

Oh, Zagora, you’re so beautiful

Slavonia, you are golden

Herceg-Bosna, a proud heart

Dalmatia, my sea

One soul but two of us

Greetings Lika, pride of Velebit

How beautiful you are

When Neretva heads for the sea

Then remember me

Be the theme of my song

For all of those who are gone

Come on Istria and Zagorje

Let’s raise up all three colours

Let’s embrace in front everyone

Let them see that we are many

Oh, Zagora, you’re so beautiful

Slavonia, you are golden

Herceg Bosna, a proud heart

Dalmatia, my sea

One soul but two of us

Greetings Lika, pride of Velebit

BBC and DW in their articles regarding Neuer’s singing say that “It is not known if Neuer understood the words of the song”! My goodness! What’s there to understand apart from celebration of beauty of the land a nation of people (Croatians) have called home for centuries! Even though “How beautiful you are” is not Croatia’s national anthem for the sake of comparison of connotations a popular song brings I wonder what BBC would say had Neuer while holidaying in Croatia sung “God save the Queen” with its lyrics “O Lord, our God, arise, Scatter her enemies, And make them fall, Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish tricks…”!? Or what DW would say had Neuer while holidaying in Croatia sung Deutschlandlied (Song of Germany) with its lyrics “Unity and justice and freedom for the German fatherland!For these let us all strive, brotherly with heart and action! Unity and justice and freedom are the pledge of fortune; flourish in this fortune’s blessing, Flourish, German fatherland”!?

What nationalistic garbage would he be accused of then? Most likely none because these twisted media outlets may give only nations of their political choice the right and privilege to celebrate patriotism and national identity using the sheer beauty of their lands but deny it to others. However, BBC, due to its own evident lack of it, would most likely steer away from hailing patriotism as a positive trait of human existence while DW would most likely silently crawl into a dark corner fearing association with “Germany above all” may wreck their chances of being taken seriously. BBC and DW, and those like them can go and jump in the lake as far as I’m concerned. Ina Vukic

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Herceg Bosna

Today, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Serbs have their own entity, Serbian Republic (Republika srpska) and Bosniaks/Muslims dominate the Federation entity where Bosniaks and Croats were intended to hold equal rights, political and existential power. That was the intention and the spirit of the 1995 Dayton Accords, which were designed to keep BiH in one piece, at peace, led and lived by three Constitutional people: Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs.

In the early 1990s when Serb and Yugoslav People’s Army pursued a terrible and bloody war of aggression in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina aggression in order to stop the imminent break-up of former communist Yugoslavia, in order to stop death of communism and birth of democracy, Bosnia and Herzegovina saw an increasing crush of Croat’s rights and identity. Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims (a.k.a. Bosniaks) ruled the day and wielded power (for their own interests) on the international scene, leaving Croats stranded in the waters of political and existential insignificance. In November 1991, as Croatia’s Vukovar fell under the bloody Serb onslaught, the Croats of BiH, rightfully fearing their self-preservation formed the Croatian Community of Herzeg Bosnia (Herceg Bosna), within the borders of BiH. The war of aggression raged and ravaged and on 28 August 1993, with Croatia’s support, the Republic of Herzeg Bosnia was proclaimed as an entity within BiH, that would see Croat majority fight for and defend their existence as rightful people of BiH.

Tuesday 28 August 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the proclamation of Herceg Bosna; an administratively, legally based unit of BiH that would serve as a platform for Croats to defend themselves from the Serbian and Yugoslav Army onslaught and aggression, and later from the Bosniak, Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, onslaught, which brought to its aid the murderous Mujahedeen from the Middle East.

With the 1995 Dayton Accords and the consequent final abolishment of the Republic of Herceg Bosna in 1996 meant that Croats of BiH were once again left without a strong voice and the threat of their rights’ deterioration. Bosnia and Herzegovina was thus divided into two entities: Serbian Republic and the BiH Federation made up of Bosniaks and Croats.

The creation of Herzeg Bosnia’s own defence forces – Croatian Defence Council (HVO) meant that while the Republic of Herceg Bosna existed it was the only region of BiH where Croats of BiH were not systematically murdered, massacred, ethnically cleansed, persecuted – in which their homes were protected and in which they did not fear for their own lives. Herceg Bosna was the region in BiH where Bosniak’s and Serbs’ homes were not taken away, where Bosniak and Serb civilians were not systematically persecuted not ethnically cleansed.

Renowned historian Ivo Lucic, states:

Although these statements (paragraph above) may appear controversial (even unacceptable) in the Serbian and especially in the Bosniak media and public, there is much evidence supporting the truth of them. And that evidence is best seen today. It’s enough to just pass through the Croatian villages that were under the Serbian Army (Serbs) and under the Army of BiH (Bosniaks) control and one can clearly see what occurred during the war. Only in Bugojno (under Bosniak control) there were at least ten Croatian villages completely destroyed and devastated, ceased to exist – not a single person lives in them today. In some of them not a single home has been restored.

On the other hand, in Livno, Ljubuski, Tomislavgrad, Ukoplje, Prozor … (Croat control) not a single Bosniak village ceased to exist.

During the war, for example, Croatian civilians, fearing for their own lives, walked across Kupres to Herceg Bosna. Those that remained in Bugojno and fell into Bosniak hands know best the fate to which they succumbed.

Naturally, Herceg Bosna was also not some arcade along which milk and honey flowed, but the fact is that during 1990’s that was the most prosperous space within BiH, and to some extent it remains that to this day…

Herceg Bosna had its own sins – some war crimes did occur, prisoners of war camps did exist. Civilians did suffer. Many were banished but that was not done systematically. I.e., Bosniak civilians were banished from West Mostar, but not from Livno, Tomislavgrad, Ljubuski… In addition, people returned to Herceg Bosna unimpeded, which cannot be said either for Serbian Republic or the territory under Bosniak control then known as the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity.

Furthermore, the return to those territories has been systematically sabotaged. Those are the facts that are being covered up. Also, the majority of war crimes committed on the territory of Herceg Bosna have been processed, those who committed them and those who ordered them have been punished; the same cannot be said for the other sides’ war crimes. Especially when it comes to war crimes committed in the areas controlled by Bosniaks’ Army. Even to this day those war crimes are described as ‘incidents’, and attempts are still afoot to try and show that Croats forcefully deported themselves and similar third-class absurdities.

It’s evident today that shutting down of Herceg Bosna was a key mistake made by the Croatian political leadership because, since then, Croats have no political or other equality in BiH…Croats of BiH could soon become second-class citizens of BiH even if their ancestors had lived there for centuries.

While in reality both the Serbian Republic and the Federation of BiH are prisons – Croats have lost their rights in Serbian Republic a long time ago (if they ever had any at all) and in the Federation they are on the verge of losing their rights as Constitutional people – the idea of Herceg Bosna gains more focus on the collective conscience of the Croatian people and as the ideal concept of freedom that is today being lost…

A catastrophic step in Croats’ of BiH demise is indeed wrapped up in the prospect where Croats become second-class citizens in their own homeland of BiH and if they lose the right to decide for themselves, to elect their own representatives in the governing of BiH on all levels. The imminent general elections that are to occur in BiH in October, with Bosniaks pushing again to elect Croat representatives for Croats, if declared valid, even though the Electoral law had not been changed as directed by the Constitutional court, will indeed set an even stronger stage upon which the idea and absolute justification for a revived Hreceg Bosna is likely to gain more support.

Happy 25th birthday – Herceg Bosna! Ina Vukic

Let The Croatian Bells Wake Us All Up!

Dario Kordic
Photo: Hrvatska zvona facebook

The Croatian Bells (Hrvatska zvona) association was founded and registered in June 2017 in Siroki Brijeg, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its main focus and principles are in the promotion of the Homeland War, the cultural and historical idetity of the Croatian people. It was founded with the mission of promoting the values of the Homeland War, the promotion of general well-being and the well-being of all human beings, the promotion and nurturing of Christian points of view, moral principles and democratic values, advocating for family and other social values, advocating for demographic renewal and the return of Croats from abroad, the promotion of peace and coexistence with other peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the world, connecting Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in economic, cultural, scientific and every other sense, the retention and the nurturing of the Croatian cultural heritage (verbal and written), the nurturnig and preserving of native identity of the Croatian people, advocating for the rights of the Croatian veterans in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, advocating for the rights of the families of those veterans who were killed, imprisoned or are missing.

