Croatia and The Relentless Serbian Aggression Against It

Planned and organised exodus of Serbs who never wanted an independent Croatia from Croatia in August 1995

Serbia’s aggression against Croatia in the past three decades wears a political and morally corrupt cloak, chipping away at the glorious Croatian victory over the brutal and genocidal Serb aggression in the early 1990’s.  

The fact that Croatia’s government, despite its loud rhetoric in challenging Serbia’s new indictments for alleged war crimes of four Croatian 1995 Operation Storm pilots fails to stop, or even reprimand, its Serb coalition partners for their barracking for Serbia in this matter is a rude reminder that this Croatian government is hypocritical and dishonest, especially towards the suffering and sacrifices Croatians endured because of Serb aggression. A truly just response would be to cease government coalition with minority Serbs who were associated with Serb aggressor and who degrade Croatian war veterans and who have consistently been trampling over the glory of Croatian victory in defending Croatia from the genocidal Serb aggression.

The Zagreb based N1 TV has Monday 20 August 2022 published parts of the Serbian indictment against Croatian pilots engaged in battles during Operation Storm in August of 1995 that was successful in swiftly liberating a part of Croatia from brutal Serb occupation that held ground since 1991 and had ethnically cleansed the area from all Croats and other non-Serbs. Then, following orders from Serbia and rebel Serb leadership in Croatia some 200,000 Serbs, who never wanted an independent Croatia and mostly sided with rebel Serbs and Serb aggressors (those Croatian Serbs who fought with Croatia defending it from Serb aggression never fled or exited) left Croatia for Serbia, which happening Serbia has called ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Croatia. Make no mistake, Serbia and Slobodan Milosevic regime planned and staged this exodus for Serbia’s political agenda. There is no doubt in the mind of many professional war analysts as well as Psychologists that, once Croats were successful in liberating their land the Serbs, including so-called civilians, feeling guilty and being guilty of crimes against Croats, fled in fear of retribution for their crimes and brutal aggression and ethnic cleansing and murders and rapes… The indictment for alleged war crimes against the four pilots, Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulj, Zeljko Jelenic i Danijel Borovic, is reportedly a 26-page document issued in Belgrade on 31 March 2022 and upheld by the Belgrade Appeals Court in mid-August 2022, and reeks of Serbia’s desperate and consistent attempts to deny its own genocidal aggression against Croatia in the 1990’s and to whitewash its heinous war crimes there.

While the Croatian government headed by the Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ and Andrej Plenkovic as Prime Minister keeps as his deputies in government coalition Croatian Serbs (such as Boris Milosevic and Anja Simprega and holds Milorad Pupovac close) the same persons are conducting Serbia’s political and other interests rather than Croatian ones in Croatia. They do not accept nor condemn Serbia’s brutal aggression against Croatia! They do not embrace the truth that Croatia was placed in the position of self-preservation, defending the lives of its people, in the face of Serb aggression that was brutal, indiscriminate, wanton and genocidal, worse than what we see these days in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic assessed Thursday 25 August that the indictment against four Croatian pilots for alleged war crimes against civilians during the Operation Storm was “politically staged” and said that Serbia must face its past. Prime Minister Plenkovic recalled that a few months ago they met with the accused pilots and told them that they would protect them in this context. “We believe that this entire indictment is a politically staged indictment, and we look at it that way. (…) Serbia needs to face its past, with the effects of the Greater Serbian aggression of the Slobodan Milosevic regime on Croatia,” said Plenkovic.

Croatia was a victim of aggression, the Homeland War had a liberating character and our defenders, our pilots will be under the special care of the Croatian state in this context, and we will find an appropriate way to react to this whole situation, he added.

Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlic Radman also asserted that the indictments from Serbia against Croatian pilots and the announced indictments against two Croatian generals were politicised. “All the indictments from Serbia have been politicized, The Hague has had its say,” he told reporters at the two-day annual conference of Croatian diplomats at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb Thursday 25 August.

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic also publicly addressed the indictments against Croatian pilots on August 24.

“We have another reason for the meeting of the National Security Council. This was done by official Belgrade, not some independent prosecutor’s office…” Milanovic said.

