Croatian Operation Storm 1995 and the Serb Self-imposed Exodus From Croatia

 

In honour of the 25th Anniversary of the Croatian August 1995 Operation Storm that within a matter of days liberated much of its Serb occupied territory I would like to share with the public and my readers the documentary film in the English language that clearly, verifiably and with absolute and irrefutable truth demonstrates the magnificent courage of the Croatian Defence Forces in bringing to the people a free and independent Croatia. This video focuses on some of the crucial military tactics employed by the Croatian Defence Forces, ensuring that there were no victims of the shelling of Knin, which was usurped by rebel Serbs as the capital city of the area they occupied via ethnic cleansing of Croats, via murder and destruction and gave it the name of Serbian Republic of Krajina. The video demonstrates with historic evidence that Croatia did not forcibly expel Serbs from Croatia in August of 1995 and is in itself a document of truth. Very worthwhile watching, and I trust you will watch this video and share it. It begins with:

“Hello and welcome to my Youtube presentation entitled “What caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm”. My name is Luka Misetic, I am an attorney in New York, I spent seven years before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia as defence counsel in the case of General Ante Gotovina which dealt extensively with Operation Storm. So, I have spent many years looking at the evidence in the case. At the end of this presentation hopefully you will learn three important things about Operation Storm. The first is what caused the Serb exodus from Croatia during Operation Storm. The second important thing is that you will learn the critical role that General Ante Gotovina played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and the third thing that you will hopefully learn is the importance of a little village in the Southern part of Croatia known as Otric and the importance that that village played in Croatia’s victory in Operation Storm and in the departure of Krajina Serb civilians and military from Croatia during Operation Storm.

As I record this in August of 2020 and we are approaching the 25th Anniversary of Operation Storm, which took place between 4 August and 8 August 1995. Every year around this time tensions rise between Croatia and Serbia over the anniversary of Operation Storm. There are competing narratives between the two countries about the Operation. Operation Storm is celebrated in Croatia because it liberated 10,400 square kilometres or 4,000 square miles of Croatia’s territory that had been occupied by rebel Serbs for more than 4 years. The territory liberated by Operation Storm accounted for more that 1/5 of Croatia’s overall territory. Croatia celebrates Operation Storm every year on the 5th of August as a national holiday. In Croatia it is known as Victory Day and Day of Homeland Thanksgiving.

In Serbia the anniversary of Operation Storm is a Day of National Mourning. The Serbians view Operation Storm is that it is the biggest ethnic cleansing in modern Europe with the claim that hundreds of thousands of Serbs were expelled by Croatian authorities in 1995.

It is true that many Serbs left Croatia during Operation Storm… many civilians packed up and left and exited Croatia in long columns that took several days, leaving for the Serb occupied territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina known as Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) or going on to Serbia itself. But the key question that has to be asked is why did the Serbs leave during Operation Storm? The issues or questions are were they forcibly expelled by Croatia or were they encouraged to leave by their own Serb leadership which caused a panic among the civilian population and a mass exodus.

The fundamentally contradictory historical narratives are at the centre of the dispute between Serbia and Croatia which arises every year in August during the anniversary of Operation Storm. In this video I will explain the true reasons that caused the Serb population to leave Croatia in 1995….”

 

Thank you Luka Misetic for this detailed video of Croatia’s victory in its harsh path to independence, corroborated by facts, that stands tall in the line of magnificent Croatian truths. Happy Victory Day to all Croats around the world! Ina Vukic

 

 

HERE ARE SOME SCREENSHOTS FROM LUKA MISETIC’S VIDEO. PLEASE CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE:

 

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

 

Croatia: Candles For The Unforgotten – 25 Years On

Vukovar remembers 25 Years since Battle of Vukovar Top R: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Bottom R: Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic Photo collage: Vecernji List

Vukovar remembers
25 Years since Battle of Vukovar
Top R: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Bottom R: Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic
Photo collage: Vecernji List

Friday 18 November 2016 more than a 120,000 people took part in the memorial march in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar to the Serb-led Yugoslav army and Serb rebel forces on 18 November 1991 after a three-month siege and slaughter of Croats and ethnic cleansing of Croats from the town. Across Croatia lit candles lined the streets to mark the day 25 years ago when rivers of innocent Croatian blood flowed under the knife of Serb aggressor and the destruction of Croatia reached the point of the senseless and brutal. More than 10,000 people were killed in the Croatian war (1991 – 1995) that started when Croatia declared independence from communist Yugoslavia, triggering a murderous rebellion by minority Serbs to whose aid swiftly came the communist Yugoslavia army seated in Belgrade Serbia.

Remembrance march in Vukovar 18 November 2016 Photo: Screenshot Jutarnji List

Remembrance march in Vukovar
18 November 2016
Photo: Screenshot Jutarnji List

The Battle of Vukovar began on 25 August 1991 when the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA) and Serb paramilitaries mounted an all-out attack on the town. About 1,800 Croatian defenders, including a large number of volunteers from throughout the country, defended the town for almost three months before being overrun by the besieging forces on 18 November 1991. About 4,000 people were killed in the battle.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic lights candles at Vukovar Memorial Cemetery 18 November 2016 Photo: Marko Markonjic/Pixsell

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
lights candles at Vukovar Memorial Cemetery
18 November 2016
Photo: Marko Mrkonjic/Pixsell

JNA troops took wounded Croatian soldiers and civilians from the town hospital to a nearby pig farm at Ovcara and executed them in the night between 20 and 21 November 1991. Two hundred bodies have been exhumed from the Ovcara mass grave and 76 persons are still unaccounted for. The youngest victim was 16 years old and the oldest was 84. Among the victims was a woman seven months pregnant.
After the town’s occupation, several thousand Croatian prisoners of war and civilians were taken to concentration camps in Serbia, and about 22,000 Croats and other non-Serbs were expelled from the town.
A total of 309 persons from the Vukovar area are still listed as missing.