On its Facebook page Hrvaska zvona association says about itself that “Croatian Bells is a peoples’, veterans’ and youth association that wishes to bring new people, new knowledge and new values into the society of Bosnia and Herzegovina”

An article published by Croatian Bells association 3rd April 2018 was brought to my attention and given that it contains a Holy Easter message by Dario Kordic, former vice president and a member of the Presidency of the Croatian Community of Herceg-Bosna, and later Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna (early 1990’s) I have translated the article into English for the benefit of the non-Croatian speaking world for whom the truth about the struggles and sufferings of the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990’s war and after – is of paramount and significant importance.

“And Dario Kordic is with the Croatian Bells!

Dario Kordic is already a symbol of the ups and downs of the Croatian people. At the beginning of the nineteen nineties he led the Croatian people of Central Bosnia into the dawn of freedom, and then into the defence for their survival in the onslaught of Serb, and then Muslim aggression. Instead of enjoying the fruits of freedom defended with blood, precisely because of the defense of the freedom of his people – martyrdom and a process of a guilty verdict followed precisely because he refused to be a slave. His life witnessed the downfall of international justice and fairness, the shakiness of Croatian statehood, and the martyrdom of contemporary Croats in the Hague Tribunal and the persistent persecution by certain elites in Croatia and so-called Croatian representatives in all public institutions, especially in the media. Coming out of incarceration (2014) he devoted his life to the reaffirmation and witnessing of the fundamental Croatian national pillar, Christian spirituality and virtuous identity and symbolism.

He is an ordinary Croatian man.

A husband and father who has been denied the right to witness the growing up of his children as has been denied to thousands of others, whom he calls upon today to follow the message of Risen Christ and not to abandon oneself to fear. For, Dario Kordic was never afraid of evil or knelt before fear.

Here is his message to the Croatian people:

In the blessed atmosphere of the Resurrection of the Lord, a group of warriors from Herceg-Bosna, feeling all the pains of tears, suffering and tests endured by the severely wounded Croatian national being in Bosnia and Herzegovina, firmly decided to engage in an unstoppable process of major changes at the dawn of coming elections of Croatian legitimate representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The honorable names of Zlatan Mijo Jelic, Zeljko Glasnovic, Marko Tokic, Marko Rados, Zdenko Juric Major, Ranko Rados, myself and many others will act like icebreakers that will clear the path for hundreds of young intellectuals, workers, students, children of the defenders of the HVO (Croatian Defence Council) to stop the Croatian people from being pushed into the abyss.

The most fatal of sins are corruption, nepotism and the employment of only the suitable in public companies with the Croatian Hercegbosnian sign. Sins are those who tremble to heaven. They are the most important reason for the exodus of thousands of Croatian young men and girls, as well as a multitude of Croatian families from the Herceg-Bosna soil. Such are also the grave failings of the promises for the betterment of the disgraceful status of the Croatian defenders and the invalids of the Homeland War disfigured by the massacre perpetrated by the previous authorities which were not of the people. Particularly painful are the decades long persecutions of Croatian war veterans accused of war crimes. They are literally being hunted like beasts. The use of double, i.e., harder criteria for the HVO members as opposed to criteria used for members of the BiH army, because the former are judged by the political qualifications of so-called ‘criminal enterprise and command responsibility’, is unacceptable.

We should rapturously pray to the Savior that the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina will build their future on the younger generation of Croatian politicians who will serve their people who have suffered and be guided by determination, honesty and knowledge. Hundreds of Croatian young women and young men gathered around the newly established ‘Croatian Bells’ association shall carry the new spark with pride and courage. We shall build together all the honourable Croatian patriotic forces of various party roles throughout Herceg Bosna. It will then be much easier to find a fair political solution for the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state of three constituent and sovereign peoples. For this – faith is necessary before anything else! FAITH! Along with it, the long suppressed and almost extinguished elation that adorned us in the nineties will also come.

Most of us Croatian warriors thought that we would never again be included in some new projects of Croatian strategic importance. But persistent calls and requests from numerous Croat youths from BiH and the diaspora have thrust us to the defence-from-lightning post so that fear would no longer live among Croats in BiH. And there is too much fear from the current Croatian leaders who give out crumbs from the table to the people, threatening to deny them even that if they don’t follow them faithfully. Oh my God, my beloved God, how the dignity of the Croatians in Herceg-Bosna has been trampled upon, battered, and humiliated. This Easter Hour announces that among the Croats in BiH evil will no longer be promoted as a value, as good. Truly, the time of grace is coming where love and hope will flow enormously like rivers flowing through the Croatian Herzegbosnian valleys.

When we are Christ’s we need to fear nothing. May our hearts burn with Christian patriotic zeal. It is precisely the youth that is the spark which will in a spiritual battle fire up Christ’s inextinguishable flame. What a tremendous help are the saints to us, the blessed and the servants of God from the Croatian people in BiH – Katarina Kosaca Kotromanic, Ivan Merz, Martyrs of Drina, Josip Stadler, Petar Barbaric and the Franciscan marys of Siroki Brijeg. Welcome you honourable, courageous and self-sacrificing young men and women who have Christ in your heart and the betterment of the beloved Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let the Croatian Bells wake us all up. It is time! Let’s not be afraid! Only the truth will set us free!”

In Memory Of Croatian General Slobodan Praljak

10 December 2017
Commemoration held in Zagreb, Croatia
for General Slobodan Praljak
Photo: Stipe Renic

 

General Slobodan Praljak’s honorable defiance

By Michael G Karnavas

(Michael G. Karnavas is an American trained lawyer. He is licensed in Alaska and Massachusetts and is qualified to appear before the various International tribunals, including the International Criminal Court (ICC). Residing and practicing primarily in The Hague, he is recognized as an expert in international criminal defence, including, pre-trial, trial, and appellate advocacy.)

Having listened to the summary of the Appeal Judgment and having stood up to hear the litany of crimes affirmed by the Appeals Chamber before his sentence of 20 years was upheld, General Slobodan Praljak took his own life by drinking poison – but not before expressing his utter contempt for the Judgment, and by extension, his contempt for the Judges and the ICTY as a judicial institution.

Questions abound. How did General Praljak smuggle the vial of poison into the courtroom? How could he have gotten it through the numerous check-points where he would have been searched? Did he have it on him when he arrived at the ICTY? Did someone smuggle it to him there? Or, was it waiting for him at the ICTY, secretly planted in his cell or in the toilet?

Relevant as these questions are, few are asking what I think is perhaps the more important question: why did General Praljak take his life?
General Praljak had spent about a dozen years in the United Nations Detention Unit (UNDU). With credit for the time served, he would have been eligible for early release within two to three years, and would very likely have been released before serving his full sentence.

But detention never troubled General Praljak. Unlike the other accused in his case, he refused to be provisionally released under house arrest. It was a matter of principle. And when it came to his principles, he was stubbornly uncompromising. His argument would be: if I am presumed innocent, if I voluntarily came to the ICTY upon hearing of my indictment, if the Croatian government was offering a guarantee for my return to the ICTY, if my every movement while on provisional release in Zagreb will be shadowed by the police, and if I have complied with the conditions of my provisional release in the past, then why should I now be under house arrest as a condition of my provisional release? Of course, he wanted to be in his home with his wife, children, and grandchildren who he adored, and who adored him. But it was the principle of it – a principle he was willing to adhere to, come hell or high water. And for that I admired General Praljak. He unsentimentally walked his talk.

Reflecting on General Praljak’s final moments, I believe it was his principles that drove him to take his own life – not fear, not anger, not depression, not desperation, and certainly not any of the other reasons that cause a person to seek peace through suicide.

General Praljak was no romantic fool; he did not harbor illusions that his conviction would be overturned. Any objective observer would have come to the same conclusion. I certainly did. At best, the Appeals Chamber might have reduced the sentences, but the convictions, for the most part, would stand, even though, in my opinion, the evidence does not support the factual findings and legal conclusions made by the Trial Chamber. This is particularly so with the claim in the indictment of an overarching joint criminal enterprise (JCE) to reconstitute the Croatian Banovina within its 1939 borders, so it could either join Croatia or be an independent state within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) with close ties to Croatia – and that this JCE involved permanently removing and ethnically cleansing Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats who lived in these areas.

Convicted persons on appeal, generally, are susceptible to irrational hope, unsubstantiated rumors of behind-the-scenes machinations of friendliness and supposed efforts to steer the judges in a favorable direction, or false claims of exoneration (usually couched in language that is sufficiently vague to allow plausible deniability) – claims that are sometimes peddled by charlatans posing as high-powered lawyers seeking to make a quick (and exorbitant) fee.