“Prosecutors are otherwise doubtfully independent. In some countries they are, in some countries they are, and they are not. In Belgrade, they are as independent as those ladies who experimented with centrifugal force in Brooklyn and Harlem and the Bronx while twirling a purse around their hand. That’s about the kind of independence we are looking at there. Until the pimp comes. And the pimp is always around. It’s pimping, not an independent prosecution,” Milanovic said.

“Good will is being shown so that the story about the war in which Serbia attacked Croatia finally stabilises, and then poof. Here’s the indictment. The topic is important for the Council to harmonise the position of how we will react. I should now react from the knees, from the hips,” he said and continued:

“Aleksanader Vucic (President of Serbia) and his colleagues have decided that now is the time to indict four wartime commanders. I don’t want to discuss this because Serbia has no jurisdiction. We can indict President Vucic because he ran amok on the territory of Croatia, not on the Petrovac road , as in Branko Copic’s song, on which some children died. I am sorry for that, but the Croatian commanders cannot be responsible for that,” says Milanovic.

Excerpts of the Serbian indictment state, among other things, that the indictees, “by violating rules of international law defined by the Geneva Conventions, ordered – and their orders were carried out – air attacks on civilians not participating in hostilities”, who should be treated humanely in every situation, without any discrimination based on ethnic background, and protected from any form of violence. Ten civilians including four children were killed in the shelling over the column that formed Serb exodus from Croatia between 4 and 7 August 1995.

Croatian renowned historian and author and authority on Homeland War, Dr Ante Nazor, said recently that “first of all, one should express regret for every innocent victim who died, especially when it comes to children, but all the evidence that has been publicly presented so far cannot call into question the key and undoubted fact that military vehicles and weapons of the Serbian Army of Krajina (SVK) were attacked in to the circumstances of combat action during the military operation, which means that for collateral civilian casualties, regardless of whether the column was attacked by a Serbian or Croatian aircraft, those who allowed the military vehicles and equipment of the then self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Krajina army to withdraw together with the civilians are primarily responsible…”

It is mind boggling how the Serbian authorities have the gall to claim that there were civilians under the alleged attacks who did not participate in hostilities. How would they know if military equipment and members of Serbian army were together with those who appeared to be civilians. The truth on the ground, while the aggression lasted, was that most Serbs who fled in August of 1995 who appeared as civilians after the victorious Operation Storm would most likely not fit the definition of a civilian. Most aided and abetted any which way they could the Serb aggression against Croatia, including political agitation that encouraged many to kill and destroy, not to speak of attacks, intimidation, threats, beatings … of Croatians living in the areas they proclaimed Serbian Republic.

The indictment underlines that the then conflict in Croatia’s territory did not have the character of an international conflict because parties to the conflict were the Croatian Army and the Croatian Ministry of the Interior on one side and units of the army of the so-called Republic of Serb Krajina on the other. Serbia obviously does not even care that the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia had in fact declared the conflict an international conflict and, hence, only on that basis did it have jurisdiction to prosecute Croatian Generals who were acquitted of war crimes indicted with in 2013! Serbia omits the fact that Krajina rebel Serbs in Croatia perpetrated horrors over the Croatian population in service of Serbia’s pursuits in creating a Greater Serbia.

Since neither Serbia nor Croatia allows the extradition of their citizens, the indictment proposes that the indictees Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulj, Zeljko Jelenic and Danijel Borovic be tried in their absence.

Serbia’s War Crimes Department further insists that it has jurisdiction over the case as to the substance of the matter, in line with Article 3 of its Act on Organisation and Jurisdiction of Organs of State, which says, among other things, that Serbian state organs defined by that law have jurisdiction over crimes committed in the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator or the victim.

Croatia rejects that, rightfully and correctly so.

The Croatian government and senior state officials have, in the meantime, stressed on several occasions that Croatia does not recognise Serbia’s jurisdiction in the case. Again, one wonders why Croatian government bothers with having Diplomatic relations with Serbia. Serbia will never accept its guilt or Croatia’s victory over Serb aggression. I, for one, will be keeping an eye on this case if the indictments against the pilots go to court in Serbia. Ina Vukic   

Croatia: Patriotic Talk Is Cheap Without Active Decommunisation

In the history of every nation, including the Croatian one, there are events and happenings, be they tragic, be they joyful and victorious, which are deeply and indelibly engraved in the common national memory and which deeply define the sense of belonging and pride and the nation of people and their common purpose, national identity, and self-awareness. One of such events for the Croatian nation took place in August 1995. Operation Storm happened with unity and determination akin to a mighty force of love for freedom, lasted from the 4th to the 7th of August 1995 and was the final military move to free Croatia from the brutal and genocidal Great Serbian aggressors!

