Serbia Did Control Brutal Aggression Against Croatia

 

 

Borivoja Savic
at UN MICT Hague
Photo credit: MICT

Serb Borivoje Savic’s (a witness for the prosecution at the UN Mechanisms for International Criminal Tribunals/MICT in The Hague), 2012 amalgamated  statement (PDF) in the war crimes committed in Croatia proceedings against Goran Hadzic was, 5 September 2017, admitted by court decision as evidence in the Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic war crimes retrial.

Stanisic, who was the chief of the Serbian Secret Service SDB from 1992, and his former assistant Simatovic are being retried for the persecution, murders, deportations and forcible resettlement of Croat and Bosniak civilians during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1991 to 1995.

According to the charges, they were part of a joint criminal enterprise led by former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, aimed at forcibly and permanently removing Croats and Bosniaks from large parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to achieve Serb domination.

Two former secret police chiefs – Jovica Stanisic, the former head of Serbia’s state security/SDB , and Franko Simatovic, his deputy, once held to be among the most powerful men in Serbia, went on trial Tuesday 13 June 2017 at The Hague for the second time, accused of running a lethal network of covert operations during the 1990-95 conflict in which Serbia wanted to prevent the break-up of Yugoslavia despite the fact that majority of people in states that made up Yugoslavia, except Serbia, voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia.  The ICTY/MICT prosecutors hold that the operations were intended to impose as well as conceal the wartime policies of Slobodan Milosevic, the then Serbian president. The policies that with their intent could perhaps be captured in a sentence uttered by Milosevic in 1989: “Either Serbia will be united or there will be no Serbia!” With this non-Serbs across former Yugoslavia began to tremble.

Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic
Photo credit: MICT

A former Serbian Democratic party official from Vukovar (Croatia) Borivoje Savic’s appearance at the UN MICT yesterday, on Tuesday 12 September 2017, in relation to the Stanisic and Simatovic retrial strongly reiterated his former statements’ claim  that the Serbian State Security Service (SDB) played a key role, established, controlled and armed Serb forces that waged war in Croatia (early 1990’s).

He said to the court  that the plan and goal Serbia had at the time was for “all Serbs to live in one state”, and that Serbian politician Mihalj Kertes had passed that goal-related resolution as  “Serbia’s unambiguous stance” to Serbian politicians from Croatia in late May 1992. As evidenced by Savic’s testimony Kertes was “Slobodan Milosevic’s trusted man”. According to his further testimony, Kertes was a close associate to defendant Stanisic and played a key role in arming Serb forces in Kninska Krajina and Eastern Slavonia, which began in August 1990 “seemingly under the auspices of the SDS, but actually under the auspices of the Serbian SDB”.

Savic said the Serbian SDB also deployed paramilitary units controlled by Zeljko Raznatovic, alias Arkan, to the Croatian region of Eastern Slavonia in the spring of 1991. Arkan’s men committed grave crimes against Croats and other non-Serb civilians in Croatia, he testified.

As soon as they arrived in the field, they executed all the Croats and Hungarians and threw them into wells… Arkan’s guards had the role of both the law and the court,” Savic said to the court and continued, “the victims who were killed in the Croatian villages of Erdut, Dalj and Aljmas were “civilians who did not want to leave” after the Yugoslav National Army “had expelled the local population”.

Old men and women were killed,” he said, and told the court that the local Serb authorities knew about this.

Savic was clear and insisted that it was “only the Serbian SDB” who was responsible for Arkan’s actions and that “the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia had nothing to do with what Arkan did”.

Given Savic’s testimony so far it somehow does not surprise, even if it does enrage and anger, that Croatian Serb politician Milorad Pupovac has been most aggressive and forceful the past week or so regarding the HOS Plaque (Croatian defence forces) in memory of the men who were killed there in 1991 defending Croatia from Serb aggression, and insisting it be taken down because, according to him and other communist liars, it represents the WWII fascist regime (which is untrue). The HOS plaque from Jasenovac was removed from its original place and relocated to a place of Novska some 9 km away.