General Praljak had no patience for any such nonsense. General Praljak was rational, intelligent, and pragmatic. His thinking was shaped by the hard sciences, even though he was equally versed in the soft sciences or liberal arts of philosophy, sociology, history, literature, theater, and cinema. Though I am assuming that General Praljak hoped and perhaps expected (as my client, Dr. Jadranko Prlić, did) that he would get a fair trial at the ICTY, it should have been obvious to him either before arriving at the UNDU, or sometime shortly thereafter, that convictions on most of the alleged crimes were predestined.

General Praljak (and the other accused) should have been disabused of any thoughts of justice and a fair trial. Maybe because hope springs eternal we all, including General Praljak, clung to some vestige of expectation that the accused would have an opportunity to set the record straight. General Praljak certainly wanted to. He spared no time or expense to bring to light evidence that he believed was contextually relevant for the trial Judges to understand and appreciate, among other things:
• what it was like to be in his shoes;
• what he did and why;
• what he did not do or could not have done;
• what the Croatian Community (and later Republic) of Herceg Bosna was all about;
• the dire predicament the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) found themselves in and the imperative to react with all deliberate speed and purpose; and
• Croatia’s generosity in helping the Muslims of BiH at a time when Croatia was one-third occupied and fending for its very survival against the rump Yugoslavia and its highly trained and armed Yugoslav People’s Army.

General Praljak’s expectations – as legitimate as they were – were not met to any degree of satisfaction. I know, because since early 2005 I represented Dr. Prlić in this case. He too harbored expectations of a fair trial – as all accused appearing before any judicial institution should, especially when being tried at a tribunal founded by the United Nations.

Granted, I may not be the most objective observer, and it can be claimed that I have a considerable interest in this case, which consumed over 12 years of my career. Be that as it may, I can say with full responsibility that what I witnessed during the trial was a parody, a charade, theater of the absurd disguised as a trial. Everyone who was at the ICTY saw it. As I repeatedly complained to the Judges during the trial, none of them, nor any of the Judges at the ICTY, would want to be tried in the way my client was being tried.

If there is one case, one trial, and now, one appeal that stands out as part of the dark legacy of the ICTY, it is Prlić et al. It is a textbook example of how not to try a case, how not to select the panel of trial judges, how not to conduct the trial proceedings, how not to analyze the evidence, and how not to draft a judgment. It is also a textbook example of why convicted persons cannot and should not expect that the errors and sins of the Trial Chamber will be exposed with unrelenting precision, brutal honesty, and unvarnished integrity, especially when to do so would require the Appeals Chamber to reexamine virtually the entire record (in this case, 52,967 pages of trial transcripts, 818 written decisions, and 5,926 exhibits admitted over five years of trial proceedings). But that is exactly what the Appeals Chamber should have done in Prlić et al. – especially when the Defense handed them the needles of errors hidden in the massive haystack of a record.

How naïve it was to think that the result of this case would have been any different! The ICTY – as a judicial institution – had already adjudicated many of the alleged major issues confronting the accused in Prlić et al., such as whether the Muslim-Croat conflict in BiH was an international armed conflict, whether Croatian President Tuđman and his government were attempting to carve up BiH, whether the Croats in BiH set up a statelet that would either be autonomous or part of Croatia, and whether there was ethnic cleansing of the Muslims in BiH – all of which was claimed to have been part of some grand scheme, a master criminal plan, a JCE.

Though I may not be the most objective observer (as I have already noted), I am convinced beyond doubt based on the evidence submitted during the trial that there was no JCE, no statelet, no efforts to carve up BiH, and no ethnic cleansing, etc. I fully recognize that errors were made, that serious crimes were committed against soldiers and citizens, and that there must be accountability. But as far as the prosecution’s overarching theory that there was a JCE to reconstitute the Croatian Banovina within its 1939 borders, and that ethnic cleansing occurred to achieve this goal, I simply do not see anything more than, at best, circumstantial evidence that points to this as just one of many inferences that can be drawn.

Others, no doubt, see it differently. Fair enough. But can it honestly be said that the Judges of the Trial Chamber or the Appeals Chamber were not, at least to some degree, predisposed to find the existence of the overarching JCE as claimed by the prosecution, and resultantly, that this would not spill over into a determination of guilt, when the ICTY website, outreach material, and exhibition posters depicted the narrative (at ICTY website) below (or a variation of it) before, during, and after the trial, and while the appeal was pending:

The republic’s [BiH’s] strategic position made it subject to both Serbia and Croatia attempting to assert dominance over large chunks of its territory. In fact, the leaders of Croatia and Serbia had in 1991 already met in a secret meeting where they agreed to divide up Bosnia and Herzegovina, leaving a small enclave for Muslims.
… Bosnian Croats soon followed, rejecting the authority of the Bosnian Government and declaring their own republic with the backing of Croatia. The conflict turned into a bloody three-sided fight for territories, with civilians of all ethnicities becoming victims of horrendous crimes.”

In light of these claimed facts on the ICTY website, can it be said that the accused in Prlić et al. truly enjoyed the presumption of innocence? For years this text has been part of the ICTY narrative for public consumption. It was not drafted by accident. Nor is it likely that it was posted and paraded about without the express approval of the presidents of the ICTY. Incidentally, sitting on the Appeals Chamber in Prlić et al. were two former presidents (Judge Theodor Meron and Judge Fausto Pocar) and the current president, Judge Carmel Agius.

This narrative invariably served as the subtext during the trial. How could it not? When reflecting on how the trial was conducted and how some of the accused were treated (especially General Praljak, who was not shy in expressing his opinion), it is clear as crystal from day one that none of the accused in Prlić et al. stood much chance of a fair trial and a just outcome. Questions or comments that came from some of the Judges displayed a pro-prosecution bias, such as calling the Croatian Defence Council the “Catholic army.” Occasionally, the Judges commented on the evidence, prejudging it based on their supposed personal knowledge.1 The list goes on.

In our Appeal Brief filed on behalf of Dr. Prlić, Ms. Suzana Tomanović and I argued that Dr. Prlić was denied a fair trial and that the Trial Judgment was profoundly flawed with legal and factual errors, because the Trial Chamber facilitated a confirmation bias by:
• failing to consider and assess all relevant evidence admitted into the record, instead opting to systematically rely on selective evidence that distorted the truth and led to false conclusions (Ground 1);
• disregarding the testimony of virtually all of Dr. Prlić’s witnesses, sprinkling the names of his witnesses throughout the Trial Judgment and citing them on inconsequential matters to create an appearance of having considered them (Ground 2);
• failing to make specific findings on documentary evidence it purported to assess, for example, claiming to have considered all documentary evidence admitted by written motion in the context of the evidence submitted, without specifying which documents it gave little or no weight and the reasons as to why it did so (Ground 3);
• relying on uncorroborated hearsay from the Mladić Diaries, while denying Dr. Prlić the opportunity to tender excerpts from the Mladić Diaries and/or present viva voce testimony in response to the hearsay admitted (Ground 5);
• failing to properly assess prosecution lay and expert witnesses and failing to provide a reasoned opinion as to their credibility; (Grounds 4 and 6); and
• systematically denying Dr. Prlić adequate time and facilities to question critical witnesses and present essential evidence by applying a one-sixth-solution: all six defense teams would collectively have the same time for cross-examination as the prosecution would have for direct examination for each witness (Ground 7).

And so, it was deeply disappointing, indeed shocking, to hear Judge Agius read the summary that was carefully crafted for public consumption (since few, if any, will read the 1400-page Appeal Judgment) stating that Dr. Prlić’s sole fair trial right claim was that he was “systematically denied adequate time and facilities to question witnesses.” Whoever wrote that summary for his Honor was clearly ignorant of the details of the appeal.

These mischaracterizations of the fair trial errors raised by Dr. Prlić in his brief are simply propaganda. They lead to the intended consequence of facilitating a fictitious perception in the public’s mind that, save for this belly-aching claim of not having enough time to present his case – something that is too amorphous and imperceptible for the public to fully appreciate – Dr. Prlić was content with how the evidence he presented was assessed.

The Appeals Chamber’s summary remarks concerning the Mladić Diaries are equally as hollow, reflecting an economical use of the facts. The Appeals Chamber claims that:
Prlić never unconditionally requested that his case be reopened and, in any event, the Trial Chamber expressly permitted him to admit evidence to rebut these diary extracts, which he did. General Praljak was likewise offered an opportunity to challenge these extracts.