Many of the 550,000 Croats forcefully exiled by the aggressors from the 1991 beginning of the Croatian Homeland War, ethnically cleansed from their ancestral homes could finally start returning to their homes, even if these were violently and wantonly destroyed. For the Great Serbian occupiers and aggressors, it is a sad event, from which, it seems, they have unfortunately not learned any lessons. That’s why during Croatia’s celebrations of these victorious events in the defence of Croatia from brutal aggression Croatian Serbs associated with the aggression against Croatia, even those that are regretfully in coalition with the government choose not to attend celebrations but rather continue fabricating victim stories and alleging war crimes against Croats where there were none. The International criminal tribunal in the Hague had ruled that Serbs committed genocide in several parts of Croatia during their aggression against Croatia and nothing of the sort can be said, or claimed, for Croatian national strategy and policy, while Serbian policy and strategy was destruction and murder of Croats, much like what we are seeing these days is happening in Ukraine with the Russian aggressor. Faced with Serb aggression Croats were forced to defend their lives and preserve themselves.

With all this in mind one simply finds it an atrocity committed against Croatian people to have a government that chooses to embrace a coalition with Serb minority parliamentary group of representatives who were and are with those rebel Serbs that committed mass murders, rapes, torture and wanton destruction of Croats and their homes. If one were to be in a governing coalition with any Serbs in Croatia it would be with those Croatian Serbs that fought alongside with Croats to defend Croatia from Serb aggression not with those who deny the aggression and constantly work on equating the victim with the aggressor.

This government coalition with the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) in Croatia, headed by the deplorable Greater Serbia proponent Milorad Pupovac, is a travesty of natural justice and a continuation of torturing the Croatian people who defended Croatia. It certainly provides the Serb aggressor with permission to continue its anti-Croat propaganda and denial of its brutal aggression of 1990’s. It does absolutely nothing for any reconciliation in my opinion, but rather keeps the fire of bitterness and fear flickering along. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised to hear, I believe for the first time in his mandate, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic with determined resolve calling a spade a spade when it comes to Serb aggression in his speech at the official celebrations in Knin on 5th August, of Croatian victory. While previously he largely circumvented articulating in public the pressing issue for the Croatian people this time he clearly and unequivocally called Serbia and Serbs aggressors against Croatia and Croats! Given his persistent coalition with Serbs whose immediate family members were active in the brutal aggression against Croatia in 1990’s though, one must take this speech as an attempt to score political points rather than a genuine siding with the perils and sufferings of Croatian war veterans and other as a result of the Serb aggression.

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in town of Knin 5 August 2022 Photo: Pixsell

“Croats were not in charge of their own destiny for almost 900 years but lived in their territory under various foreign rulers and alien regimes until, at a time of tectonic changes in Europe, owing to the vision of President Tuđman and the courage of Croatian defenders and the unity of the entire Croatian people, we won the right to freedom and the right to our own state,” Plenkovic said in Knin, at the central event marking Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and War Veterans Day and the 27th anniversary of Operation Storm.

Of course, most of Croatians including myself would not use the word “won” as Prime Minster Plenkovic did, we would use the actual word that reflects the truth and that word is “defended” as in “we defended (amidst Serb aggression) our right to freedom and the right to our own state and won the war in which our enemy tried mercilessly to take that right away from us”!

Croatia will not tolerate questioning the character of the Homeland War as a just and legitimate war and it will not allow indictments against its war heroes, he said.

“There have been attempts lately again to malign Croatia with false and futile accusations about the expulsion of Croatian Serbs in 1995 even though it is well known that the leadership of rebel Serbs had forced them, in collaboration with Belgrade, to leave Croatia, as confirmed and proven with documents at the Hague war crimes tribunal by indicted Serb who repented their actions,” Plenkovic said.