Pupovac keeps dumping hateful material how HOS Plaque marking the place where Croatian defenders were killed in defending Croatia from Serb aggression cannot remain in Jasenovac because nearby is the WWII Jasenovac camp which marks the place of Jew, Roma, Serb and Croat WWII exterminations. Pupovac is evidently trying every way to hide the atrocity that his Serb people perpetrated against Croatians in the 1990’s. One wonders how much his heightened activities regarding that HOS plaque and likening it to fascist symbol had to do with him trying to divert attention from what was and is going on with the Simatovic and Stanisic case in The Hague. That is, Pupovac being politically active in 1990’s, promotion of Serb agenda during the Serb aggression against Croatia, was very likely one of those Serbian politicians Savic’s testimony speaks of in Croatia who knew Serbia’s plan to ethnically cleanse of Croats and non-Serbs the territory of Croatia Serbs wanted for themselves – and permitted the atrocities to occur. It is a terrible and almost an unthinkable thing to have to be placed into a situation where one is required by politics to tolerate in such important public role such people as Pupovac, who neither show remorse nor regret anything about the ethnic cleansing, mass murder, rapes, devastation Serbs in the name of Serbia committed against Croats and Croatia. Croats in Croatia are being placed in the situation where they must tolerate Pupovac; how utterly unacceptable and awful, especially for the victims of Homeland War. Pupovac is a member of the Croatian parliament representing a part of Serb minority and the feathers of his political wings have grown noticeably since the struggling HDZ took him into their coalition for governing majority in May/June 2017. Any such government that permits such political alliances that go against everything Croatian people have fought for, lost lives for…deserves to be harshly judged by the people and ousted from government if necessary. For the sake of its survival as a democratic state, removed from communism and Serbia, Croatia simply must base its existence and its principles and foundations of its existence upon the goals and achievements of its 1990’s Homeland War. Ina Vukic

 

 

 

Croatia: No Apology For Defending People And Country

Apology Poster in
Zagreb Trams
Photo: Screenshot

Article 51 of the UN Charter clearly recognises “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations” by anyone. To put it further, the inherent right to self-defence extends to all, whether members of the UN or not.

But it seems this right to self-defence has eluded a group of youth in Croatia that operates under the banner of Human Right initiatives, causing community outrage and despair for justice.

A number of small but publicly visible campaign posters, entitled ‘Apology’ (set against the background photo of Serbs leaving Croatia in cars and carts filled with their belongings after the Operation Storm in August 1995] appeared inside Zagreb’s trams this week. Jumbo-posters have appeared alongside roadways.

One cannot but express dismay and shock at even the thought as to who among authorities permitted these posters to be displayed.

The malicious and politically appalling motive behind this has everything to do with blatant disregard for the truth that Croatia was forced to defend itself and with mounting some (undeserved) credibility to Serb denial of guilt for the bloody aggression that Croatia had to deal with between 1991 and 1995. The campaign is timed just ahead of Croatia’s Victory Day celebrations for 5 August – military Operation Storm ended 5 August 1995 and liberated Croatia’s territory of the Serb self-proclaimed and ethnically cleansed of Croats and other non-Serbs, Serbian Republic of Krajina (Croatia’s occupied territory).

The public posters aim to open a public communications channel through social networks, through which the Initiative will provide audio, video and other materials and gather signatures of support through the ‘Apology to the Victims of Storm’ petition,” the Youth Initiative for Human Rights said in a press release. As well as signing the petition, the group says that people will be able to share their thoughts on social networks using the hashtag #isprika (apology). Their aim is also to convince the authorities to officially apologise to all the innocent victims of the operation and their families.

Jumbo Poster
along Zagreb road
“National interest is admission,
no lies”
Photo: Screenshot

 

According to the Youth Initiative for Human Rights website the organisation’s “Vision” is “To live in responsible societies that have learned lessons from the past and aspire towards a positive future founded on the respect of human rights, citizens’ values and the rule of law.”

First of all, this group of young people has learned no lesson from the perilous past of their own Croatian people. Second, they evidently do not respect the rule of law for if they did they would act according to what laws say regarding court decisions – to respect them. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Appeals Chamber in the Hague had in November 2012 ruled and found that there had been no forced deportations of Serbs from Croatia and after the Operation Storm of August 1995 (Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac case).