This mischaracterizes the record. After the close of evidence, the prosecution sought to reopen its case to tender into evidence excerpts from the Mladić Diaries, which were found in Mladić’s residence in Belgrade by the Serbian authorities. In response, Ms. Suzana Tomanović and I argued that the prosecution’s case should not be reopened, but if reopened, Dr. Prlić should be afforded an equal right to reopen his case and have admitted excerpts of the Mladić Diaries relevant to his defense. It would have been contrary to logic and common sense for us to open the door and move for the Mladić Diaries to be admitted without the prosecution’s motion being granted. But, seeing as how the prosecution’s excerpts were coming in (the Mladić Diaries were newly discovered evidence), we requested the Trial Chamber on several occasions to admit excerpts relevant to Dr. Prlić’s defense. How many times should the same request be made before it can be considered “unconditional”?

This was only one of the issues raised by Dr. Prlić. Not that I wish to relitigate the point, but some sunshine on one particular entry in the Mladić Diaries is worth examining. You be the judge as to whether this is how a reasonable trier of fact should admit, assess, and rely on uncorroborated hearsay evidence.

The Majority admitted and relied on excerpts from the Mladić Diaries, which contained quoted remarks purportedly attributed to General Praljak, in making JCE findings – excerpts that directly implicated Dr. Prlić. General Praljak’s statements are uncorroborated hearsay. Mladić did not testify. No prior testimony had been elicited concerning these meetings, and no witnesses testified to the meetings. General Praljak’s request to reopen his case and testify concerning the meetings with Mladić and the statements attributed to him in these extracts was denied. In denying his request, the Majority’s suggestion that General Praljak’s counsel vouch for General Praljak in the closing brief and testify during closing arguments in lieu of viva voce testimony from General Praljak was absurd. Even law students know that counsel cannot testify and representations by counsel in closing briefs and closing arguments are not evidence. And what of Dr. Prlić’s right of confrontation, his right to question General Praljak on what he purportedly said or meant?

These points may seem inconsequential, but I think not. Here is why. Even if the Appeal Judgment addresses all the fair trial right challenges raised by Dr. Prlić, that is beside the point. What is relevant is the false perception these segments of the summary read to the public created – intentions aside.

And speaking of perceptions, anyone who witnessed the trial would attest to just how dysfunctional the Trial Chamber was, with two of the Judges often publicly quarrelling with the Presiding Judge, who seemed incapable of managing the trial proceedings. None of the Judges were up to the task, and it was obvious. Their rampant intervention while the parties were conducting their examinations led me to invite the Judges to either conduct the proceedings properly and in accordance with the letter and spirit of the ICTY Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (and refrain from inappropriately interfering as they had been doing), or to pack their bags and go home. And since they seemed clueless on how the proceedings should be conducted, I further requested that the Judges allow the prosecution and the defense one hour each to lecture them – since both the prosecution and defense had considerable experience in trying cases at the ICTY.2 Cheeky as this may seem, my request was granted, and submissions were made.3 The proceedings improved somewhat after this intervention and training session, but overall, I can safely say that in my 35 years as a lawyer, the Prlić et al. trial was the absolute worst experience I’ve ever had as a lawyer.

But why should this matter and how does it account for General Praljak taking his own life?
It matters because, had the Trial Chamber been balanced and measured in their treatment of the defense, had they not adopted the unreasonable approach of allowing the six accused to have only a combined amount of time equal to the time allotted to the prosecution for every witness, had the Judges been more patient with General Praljak and allowed him greater latitude in questioning witnesses (after all he was in situ on the matters on which he wanted to confront the witnesses), had they not virtually wholesale ignored the defense evidence, and had they drafted a judgment that represented the evidence submitted during the five-year trial, then, perhaps he may have accepted the findings and conclusions. Perhaps, General Praljak might have accepted that he may have erred during the fog of war as he tried his best to command and control a citizen-soldier army led by a few professional officers of ranks that exceeded their experience and competence.

I say this because of the time I spent getting to know General Praljak before the trial and observing him for over a decade as the case progressed through the trial, all the way up to his last day. General Praljak was fearless. He was not afraid to be held accountable for any acts of commission or omission – so long as the evidence bore out his responsibility. He took the stand and testified for over three months. He did not equivocate, did not feign an absence of memory, and he certainly did not try to shift the blame.

General Praljak did not suffer fools, perhaps because his intellect was off the charts, not because of a superiority complex or arrogance. At times, however, he could be contentious, vociferous, and cantankerous. He had an overwhelming presence bursting with energy and determination to expose what he knew, what he saw, and what he felt about the events he had experienced. Sometimes his exuberance to get to the truth or to set the record straight got the best of him as he would stray or get carried away, depending on the topic being discussed. Occasionally, he had difficulty seeing the trees for the forest. And yes, occasionally, he could be exasperatingly difficult to contain, just as he exasperatingly had difficulty containing himself when hearing nonsense masquerading as facts.

If I have learned anything in representing accused in highly contentious and stressful trials, unless the judges are courteous, considerate, patient, and solicitous, an accused will be hard pressed to accept a ruling or final judgment, irrespective of the quality or sufficiency of the evidence. But when also factoring in how the case was tried, the way two of the Judges interacted with General Praljak, the way they often condescended to him, and of course, their ultimate findings and conclusions in the judgment and how these were reached, is it any wonder that General Praljak would challenge the even-handedness of the proceedings, or that he would reject the Trial and Appeal Judgments with contempt?

General Praljak’s final act casts a long shadow over the factual findings and legal conclusions made by the Trial Chamber and upheld by the Appeals Chamber. The evidence, for the most part, is available for scrutiny for anyone interested in judging the Judgments. Of course, few, if any, will take the time to go over this material to see what is proved, what is speculative, what is true, and what is false. But no one should be gulled into imagining that General Praljak exited the field as a concession to and acceptance of the findings of his guilt, or because he feared continued incarceration. Rather, his sacrifice was the ultimate repudiation of the injustice with which he was tried and judged.

Some will look at the Judgments in Prlić et al. and find vindication and perhaps even solace. Others no doubt will reject them as General Praljak did, perhaps with an equal amount of contempt. But what is for sure is that these Judgments will not foster reconciliation any more than it can be claimed that they represent the historical truths of what happened in BiH during the Muslim-Croat conflict.

I have profound respect for the Judges of the Appeals Chamber who rendered the Judgment. I also accept, as all must, that their Judgment is final. However, in good conscience, I cannot respect most of the findings and conclusions in the Appeal Judgment made by these esteemed Judges. My critique is not an attack on the ICTY as an institution; it is an indictment on the way the Trial Chamber conducted the proceedings in Prlić et al., resulting in a miscarriage of justice, which, regrettably, the Appeals Chamber failed to cure. And while it is claimed that counsel at the ICTY have “a positive obligation to protect the reputation of the Tribunal,”4 it would be cowardly of me and an affront to General Praljak’s memory to pretend the proceedings were fair, that there was no predisposition shown by the Judges during the trial or that the Trial and Appeal Judgments are not flawed. Some may try to twist these words as an assault on the ICTY’s reputation and legacy, but in the words of Voltaire, “To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.”

General Praljak’s suicide was an act of defiance that has shed light on the ICTY’s legacy. No amount of spin will erase the tragic event that occurred in Courtroom 1 on 29 November 2017. What was expected to be the ICTY’s swan song – ending by reaffirming the convictions in Prlić et al. just days after the Mladić trial verdict – turned into a sad and confusing sight. General Praljak preferred to take his life, rather than validate the result of the trial and appeal proceedings – proceedings that in his view produced a false narrative based, in part, on the Judges’ unwillingness or inability to look beyond the settled orthodoxies that were touted on the ICTY website and peddled by its Outreach Program, even as the proceedings were ongoing.

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

Herceg-Bosna: Non-Malignancy In Defending Croatian Life

Herceg-Bosna Six – From left: Jadranko Prlic, Milivoj Petkovic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Berislav Pusic, Valentin Coric
Photo: AFP

The former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic, dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia, has last week at the ICTY been found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, participating in joint criminal enterprise and sentenced to life in prison.