He said Serbian indictments against Croatian pilots and Serbia’s expanding its jurisdiction to other countries were unacceptable.

The more so as it comes from a country which launched aggression against Croatia and is still not showing true readiness to acknowledge its responsibility “for the criminal enterprise of the Milosevic regime,” said Plenkovic.

Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic at Victory, Operation Storm, War Veterans, and Homeland Thanksgiving Day Ceremony in Knin, 5th August said that Croatia had a difficult journey and did not get anything for free.

Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic in town of Knin 5 August 2022 Photo: Pixsell

“I have wondered many times why we come here to this same place every year, and every year we always have something same, but also something new to say. What is it that is so powerful and how long will it draw us and guide us – is it a human aspiration and the fear of being forgotten, the dread of vanity that awaits us all when we are forgotten? Is it the messages that need to be sent persistently from this spot, sometimes seemingly in vain? But they are not in vain,” the President of the Republic of Croatia and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanovic said and continued:

“In the multitude of proverbs that people came up with, including those thought up by lawyers, those of the lawyers stick out for their emptiness and lack of content, particularly the following: ‘One who proves too much proves nothing, one who proves nothing keeps silent, one who keeps silent is defending himself with silence, and one who is defending himself with silence ends up getting hurt’,” said the President of the Republic, adding that this does not presume guilt because Croatia has nothing to be ashamed of. “Croatia had a difficult journey and did not get anything for free, but at a high price, with high interest. We were aware that in the end this country was important only to us, that we were the only ones to really care about it and that everyone else was just an observer, which of course does not mean they were enemies”.

Speaking of the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and negotiations that took place in the last 30 years, President Milanovic repeated that it is necessary to constantly reiterate that Croatia is a guarantor and signatory of the Dayton Agreement. “But that is not enough. The people who gave their lives and health for Croatia expected more – they expected our country to also be an instrument to achieve our goals and just aspirations and to use it whenever necessary. Now it is necessary,” President Milanovic underscored.

“The Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not only disenfranchised, they are insulted, and the people who led this country are also insulted, while Croatia is portrayed as the originator of a joint criminal enterprise. This is being done by the same people who received the highest decorations from Croatia for cooperation during the war. That was forgotten. Croatia must oppose that,” he said, adding that Croatia is not a passive observer, but an active member of the international community that did not join the EU and NATO to be a beneficiary of European funds, but “to use the instruments available to us for our own interest, including to defy those who want to devalue us.”

Talk is cheap when appropriate actions do not follow in support of what one says. As to Croatian Prime Minister and President’s cheap talk or lip service regarding Operation Storm and Homeland War Victory in general is concerned, the talk will cease to appear cheap once both the Prime Minister and the President shake off completely from their ingrained identity and mindset their loyalty to communist Yugoslavia ideals, once the government’s institutions fund Croatian truth contents in arts and sciences, movies and documentaries (instead of funding pro-communist era ones), once the laws of the country prohibit communist insignia and symbols, once they define the modern Croatia with the victory in the Homeland War and discard once and for all the ludicrous and false idea that communists gave Croatia liberty and independence in May 1945. Nothing could be further from the truth as the communists forced Croatia to stay in Yugoslavia, not be independent, be undermined and oppressed by its Serb leaders and the same is permitted to this day! Cease the government coalition with Croatian Serbs and other pro-communist Yugoslavia ethnic minorities who entered the parliament on account of a couple of hundred votes from ethnic minority communities. Change the laws so that ethnic minorities in Croatia receive the benefits and rights on an equal footing away from having a seat in parliament for there are Serbs in Croatia who are also considered minority but sided in Homeland War with Croats; same goes for the Roma or Italian minorities in Croatia, etc. Decommunise Croatia and patriotic talk will cease to be cheap. Ina  Vukic       

Happy Birthday Zeljko and Davor Glasnovic

Zeljko Glasnovic (L) Davor Glasnovic (R)