Hence, one can safely discard this bunch of social and political hoodlums belonging to this Youth Initiative for Human Rights from anything even remotely associated with justice as a human right. Indeed, going by their website, their “Mission” is “Mission of the youth Initiative for human rights is guided by the values it wants to realise in society.” In other words, this group of young people, in the case evidence by these posters, want to shape the Croatian society by false pretenses and by covering up the glorious truth about Croatia’s victory against Serb aggression.

What an obscene situation Croatians are forced to have to deal with here!

Now lets look at the human and material cost to Croatia that Serb aggression caused between 1991 and 1995. In 1991 Croatia’s population was about 4,785,000, out of that were 12.2% Serbs.

These are the terrible figures of Croatian victims and damages caused by the Serb aggression during the Homeland War (1991-1995) – these figures keep climbing as matters get discovered.

Croats killed 13,583 (Civilians 6605 including more than 402 children)
Wounded 30,578
Women, children and men raped and pack-raped, so far recorded – 2,500
By December 1991 displaced-forcefully deported from their homes as ethnic cleansing of Croats and non-Serbs ensued – 550,000
Held in concentration camps – 30,000
War invalids – 37,000
Catholic churches destroyed – 122
Hospitals destroyed – 14
Buildings destroyed – 200,000 (180,000 homes)
Mass graves unearthed – 156
Individual graves of victims of Serb aggression – 1400 (unearthed by 2011)
Still missing – 1,541
War damage – in excess of 32 billion euro

Land mines left in Croatia by Serbs: 42,371 

 

Serb Aggression and
ethnic cleansing of Croats
in Croatia 1991 – 1995
Photo: Screenshot
See animated video below

 

It is the Serbs and Serbia who must apologise to Croatia!

Operation Storm put the needed swift end to the terrible suffering caused by the Serb aggression.

An apology is not needed from Croatia for Operation Storm – but it is needed from Serbia. Operation Storm was absolutely necessary to prevent further damage to Croatia and its people.

From the perspective of lives lost in Croatia during the war, Operation Storm saved far far more lives than it took. To apologise for Croatia’s kindness in leading a clean (non-civilian targets) military operation for the liberation of its occupied territory – Operation Storm – would be to rob Croatia of even more of what little dignity it has left after all the pro-communist, pro-Yugoslavia, pro-Serbia attacks it has so far endured in its path to democracy and freedom.

Serbia has not apologised for the multitude of heinous crimes carried out on the Croatian people between 1991 and 1995, and in fact still denies the crimes. Had Serbia not attacked Croatia with the help of the drowning Yugoslav Army and Serb rebels living in Croatia, the Operation Storm, Croatia’s Homeland War, would never have happened.

This is the lesson that Youth Initiative for Human Rights should have learned from their country’s past!

They should have learned that the aftermath of Croatia’s democratic vote to secede from communist Yugoslavia turned out, from the direction of Serbia, to be more hostile, protracted, and bloody than ever could be imagined in Croatia (or elsewhere). A nation whose people wanted to be free of communism and secure from the evil of oppression became a victim to violence and terror. For all of this, Serbia should show profound sorrow, regret, and apology. Not Croatia! Ina Vukic

 

Serbia Forces Croatian Operation Storm Into Intense False Memory Battlefield

 

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (R)
greets Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic (L)
before an honor cordon at the Pentagon,
July 12, 2017.
DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

You are on the side of the victorious; of those who defeated aggression, occupiers, injustice and mass murderers! Now, just imagine this: World War II Allied countries celebrate victory and they get criticised and demonised for not commemorating their enemy’s war dead or displaced at the same time! You can’t imagine such criticism – let alone stand it without firm protest.

Croatia, once again, this year, prepares for the celebration of 5 August 1995 Operation Storm victory over Serb aggressor and occupier. But, once again, not without being criticised and demonised by Serbia’s leadership for not including in those celebrations come commemoration the Serb victims who perished as brutal aggressors against Croatia and those who fled Croatia into Serbia once it became clear that their onslaught against Croatia had come to an end with the military operation Storm.

Operation Storm was one of two critical military operations (the other being Operation Flash, May 1995) to bring to an end of the war of Serb-aggression in Croatia that was sparked by Croatia’s proclamation of independence from the former Yugoslavia. Serbia and Serbs became the aggressors against Croatia, using in the process the Belgrade based remnants of the still existing Yugoslav People’s Army at the time.