This coming week an important verdict from the ICTY Appeal Chamber awaits six Croatian men (Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić and Berislav Pušić) in relation to war crimes charges pertaining to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The spin and mantra concocted by anti-Croatian political lobby that Croatians engaged in a joint criminal enterprise in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990’s, with view to creating a Greater Croatia/i.e. that Herceg-Bosna territory should become part of Croatia, made it to the ICTY war crimes charge sheet against these Croats. Should one concentrate upon facts as evidence, transcripts of tape-recorded conversations from the Security Council of the Republic of Croatia during the period 1992–95, for example, one would come across the justified and widespread fear that Croats would become dominated in an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina (by Serbs and Muslims/Bosniaks) but that Croatian leadership in early 1992 expressed strongly the idea that entertaining the idea of any part of Bosnia and Herzegovina becoming joined with Croatia was not the path Croatia would pursue with its military assistance, but defending Croats from attacks would be a matter of necessity, especially given the relatively much smaller number of Croats there as opposed to Serb and Bosniak population. Fears of political domination over Croats and Bosniaks came from Serb onslaught first, then subsequently this fear transformed into security concerns in the second half on 1992 due to the increasing tensions stemming from the escalation of Bosniak pursuits to take over control of areas where Croat majority lived. The presence of imported foreign Mujahedin forces (from Middle East and surrounds) fighting alongside Bosniaks added further weight to the Croatian fear for bare survival.

Back to Mladic case, the distressing reality is that Mladic got most of what he, the Serbs and Serbia wanted: a Bosnian Serb statelet (Republika Srpska/Serbian Republic) from which almost every Croat. Bosniak and other non-Serb was cleansed and banished or murdered. He is adored, his portrait adorns bars and office walls in Bosnia and Serbia, his name sung at football matches…the denial and lack of remorse for the criminal enterprise continues.

Mladic faced two counts of genocide: one for Srebrenica, the other for what happened in the “municipalities” elsewhere in Bosnia. He faced no charges for his heinous crimes in Croatia, which were as gruesome as the ones in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia as in Bosnia and Herzegovina serial atrocities were committed, while the international community remained indecisive, and worse – tolerating and even attempting to justify on some trumped-up historical ethnic hatreds the utter depravity of Serb aggression. In that, victims – dehumanised!

The whole idea of the Hague tribunal was as much an act of contrition for that failure as it was ambition for international justice. Mladic’s pogroms included more mass-murder, torture, mutilation and rape, in the camps at Omarska, Trnopolje and Keretem in northwest Bosnia. To the east, in Visegrad, civilians – including babies – were herded alive into houses for incineration, or down to a bridge to be shot, or chopped into pieces, and hurled into the river Drina. Then there was the wholesale demolition of countless towns and villages, and the ‘cleansing’ of all non-Serbs, by death or deportation; the razing of mosques and Catholic churches; the gathering of women and girls into camps for violation all night, every night. And the rest,” Ed Vulliamy (a prosecution witness at Mladic trial, one of the first western journalists to discover Serb concentration camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina), The Guardian.

The Hague ICTY’s (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), being wound down and replaced with Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), task was always to be judicial, but also to “promote reconciliation” in the Former Yugoslavia territories. There is no reconciliation and the Judges at ICTY have hopefully recognised that fact. There is no reconciliation!

The so-called “joint criminal enterprise” had, in political efforts demonising Croats, spilled into the courtrooms with an overriding political view of equating the victim with the aggressor and with the stark and blatant lack of attempting to fully address the Bosniak/Muslim onslaught against Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina, the future looks most grim for all should the ICTY confirm a verdict of joint criminal enterprise against the Croatian six this coming week.

While justice is done and seen to have been done via Mladic verdict as relating to the Serb aggression, Serb joint criminal enterprise, and its consequences, a verdict of similar weight in the case of Herceg-Bosna Six would neither be justice nor would justice be seen to have been done.

The United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, called the verdict against Mladic “a momentous victory for justice” and declared that “Mladic is the epitome of evil.”

The problem here is that Mladic did not act alone – the whole of Serb-aggression was the epitome of evil that had to be stopped for humanity’s sake. So, let’s not lose that picture!

Regardless of the verdict that we all feel as part of the campaign against Serbs, Ratko Mladic remains a legend of the Serb nation,” said Milorad Dodik, the president of the Serb statelet in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was carved out and retained via ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs.

Before the start of Serb aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina there were more than 760,000 Croats (17.4% of the country’s total population) living there and today there are barely 450,000. The loss of Croatian population in Bosnia and Herzegovina far exceeds that of the Serbs and Bosniaks (Muslims) and it unequivocally points to not only the many murdered and banished but also to a still-existing oppression of Croats with view to annihilating them as a constitutional ethnic group with equal rights as Serbs and Bosniaks in that country.

While Serbs ethnically cleansed Croats from the so-called Serb statelet “Serbian Republic” within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats, faced with Serb aggression and subsequent the added Muslim or Bosniak onslaught against them, managed to hold on and preserve their lives, where they made up more than half of the population, in towns that were at the time defended with the help of HVO (Croatian Defence Council) and include: Grude, Posušje, Široki Brijeg, Čitluk, Dobretići, Domaljevac, Ljubuški, Kupres, Tomislavgrad, Livno, Usora, Neum, Orašje, Kreševo, Prozor-Rama, Odžak, Žepče, Čapljina, Kiseljak i Mostar.

In an interview in the German magazine Der Spiegel in January 1995, President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia said: “The Muslims wanted to reign over the whole of Mostar then gain ground to the sea, and finally create an Islamic state. That is what our Croats are defending themselves against.”

Should injustice from the ICTY Trial Chamber be cemented when it comes to joint criminal enterprise waged against the six Croats in the Hague on 29 November 2017 then, besides injustice and conviction on false and twisted evidentiary grounds, it is as clear as day that both Serbs and Muslims (Bosniaks) will get what they wanted out of Bosnia and Herzegovina from day one: to control parts of the country’s territory and oust the Croats; to ensure Croats become marginalised and eventually disappear.

The active plan to banish Croats from any significant roll in the life of Bosnia and Heregovina did not end with brutal attacks against them during the war from both the Serb and Bosniak side, but it continued with its implementation even after the 1995 Dayton Agreement (which blessed a continued life to the Serbian Republic within the country), after the war. In 2000, for example, a good part of the International community instigated electoral reforms that would give Bosniaks within the Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina the power to rule and “call the shots” over Croats; similar moves were previously put in motion for Serbs within the Serbian Republic in that country. The resulting developments saw and see the increasing loss of equality of Croats within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the increasing numbers of Croats leaving the country under the pressure of oppression and inequality in that constitutionally triethnic state.

Contrary to any interpretations vying to paint Croatia and Croats as aggressors within Bosnia and Herzegovina the fact is that the Croatian leadership never took the decision to attack, but to defend. The full-scale war between the Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not break out until the Mujahedins abducted Živko Totić and killed four soldiers in his entourage, the Croat head of the HVO Military Police in Zenica, on 15 April 1993, even if drive-by shootings and threats did occur with great intensity prior to that date.

The fact is that Croats’ war efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina followed no joint criminal enterprise but were, indeed, efforts of non-malignant intent and defensive posture regardless of whether they fought to save themselves from Serbs or Bosniaks.

While the ICTY Prosecutor is seeking increased sentences for the Herce-Bosna Six from the Appeals Chamber, the defence seeks acquittal of all charges, or a retrial. The acquittal or retrial are sought on basis of wrong conclusions by the ICTY Trial Chamber regarding the existence of a joint criminal enterprise and the participation in the same by the Herceg-Bosna Six. Acquittal is surely the only just outcome. Ina Vukic

In Defence Of Croatian Community Of Herceg Bosna

dr. sc. Mato Arlovic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, president Tudjman led talks about dividing BiH?

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

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

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

There was political bluffing, insinuation, exaggeration…?

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

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

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

All the while a third of Croatia was occupied.

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

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

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

After that it grew into a republic?

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

Everyone is accusing the Washington and the Dayton agreements?

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

Translated from the Croatian language by Ina Vukic

Nika Pinter – General Slobodan Praljak’s Angel

Nika Pinter (R) and Ina Vukic
March 2017
Photo: Ina Vukic

A few days into my visit to my Croatian homeland I could not have wished for a better meeting than being a part of celebrating the recognition of the work and dedication to justice and truth by a remarkable Croatian woman and attorney at law Nika Pinter. Nika Pinter was awarded the 2017 Croatian Women’s Network Award for  Leadership and Innovation.