This year, 2022, marks yet another jubilee to celebrate in the realisation of freedom for Croatia – the May 1992 front door entry as member state of the United Nations. Between 1990 and 1995 thousands of Croatian freedom fighters descended upon the battlefields of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from all over the world, sacrificing their lives and millions of them struggled to drive away the utterly cruel Serb and communist Yugoslavia aggression. The victory against the cruel and genocidal aggressor was glorious for Croatians and it was to usher in democracy centred around all people in Croatia and beyond. How the Croatian nation has fared, without shedding communism and its mindset from all of its public administration, social and political milieus, as promised it would the very day of announcing secession from communist Yugoslavia in 1991, over the last 30 years is something we sadly and bitterly resent, knowing we cannot change that past, but the future is in our hands. Communist mindset, corrupt behaviour in public institutions and government still hold the reins that keep Croatia back from becoming a full democracy.

It is a nation’s duty to remember not only the heroism but also the suffering that fight for independence that were and are etched in the history of its existence and its hopes. And such memory is stronger when heroism and suffering are personified in people we live with, people we know and people we trust. And so, today, 24 February happens to be the birthday of twin brothers Zeljko Glasnovic and Davor Glasnovic, who had at time of raging war of aggression in Croatia come from Canada to lend a crucially helping hand in the creation of the independent state of Croatia on the battlefields and to take a heavy load of suffering through wounds and in Davor’s case – unspeakable torture as prisoner of Serb concentration camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today still, they serve as example of steadfast hope and determination that Croatia will one day be strong enough to decommunise; to rid itself of the insufferable canker that communism is.

I wish Zeljko and Davor Glasnovic a very happy birthday and know that many join me in these wishes.

Zeljko Glasnovic is a general of the Croatian Army (HV) and the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) and a politician.

Zeljko Glasnovic spent five years in the Canadian army, and a year and a half in the French Foreign Legion. In August 1991, he came to Croatia and joined the National Guard Corps. During the war he fought in Lika and on the Southern battlefield, and after the fall of Vukovar he moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Tomislavgrad where he had to train new units.

In April 1992, he took part in the fighting in Kupres, where he was seriously wounded. He received a bullet near his heart, and it was said that he told his comrades-in-arms to leave him with a bomb he could use on himself should Serb enemy approach and start drawing. However, his comrades did not listen to him, so they dragged him across the snow-covered mountains to the Franciscan monastery on Šćit in Rama, from where he was transferred to Split Hospital. He spent two months in a hospital in Split, after which, still not recovered, he escaped and returned to the Kupres battlefield. In October 1992, he took over the King Tomislav Brigade. At that time, his twin brother Davor was captured in Kupres and tortured in Serbian camps.

He was first politically engaged in the November 2015 parliamentary elections. He is known for his firmly right-wing political views, especially in the area of the need to decommunise Croatia, and until July 2021 he was a member of the Croatian Parliament for the Croatian Diaspora.

Zeljko’s twin bother Davor Glasnovic also returned to Croatia from Canada to contribute to the defence of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the war of Serbian aggression. He was a member of the Special Unit of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia / SP GSHV Battalion Frankopan. On July 31, 1993, he was released after 13 months of torture in that Serb concentration camp, without one ear, in plaster, with a traumatised body that included having his knees drilled with electric drill, skin on his back torn away and an unbroken spirit for the freedom of Croatia.

Here is what Zeljko Glasnovic wrote about his brother Davor on July 31, 2021:

“On this day in 1993, after months of torture and Golgotha in a Serbian camp, my brother was released. The DORH (Public Attorney) never did anything against his torturers, nor were Croatian institutions interested in talking to him. They were not interested in where he was but instead, he was on the Serbian list of war crimes suspects in an area where he had never been during the period he was in their captivity.

While our defenders with fabricated indictments are sent to The Hague, executed, called war criminals, their dignity mocked, their victimhood belittled and forced to pay compensation to the families of killed aggressors who attacked our country, amnestied Chetniks and their families have special privileges, pensions, statuses, honour, reputation and even power. They are victims! This is a paradox that will last until lustration is implemented and final liberation of the Croatian home, which is still in the jaws of Yugozomboids, in which all defenders will be restored to their dignity and in which all victims will be able to tell their stories out loud, their abusers will be punished, and justice will at least partially be satisfied. For there will never be true justice for the fate of all victims, at least not in this world.”

God bless and Happy Birthday!
Ina Vukic

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