From Left: Hero, Dr Vesna Bosanac of Vukovar Hospital 1991 Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of Croatia Ivan Penava, Mayor of Vukovar at Vukovar 18 November 2016 Photo:Marko Mrkonjic/Pixsell

From Left: Hero, Dr Vesna Bosanac of Vukovar Hospital 1991
Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb,
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of Croatia
Ivan Penava, Mayor of Vukovar
at Vukovar 18 November 2016
Photo:Marko Mrkonjic/Pixsell

On the same day, November 18, 2016, several thousand people gathered in the coastal Skabrnja on Friday to commemorate the massacre on 18 November 1991 of 58 Croatian civilians and 26 soldiers by Serb rebel forces led by Ratko Mladic (currently at the Hague, ICTY, for war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina including Srebrenica genocide).

Remembrance march 2016 Skabrnja, Croatia Photo: HINA/ ml

Remembrance march 2016
Skabrnja, Croatia
Photo: HINA/ ml

The next day, November 19th, thousands march peacefully in remembrance of massacres and tortures of Croats in Borovo Naselje (next to Vukovar) and Nadin (next to Skarbrnje) when of 19 November 1991 Serb paramilitary forces made up of Croatian Serbs with the help of Yugoslav army seated in Belgrade, Serbia, stormed into these villages and as in Vukovar and Skabrnje the day before – massacred dozens of Croatian civilians, forcing others in their thousands to concentration camps both in Croatia and in Serbia. The same terror occurred in many other places, day by day. It was the time of Serb occupation of Croatian lands by means of murder, ethnic cleansing, rape, destruction… a reign of terror no one can forget and most cannot forgive – the pain is still too fresh and the crimes still unpunished. This is not a good report card for Croatian governments since at least 1998 when the last patch of Croatian Serb-occupied land was reintegrated into Croatia. There are still hundreds upon hundreds of massacred and murdered Croats on the missing list and Serb simply will not reveal where their remains are buried.

Stone monument to those massacred in Nadin on 19 November 1991 Photo: Vladimir Brkic

Stone monument to those massacred in Nadin
on 19 November 1991
Photo: Vladimir Brkic

 

Besides political rhetoric and declarations of condemnation Croatian governments have not really set a firm agenda intent on achieving the result of finding out where the remains of the missing people are and what had happened to them. This agenda should become the Croatian government’s demand to Serbia as part of Serbia’s negotiations to EU membership.

I hope that after 25 years we will receive an answer to the question where our people perished, and then find the perpetrators and try them for their crimes and punish them,” said in Borovo Naselje to HRT TV news Ljiljana Alvir, president of the Union of the Families of the Imprisoned and the Missing.

Ljiljana Alvir Photo:hrt.hr

Ljiljana Alvir
Photo:hrt.hr

She said that when talking about Borovo Naselje, people from Borovo village (near Vukovar), the Serbs who were there (in 1991) and those who still live there, and who participated in the crimes and celebrated their “victory” on 19 November 1991, know where the graves of the missing are. She added that threats are made against Borovo population and the population of similar places, if they reveal where the graves are, that something (nasty) will happen to them. Besides, she said, they also fear that they’ll be indicted of the crimes if they reveal burial places and, therefore, keep quiet.

Remembrance march Borovo Naselje 19 November 2016 Photo:Gordan Panic

Remembrance march
Borovo Naselje 19 November 2016
Photo:Gordan Panic

We expect concrete measures from the Croatian government and pressure against Serbia, especially via the European parliament and to show Serbia that, if it doesn’t solve the question of the missing, it would not enter the EU as member state…” Alvir added.
Perhaps the new Croatian government will achieve more for the road to the revelation of the graves of the missing by appointing the retired General Ante Gotovina as Special Adviser to Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic at a government meeting in Vukovar on Thursday 17 November2016. General Gotovina along with general Mladen Markac were acquitted in 2012 by the ICTY of war crimes charges relating to the 1995 Operation Storm which liberated much of Croatian territory of Serb occupation.

Ante Gotovina Photo: FaH/ Mario STRMOTIC /ds

Ante Gotovina
Photo: FaH/ Mario STRMOTIC /ds

I am very pleased that my great friend and our hero has accepted my proposal and this engagement. I am confident that the general, with his knowledge and competence, will make a considerable contribution to national security and the development of the Croatian Armed Forces. It is my desire to continue encouraging the engagement of former professional soldiers and officers who helped in creating our Homeland and who can certainly also help in maintaining national security,” Krsticevic said in his Facebook post. https://eblnews.com/news/croatia/general-gotovina-appointed-special-adviser-defence-minister-44830 Serbs and Serbia are not going to be happy about this appointment as they continue with their denial of war crimes committed in Croatia but then nothing short of strong measures by Croatia will ever do justice to the victims of Serb-aggression crimes in Croatia.

And that pressure against Serbia should become the focus of all Croatian citizens in the coming months and years, if needed. Remembering those that perished without a trace, year after year, loses its true meaning without real efforts being made in finding their graves and their destiny. And so, I too hope that the Croatian government will turn its political rhetoric about the need to find the missing and start applying some real measures and pressures to actually give that revelation a real prospect. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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