 

However,  the most amazing and heart-filling professional undertaking of Pinter’s current pursuits and those of the recent past lies in her dedication to Croatian truth and the defence in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague of  Croatian General from Bosnia and Herzegovina Slobodan Praljak, whose indictment for alleged war crimes, now on Appeal in The Hague, falls into the group of indictments  also known as “Herceg-Bosnia Six”. The Hague Appeals Chamber will commence hearing the appeal on 20th March 2017 and Nika Pinter will be there armed with the truth and arguments that hopefully will blow the Trial Chamber’s guilty vedict out of the water. The truth and justice must win in the end despite the false and vitriolic allegation of war crimes against Praljak and his five co-accused in The Hague. Truth and we must keep a positive a hopeful outlook just as it was in the cases against the Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Malden Markac who were acquitted in 2012 of war crimes they were indicted for by the ahague a prosecutor.

 

As many will remember the ICTY 2013 Trial Chamber sentenced the six Bosnia and Herzegovina Croats to prison sentences ranging from ten to twenty five years for crimes against Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina committed as part of a joint criminal enterprise. The six are jadranko Prljic, Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petkovic, Slobodan Praljak, Valentin Coric. and Berislav Pusic.

 

The Trial Chamber concluded, with a dissenting opinion of Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti, that the conflict between HVO (Croatian defence council) and the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993-1994 was an international conflict and that most crimes against the Muslim population of Herceg Bosnia which the accused are charged with were committed as part of joint criminal enterprise that also involved a part of Croatian political and military leadership including Franjo Tudjman.

 

According to the Trial Chamber ‘s colourful imagination the implementation, the purpose of the said joint criminal enterprise was to establish a Croatian entity in the boundaries of the 1939 Croatian Banovina and eventually annexe that territory to Croatia in case Bosnia and Herzegovina disintegrated.

 

Mid-March 2016, Croatia submitted an application to be granted the status of an amicus curiae and join in appeals proceedings in the case at the ICTY in which the highest Croatian officials – former President Franjo Tudjman, former Defence Minister Gojko Susak, and former Croatian Army Chief-of-Staff Janko Bobetko – were declared, in a non-final verdict in the case, to have participated in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at ethnically cleaning parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

The trial judgement delivered in 2013 found that the three, now deceased, Croatian officials devised and implemented an alleged criminal enterprise with the aim of changing the ethnic make-up of the territories claimed to form part of the Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna by allegedly directing and coordinating events on the ground to commit the crimes which resulted from a a plan to remove the Muslim population from that area.

 

In its request Croatia noted that it wishes to be granted status amicus curiae for two reasons. Firstly because the trial chamber, in its judgement written on more than two thousand pages, did not cite a single piece of evidence that would corroborate the conclusion that Tudjman, Susak and Bobetko committed those crimes or intended for them to be committed and secondly, because by concluding that they were members of a criminal enterprise the trial chamber violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

In its request Croatia asked to be allowed to “file this amicus curiae brief and appear as amicus curiae in these proceedings” because it believes that it would be “desirable” as it would “assist [the Appeals Chamber] in the proper determination of the case.”

In its response dated March 31, ICTY prosecutors objected to Croatia’s request.

It is clear to all involved and all that follow this case that the case itself is difficult and complex particularly given the  frequently encountered conclusions by the prosecution and Trial Chamber judges that point to a utilisation of political analyses rather than hard evidence.

 

Let’s mark the coming days to 20th March and beyond to the moments of Appeal Chamber deliberations with prayers for the Croatian six from Heceg Bosna and their acquittal. Good luck Nika and all the Croatian defence team and hopefully Croatia itself will reignite its unconditional support for these brave and heroic warriors for Croatian freedom. Ina Vukic

 

Hague Appeals Chamber Reverses Trial Conclusion Against Croatia’s Leaders

From left: General Janko Bobetko, Presidentof Croatia Franjo Tudjman, Croatia's Defence Minister Gojko Susak Croatia - early 1990's Photo: Cropix/Goran Sebelic

From left: General Janko Bobetko,
President of Croatia Franjo Tudjman,
Croatia’s Defence Minister Gojko Susak
Croatia – early 1990’s
Photo: Cropix/Goran Sebelic

 

The Hague Tribunal ICTY rejected Monday 18 July 2016 the request of the Republic of Croatian to join the appeal case against the six former Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatian senior officials from the 1990’s Herceg-Bosna part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jadranko Prlic, Bruno Stojic, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic. As farcical as the findings were seen by many, the ICTY Trial Chamber did find May 2013 the six men guilty for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1994 and pronounced a total of 111 years imprisonment.

 

Presiding judge last week, Judge Carmel Agius delivered the Appeal Chamber’s decision denying Croatia’s application to appear as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the above six men’s appeal proceedings to dispute the Trial Chamber’s conclusions that the six accused participated in a Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE) and that three Croatia’s officials – first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, former foreign minister Gojko Susak and Croatian army general Janko Bobetko – were members of that JCE (Joint Criminal Enterprise).

 

Croatian’s application claimed that the 2013 Trial Chamber verdict violated the right of presumption of innocence under the European Convention on Human Rights of the three Croatian official’s – Tudjman, Susak and Bobetko, who were all deceased at the time ; that the three Croatian officials were innocent of allegation that they were members of JCE and that the Trial chamber’s conclusion is tantamount to “posthumous conviction”.

Six Croats from Herceg-Bosna at ICTY in The Hague, 2013 Photo: ICTY

Six Croats from
Herceg-Bosna
at ICTY in The Hague, 2013
Photo: ICTY

 

The Appeals Chamber rejected Croatia’s application saying it would not assist the Appeals Chamber in its considerations of questions in issue at the appeal.

However, an unexpected bonus arrived from this application – the Appeal judges articulated their assessment that the original Trial Chamber findings that included conclusion regarding Croatia’s Franjo Tudjman, Gojko Susak and Janko Bobetko do not and cannot amount to a guilty verdict against these three Croatian officials (Full PDF version here):

“…the Appeals Chamber emphasises that findings of criminal responsibility made in a case before the Tribunal are binding only on the accused in a specific case. In this regard, Appeals Chamber observes that the Three Croatian Officials were not indicted or charged in the present case. Furthermore, the Trial Chamber made no explicit findings concerning their participation in the JCE and did not find them guilty of any crimes. Chamber considers that the Trial Chamber’s findings regarding the mere existence and membership of the lCE do not – and cannot – constitute findings of criminal responsibility on the part of any persons who were not charged and convicted in this case. Thus, the Trial Judgment is binding only on the Six Accused, and the presumption of innocence of the Three Croatian Officials is not impacted. The Appeals Chamber further observes that the Tribunal’s jurisdiction is restricted to “natural persons” and the Tribunal does not have the competency to make findings on state responsibility. Accordingly, the Appeals Chamber emphasises that the findings in the Trial Judgment regarding the Three Croatian Officials in no way constitute findings of responsibility on the part of the state of Croatia. The Appeals Chamber therefore finds Croatia’s submissions to be without merit and dismisses them.”

Luka Misetic Photo: Darko Tomas/Cropix

Luka Misetic Photo: Darko Tomas/Cropix

The Appeals Chamber has essentially reversed the findings of the Prlic Trial Chamber about Tudjman, Susak and Bobetko’s alleged participation in a JCE. In a unique procedural maneuver, it did so in the context of a decision to reject an amicus curiae application. Scholars and practitioners of international criminal procedure should take note.

The Appeals Chamber went on to emphasize that “the presumption of innocence of the three Croatian officials is not impacted” by the Prlic Trial Chamber judgment, and furthermore “”the Appeals Chamber emphasizes that the findings in the Trial Judgment regarding the Three Croatian Officials in no way constitute findings of responsibility on the part of the state of Croatia.”

The ICTY Appeals Chamber has thus ruled that President Tudjman, Minister Susak and General Bobetko were not found to be members of a JCE in Bosnia and remain presumed innocent by the ICTY. Prosecutor Ken Scott stated publicly that the Trial Chamber in Prlic was ‘very clear and adamant about the significant role played by Tudjman and Susak’ and that these findings were ‘one of the most historical, remarkable things about the case.’ Those findings are now reversed.
Croatia could not have hoped for a better result from the Appeals Chamber even if the Appeals Chamber had granted Croatia amicus status,” says the US based, well-known attorney Luka Misetic.