While Croatia has been celebrating the anniversary as its Victory Day, Serbia declared the same date as an official day of mourning for Serbs perished or displaced or who fled as part of its military and paramilitary forces. And even though the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Appeals Chamber had in November 2012 (in the case against generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac) found that there had been no forced deportation of Serb population in Croatia, Serbia continues playing its malicious tune, branding the military operation Storm as one ethnic cleansing (of Serbs). In the same breath, Serbia omits to mention that it was the Serb forces that actually ethnically cleansed of Croats and other non-Serbs one-third of Croatia’s territory they had occupied between 1991 and August 1995.

Last week, July 12th, Croatia’s defence minister Damir Krsticevic, visited Washington and met with the US Secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, who praised the Croatian Operation Storm, saying:

Seeing you here today reminds me of my time at Supreme Allied Commander Transformation when Croatia joined NATO. And that was a very good day for the alliance.

Twenty-two years ago next month marks the anniversary of an operation named Storm, an operation that is studied in the U.S. military to show what a well-led force, well trained, well equipped, and with good political guidance, how it can change the course of history. And we are honored to have you here today for your role in that operation.

We have great respect here for our friend and ally. It’s a small country, but I would just say that it, as we say, bats above its weight, fights above its weight. You’ve been a wonderful example…”

But, wouldn’t you know it, Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic, upon his visit to Washington this week wasted no time to criticise the US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis for praising Croatia’s operation Storm. Straight-faced, Vucic continues to spread lies about the operation Storm saying that it caused deportation of 250,00 Serbs from Croatia. What a repulsively brazen liar! But, if we are reminded that Vucic himself was heavily involved is Serbia’s anti-Croatian independence in the 1990’s and was one of the political mouthpieces for the Serb brutal aggression against Croatian territory in order to ethnically cleanse the areas of non-Serbs for Serb occupation, then we know that his denial of Serb aggression also serves as his own defence mechanism against personal guilt.

I am all for reconciliation, but this kind of behavior that Vucic perpetuates in order to deny Serb aggression and crimes in Croatia is just too much to take for anyone.

Serbia’s president Vucic continues to claim that:

1) Croatia’s Operation Storm was aggressive – it was not! It was defensive operation and the one that liberated Croatian territory from Serb occupation. It was a legal and the cleanest of military operations seen to that date throughout the world. It was the Serbs who engaged in ethnic cleansing by forcefully deporting or murdering Croats and other non-Serbs from the Croatian territory they occupied.

2) 2,000 Serbs were killed during the aggression – wrong again; less than 700 Serb casualties as confirmed by the ICTY;

3) over 250,000 Serbs expelled – wrong again, this number does even compare to pre war census; the Serb leadership of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina (read Croatian territory occupied by Serbs between 1991 and August 1995) ordered (via a directive from Belgrade, Serbia) a pre-planned evacuation of Serbs from Croatia and the ICTY confirmed that there was no expelling of Serbs from Croatia! What is worse, during their evacuation Serbia’s “brave” warriors, in their haste to retreat, ran over and killed scores of their own people.

4) Operation Storm was unprovoked – wrong yet again – it was war and Croatia did all it could to peacefully resolve the situation, but after 4-5 years of repeated honest attempts by Croatia, Serbian belligerence could no longer be tolerated either by Croatia or the international community – years of failed peace talks that the Serbs purposefully sabotaged for failure, disrespected by Serbs UN Resolutions, broken cease fires by Serbs before the ink could even dry on the paper, even after terms so favourable to the Serbs that even the international community was surprised at how favourable the peace could be to Serbs and, yet, Serbs rejected them without consideration. Croatia had to act. It had to liberate its own territory; it had to deal with more than a million displaced people it cared for in many refugee camps and settlements.

A UN Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights (UN General Assembly 23 January 2014) states that “memory has become an intense battlefield”, in which remembering serves to justify political agendas. Wilful distortions of memory by way of disregarding facts or truth, such as practiced by Serbia’s president Vucic and others in Serbia certainly add a terrifying aspect to that battlefield. Not even the platform of politics can justify or accept it. Ina Vukic

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