Tallying the bloody price paid for freedom from oppressive Communist Yugoslavia

Croatia 1991

With the latest International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Appeal Chamber ruling against Bosnian Serbs Milan Lukic (life imprisonment) and Sredoje Lukic (27 years imprisonment) for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war committed in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad in 1992 and 1993, the total number of years of imprisonment for war crimes committed on the Territory of for Yugoslavia (in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia) between 1991 and 1995 now stands at 1,447!

The 1,447 years of imprisonment are contained in the following breakdown among ethnic groups:

•    69 Serbs – (war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 1,192 years imprisonment;
•    14 Croatians (none of these people are from Croatia/ war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 183 years imprisonment;
•    5 Bosniaks (Muslims/ Bosnia and Herzegovina) – 41 years imprisonment;
•    2 Albanians (Kosovo) – 19 years imprisonment;
•    1 Macedonian – (Macedonia) – 12 years imprisonment

There are cases still being heard in the ICTY Trial Chamber ( 3 Serbs for war crimes in Croatia; 9 Serbs for war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina; 6 Croats fro war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina). Also, cases still being considered at ICTY Appeal Chamber are:  1 Serb for war crimes in Croatia; 8 Serbs for war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina; 6 Serbs for war crimes in Kosovo.

Recent politically violent and ferocious attacks and blatant disregard for law, factual evidence and democracy that have emanated from many Serb leaders (all over the world and particularly from Serbia) as reactions to the recent acquittal by the ICTY of Croatian Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac have reminded me of the horror that came from Belgrade (Serbia) in 1991 when the Communist Yugoslav Army decided it was not going to accept any democratic choice of the majority of Croatian citizens to escape from Communism and secede from Communist Yugoslavia. The London Evening Standard 8 November 1991 edition wrote: “Serbian politicians have been saying that they will not capitulate to any pressure until all those who want to remain in Yugoslavia have the right to do so”.

The pressure Serbia wasn’t going to capitulate to was the 94% of Croatian voters wanting out of Communist Yugoslavia at the democratic referendum vote! Similar pressure Serbia couldn’t capitulate to occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

While Serbia continues on its bullying path, angry at the fact that the tally of ICTY judgments reflects the truth and reality of how brutal its non-capitulation to anti-communist orientation in early 1990’s was, it is such a proud moment for Croatia to know that not a single Croatian from Croatia has to this date been convicted war crimes by the ICTY. It is to be kept in mind, though, that individual Croatians have committed or are suspected of having committed crimes during the times of Serbia’s “non-capitulation” to democracy (1991 – 1995) and they, just as Serbs or Bosniaks, are being processed by the criminal courts in Croatia, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

Certainly, the policy of the first president of Croatia, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, was always to defend and not to murder. This is reflected in the ICTY’s tally of convictions for major war crimes. And that’s the fact that is important. That’s the fact that pours pride into the Croatian nation – the individuals who had or are suspected of having committed crimes do not and will not tarnish the good name of Dr. Franjo Tudjman nor of Croatian nation, no matter how much various politicians or others try to spin lies and undeserved aspersions.

Franjo Tudjman

Franjo Tudjman

On that note, today, 10 December 2012, is the 13th anniversary of Dr. Franjo Tudjman’s death. May he rest in peace with our knowledge that justice is slow but sure! He begged for international help, he waited for it (in futility) and watched his people die in brutal Serb attacks, he watched 1 Million Croatians and Bosniaks being ethnically cleansed from their homes between 1991 and August 1995, he hoped and prayed humanity and respect of the right to self-determination would prevail, he suffered atrocious vilification by many who pretended to stand near him/watching out for freedom and from international anti-Croatian “political gangmen” … in all that, we remember Him well! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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