This decision at the ICTY Appeals Chamber blows right out of the water the wild and evil claims that Croatia’s plan at the time was to create a Greater Croatia by joining to it the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina known as Herceg-Bosna and, hence, concluded that Croatia’s leaders were members of the JCE that was to achieve this goal. The Hague Prosecution did accuse the Six Croats of participating in a joint criminal enterprise that was intended to “permanently remove and ethnically cleanse Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats” from the territory of the newly-established Herceg-Bosna, which they wanted to attach to a planned “Greater Croatia”. Now that the Appeal Chambers have found last week that Croatian leaders were not members of that JCE as Trial Chamber maintained it would stand to reason and truth that any Greater Croatia could not be created without Croatia. Appeal Chamber’s decision with regard to the Herceg-Bosna Six Croats is expected around November 2017. Given that many have considered the 2013 Trial Chamber verdict against them a farce and an utterly unfair and unjust, one awaits the outcome of the appeal with intense interest as it could turn the tides towards actual justice and truth and point to a different picture of the conflict between the Croats and Muslims in 1990’s in Bosnia and Herzegovina than the one painted by the ICTY Trial Chamber verdict. We can only pray for now. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Psychological Operations And Information Warfare Against Croatia and Croats – Part V

Click on Banner image to enlarge

Click on Banner image to enlarge

Guest Post
By Ante Horvat

The former Yugoslav regime elements and their children spearheaded subversive activities against the facts, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) Croats from the 1990s, through to today.

While overtly Yugoslav nationalist in their rhetoric, still to today expending taxpayer resources celebrating the Communist “liberation” and 1945 Partisan (private property) “liberators” of Croatia, they were the first to declare any opponents of their sham anti-war agenda as “nationalist,” “primitive nationalists,” etc. – blaming “nationalists” on “both sides” for the war, and not the marriage of greater Serbian fascism and retrograde Yugoslav Communist Titoism and the detailed Serbian General Officers plan for aggression, beginning with the reorganization of Territorial Defense in the mid 1980s, through to the ‘Yogurt Revolution,’ trampling of the SFRY Constitution, quasi-legal attempt at Kosovizing Croatia and the rest of then Yugoslavia, and of course the Rampart (RAM) Plan, with the explicit order to target civilians to demoralize ‘enemies,’ and overtly stated goal of creating a Greater Serbia at the expense of most of Croatia and the whole of B&H, with access to Croatia’s coastline.

Among the more vocal propagandists in the front of the charge was none other than Croatia’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs, and unofficial Shadow Foreign Minister of Serbia, Vesna Pusic, sister of UJDI (Association for Yugoslav Democratic Initiative) co-founder and current GOLJP head (Citizens Committee for Human Rights), Zoran Pusic.

Vesna Pusic helped form Erasmus Gilda in 1993, a declaratively pro-European organization, along with Slavko Goldstein, and other post-1990 self-styled “human rights” activists (the systematic violations of human rights before 1990 was apparently not a problem to them as they were silent and remain silent about them) and disinformation luminaries who all just happened to be against Yugoslavia joining the European Community prior to the first free elections in 1990, because the EC was a free market economy.

Along with the previously mentioned outlets like Arkazin, Feral Tribune and others regurgitating Belgrade’s propaganda on a weekly basis, Erasmus gatherings, published articles and their eventual failed magazine that generous USAID funds could not save, touted the line and gave the anti-fact agenda political legitimacy as they included many academics who rose to prominence within Tito’s Yugoslavia.

Here was yet another case of foreign aid subsidizing another controlled opposition – who foreign governments would openly put into power in 2000, and again in 2011.

The main propaganda agendas of these foreign-subsidized controlled opposition fronts, and foreign-financed controlled opposition political actors, as well as Belgrade’s propaganda, was during the war and remains the following, in no particular order:

  •  Push the “all sides are guilty” and “civil war” lie to spin Serbia’s aggression and the moral responsibility of the Western powers that overtly and tacitly supported Serbia’s aggression diplomatically and through domestic media filters and planted stories;
  • Equate Croatia’s defensive war effort with Serbia’s offensive aggression;
  • Equate Croatia’s defense of B&H in 1992 and the HVO’s defense of B&H Croats in the face of Serbian and later Muslim aggression with Serbia’s aggression against Croatia;
  • Push the Karadjordjevo fable and “Tudman divided B&H” myth;
  • Criminalize any and all symbols of Croatian statehood (the Kuna currency, Croatia’s Grb, etc.) by tying them to the Independent State of Croatia (WWII NDH);
  • Look for “Ustashe,” if you can’t find them, make them up;
  • Blow any Croatian backlash or isolated criminal act during wartime out of proportion and tie it to the highest levels of power while entirely ignoring the top-down, bottom-up systematic war crimes by the YPA/Yugoslav Peoples Army and VRSK/Army of Serbian Republic of Krajina (see the Zec family politicization since 1991, with the recent street naming ruse);
  • Lobby for “Krajina” political legitimacy at Western embassies and in Western capitals while domestically attack the government for being weak for not defeating “Krajina” while simultaneously claiming the “Krajina” is too strong to fall and Serbia will get involved if Croatia operationally engages it, implication being that it is better to leave it alone and recognize it;
  • Criminalize the Homeland War, all Generals, and all Veterans, with phrases like “turbo-Generals,” “Oluja/Storm was ethnic cleansing, “fake veterans,” “drunk veterans,” “gambling veterans,” etc. – anything to do with the Homeland War, the men who led it or the men who fought in it must be all negative, all the time with qualifiers regarding “our crimes” at any opportunity, all under the banner of “de-Tudmanization”;
  • Sack competent wartime and intelligence commanders whenever possible;
  • Legitimize ICTY political prosecutions and show trials of Croats from Croatia and B&H and applaud all politically-charged, logical acrobatic convictions based off of cherry-picked misquotes out of context, evidence suppression, and constructing events entirely out of chronological order;
  • Stay silent on Momcilo Perisic, Franko Simatovic and Jovica Stanisic’s acquittals, as well as no ICTY convictions of any Army of B&H commanders for the systematic war crimes and gunpoint ethnic cleansing of Croats in Central Bosnia and North Herzegovina between October 1992 and the1994 Split Agreement;
  • Paint Franjo Tudjman as a warmonger and authoritarian; compare to Ante Pavelic and Adolf Hitler when possible;
  • Push anything and everything Serbian in social and cultural spheres, no matter how low-brow (Baja Mali Knindza, Ceca, Cajke, how to be a Sponzorusa program on RTL, etc.);
  • Rehabilitate the cult of Tito and Communist Partisan “liberation” and infallibility myth at every corner, with if not daily then weekly stories referencing the “glories” of Tito and the Partisans, and make sure to have a weekly Yugonostalgia session on HRT by airing second rate, low-budget Yugoslav Communist political cinema;
  • Continually push WWII debates as if it was ongoing to cover up for failed policies and collapsing economy and no actual long-term political or economic strategy;
  • Frame all political and economic discourse about independent Croatia, especially the Homeland War, in a negative context while simultaneously framing any discussions about Tito’s Yugoslavia in a positive, at a minimum, neutral context;
  • Demand Croatia “come to terms with its crimes” of the 1990s while savagely denouncing any suggestion of the same in regards to the Communists’ crimes during and after WWII, or that the Serbian community in Croatia do the same in regards to both the 1990s, WWII, and the first Yugoslavia;
  • Ridicule the very idea of lustration laws being passed; label it “nationalist” to nip it in the bud;
  • Do everything possible to drive a wedge between Croatia’s diaspora and the Homeland;
  • Demand that Croatia abide by every single UN, EU, or ICTY demand, no matter how idiotic or how much of a double-standard, especially when they negatively affect Croatia’s sovereignty, national interests, and national security while simultaneously using all means available in defending the CCP (KPH/Communist Party of Croatia) and UDBa Octopus (Yugoslav Secret Police) at the expense of diplomatic relations with Germany and the EU;
  • Criminalize the very thought of Herceg Bosna or any Croatian legal or political equality, economic freedom, local self rule, or even following the Dayton Agreement as was agreed upon, and always support Sarajevo’s line, or remain silent on the burning Croat question;
  • Push a pro-London, anti-Berlin and anti-Vienna policy – sign a strategic partnership with the one state that comes in second to Serbia only in terms of damaging Croatia politically and diplomatically (UK) once foreign subsidies and foreign subsidized (and facilitated in foreign media) propaganda bring you to power;
  • Ignore Central Europe, never speak of the Visegrad Four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary), and speak only of the “region” to Croatia’s south, not to its north, northeast or west – never even entertain the idea of making the Visegrad Four the Visegrad five, and never demand Serbia meet the same criteria and extra criteria Croatia had to fulfill for EU entry;
  • Accept money from anyone, including those “capitalist pig” governments who were supposed to submit to the superiority of Yugoslav Socialist Self-Management;
  • Denounce, decry and try to legally bar the right of Croatia’s Diaspora and Croats in Herceg Bosna to vote while not demanding the same for Croatian citizens of Serbian origin in RS (Serbian Republic) and Serbia, who do not pay Croatian taxes – organize bus transport for them to vote in Croatia;
  • Thwart any meaningful investment with bizarre regulations, a monstrous tax code, bureaucracy, and torpedo any business investment, including sweet-heart deals, at the strategic and state level through incompetence if they conflict with Anglo-American business or geopolitical interests (see the Qatar debacle).
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About the author: Ante Horvat was born in the USA in 1970′s. He has recently moved to live permanently in Croatia and although spending most of his life in the USA he had made several temporary residence visits to Croatia during that time. His education and professional development in history and international relations also spans across the two continents. He is an active observer of and participant in the development of democracy in Croatia since the early 1990’s and its correlation with the developed Western democracies.

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Part VI – The next installment will look the new and subtle English-language information warfare against Croatia, subsidized by allies no less.

 

 

Related Posts:

PART IV:  http://inavukic.com/2014/04/08/psychological-operations-and-information-warfare-against-croatia-and-croats-part-iv/
PART III: http://inavukic.com/2014/04/05/psychological-operations-and-information-warfare-against-croatia-and-croats-part-iii/
PART II: http://inavukic.com/2014/04/02/psychological-operations-and-information-warfare-against-croatia-and-croats-part-ii/
PART I: http://inavukic.com/2014/03/30/psychological-operations-and-information-warfare-against-croatia-and-croats-part-i/

Is This A Joint Criminal Enterprise and Muslim Aggression Against Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Muslim Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina displays its mujahedin strength, Zenica 1994  (Photo first published in The London Times, 1994)

Muslim Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina displays its mujahedin strength, Zenica 1994
(Photo first published in The London Times, 1994)

We have seen it over and over again: ICTY Prosecution is more than capable of building a case on shaky grounds for the so-called joint criminal enterprise against a group of people from one ethnic group (as this blog is about Croatia and Croats I’ll stick to that ethnic group) and bringing that criminal charge to trial. In the last year we have seen the ICTY Appeal Chamber acquit Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac (as well as Croatian leadership headed by Franjo Tudjman) of joint criminal enterprise plan and execution against Serbs in Croatia. In the last fortnight we have witnessed the ICTY Trial Chamber convict 6 Croats from Herceg-Bosna (as well as the 1990’s Croatian leadership headed by Franjo Tudjman) of joint criminal enterprise against Muslims. The ICTY prosecutors premise (malicious and dangerous delusion, if you ask me!) is that Croatia wanted to expand its territory into Bosnia and Herzegovina and by offering its military support to help Bosnian Croats who were victims of Serb and Muslim led crimes, Croatia became an aggressor against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

So, I ask myself: why has the ICTY prosecution not used the same logic with the fact that Bosnian Muslims brought into Bosnia and Herzegovina foreign jihadists, Al Qaeda operatives, mujahedins and therefore planned and executed a joint criminal enterprise – aggression within its own country. ICTY prosecutor used the country or citizenship origins of fighters in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992 – 1995 war as a measure of aggression against the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so if a soldier belonged to a unit of say army from Croatia that went into Bosnia to assist Bosnian Croats who were defending their lives, then that unit is an aggressor against Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the ICTY, as things stand at this moment in time!

But, bringing soldiers/killers from foreign countries specifically to train and fight with the Muslim controlled Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not aggression, according to ICTY prosecutor!

Oh, please – give humanity and its intelligence a break!

ICTY has had a handful of cases for war crimes committed through lines of command or responsibility by senior persons of Muslim controlled Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina – but none of these (as far as I can see) had the joint criminal enterprise element spelled out, even though it is as clear as day that Muslim leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina, headed by Alija Izetbegovic, did not bring the mujahedins into his army for a nice vacation! The idea of pointing a finger against Alija Izetbegovic for planning and executing criminal enterprise against non-Muslim people of Bosnia and Herzegovina seems to have fizzled away in some political cloud that hovers above Britain and the United States of America, who it seems, played a double game: condemned jihadists and Al Qaeda on the one hand, but assisted or turned a blind eye to Alija Izetbegovic importing mujahedins to train his soldiers in murder and to murder for “his” Bosnia and Herzegovina, which decided mid-stream (because up till then Muslims and Croats were allies in defending territory and lives against Serb aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina), “suddenly”, to fight against Bosnian Croats in 1993. And what a vicious fight or conflict it turned out to be.

The ICTY Trial Chamber has not yet published the full judgment in the case against 6 Croats of Herceg-Bosna even though the summary of judgment was published over a week ago (29 May). Extraordinary! That being the case it’s difficult to comment on the issue of Croat-Muslim conflict as seen by the Trial Chamber through the eyes of the so-called 6 Croats of Herceg-Bosna case, but the disturbing public confession of a mujahedin Ali Hamad a couple of days ago upon being threatened of expulsion from Bosnia and Herzegovina and actively seeking asylum in Serbia, is opening more and more eyes worldwide to the fact how this aspect of Bosnian Muslim army during 1990’s war has largely been overlooked from the standpoint of international aggression. All it seems knew of it, but somehow, the Bosnian Muslims’ import of foreign jihadist forces has evaded, it seems, the theorists of and prosecutors for “joint criminal enterprise”!

Dnevno.hr reports that, according to press online, an officer of Al Qaida, Ali Hamad, citizen of Bahrain, who has this week asked for asylum from Serbia after he completes serving his 12 year prison sentence in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 1997 bombing of Mostar, has admitted to having personally during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, participated in horrible crimes by the “El Mujahedin” unit against Croats. His admission comes out of his remorse, her reportedly stated.

The greatest number of murders were executed by the Egyptian Abu Mina,” Hamad said, “an officer assigned to security and special tasks. Mina murdered people with a chainsaw and with a large knife. He murdered prisoners at Zavidovici. He cut their heads off with an axe in front of standing mujahideens, and ordered us to impale the prisoners on stakes and leave them to die in terrible suffering…

The Croat – Muslim conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina has largely been depicted in the international media (as well as the ICTY) as an attack on Bosnian Muslims.

Mujahedins from North Africa, Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan … started arriving in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the invitation and plan of the Muslim president of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic.  They arrived in the territory of Central Bosnia first, the areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina populated mainly by Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats. Mujahedins then started accumulating followers there and set up military training camps in the villages near Zenica, Travnik, Bugojno… They support and fight with the Bosnian Muslim forces, whose existence was threatened at that time and who were victims of the Serb occupation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  But the real goal of the mujahedins coming to Bosnia and Herzegovina was far beyond training or humanitarian tasks. Mujahedins shared beliefs with their fellow Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina – to come to the aid of “oppressed” Muslims and use the opportunity to strike at “infidels”! Create a Muslim state in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Does did look like planned aggression to you!?

Does this look like true joint criminal enterprise planned by Alija Izetbegovic, Muslim leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time, and executed?

It’s known that the British battalion, within the UN peace mission there, arrived in Central Bosnia at the same time as first mujahedins.

Only a few months after the British arrived a merciless conflict between Croats and Muslims erupted in the area. Incidentally or not, recruiters of mujahedins for the Army of Bosnia and Heerzegovina also came from Britain; British citizens… Mujahedins take part in military operations of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Muslim). They commit untold atrocities against the Croatian population, using their well known brutal signatures – blood letting, destroying peoples’ faces, heart extraction, beheading.

The Islamist, jihadist connections of the Izetbegovic government are one of the most overlooked – or deliberately ignored – facts of the Bosnian War. It certainly continues to be so, unless the full judgment from ICTY Trial Chamber against 6 Croats of Herceg-Bosna actually opens new windows for justice, instead of playing politics and collective guilt.

Ali Hamad was a witness for the prosecution before the ICTY Trial against the commander of the Main Staff of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosniak General Rasim Delic, and Hamad’s testimony went largely undisputed and he said that authorities all knew about the crimes of mujahedin and their connections with the Bosniak (Muslim) politicians and officers.

And now this week Ali Hamad confesses he committed war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of mujahedins, part of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I hope that his wish to be extradited to Serbia upon completion of his prison sentence in Bosnia and Herzegovina for bombing of Mostar in 1992 will not be granted. I hope that work has already begun at Bosnia and Herzegovina’s public prosecutor’s office, at least, on compiling criminal charges for war crimes and participation in Muslim joint criminal enterprise against non-Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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