Croatian Serb Leaders: Serb War Crimes Suspects Should Be Handled Delicately!

Croatian Police arrest 12 Serbs suspected of war crimes in Trpinja - Photo: Davor Jovanovic/Pixsell

Croatian Police arrest 12 Serbs suspected of war crimes
in Trpinja – Photo: Davor Jovanovic/Pixsell

Croatian Vecernji list reports that compelling and credible evidence – witness statements etc – points to mass murders committed by (from September to the end of November 1991)members of rebel Serb led “territorial defence” for the self-proclaimed Serbian autonomous region Krajina (SAO Krajina) within the sovereign borders of Croatia, in Trpinja near Vukovar. It is alleged a number of Serb rebels had illegally arrested, mentally and sexually abused and killed some 14 Croatian civilians and 60 members of Croatia’s defence forces, at the time.

On Thursday 11 July a joint operation by the Osijek and Vukovar police had seen swift arrests of 12, out of 15, Croatian Serbs suspected of having participated in committing the above war crimes. Trpinja was a village of intense Serb aggression against Croatia in the early 1990’s. Court in Osijek had Saturday 13 July ruled a one month investigative remand for those arrested, thus enabling further investigations and preventing witness tampering.

All this is good! Right?

War crimes suspects must be arrested any which way! Right?

Not when it comes to Serbs – it seems. Such firm handling and justice doesn’t seem to figure in their reaction to the above arrests.

Belgrade, Serbia, based Novosti news portal wasted no time in securing and publishing statement by a joint council of ethnic Serb refugees which suggests that Croatia is, via these arrests, intimidating Serbs, driving fear into them and that the suspects should have been sent a letter of invitation for questioning in regards to these alleged war crimes!

Yeah right!

Novosti reports that “the police arrested people in their homes, even on their farm fields, where they were working, at their places of employment and that the Trpinja residents (Serbs) were upset by the police ‘Phantom – like’ uniforms and weapons in their hands”.

It’s a matter of intimidating the Serbs. This spectacular action by Croatian police brought fear into the village near Vukovar where Serbs live,” Novosti was told at the SDSS (Independent Democratic Serb Party) office in Vukovar, Croatia.  The SDSS is led by Vojislav Stanimirovic, who was very active in the Yugoslav People’s Army during it’s brutal aggression against Vukovar in 1991).

Chairman of the Serb National Council in Croatia, Milorad Pupovac, also voiced concern last Thursday over the manner in which the arrest of the Serbs from the village of Trpinja near Vukovar was carried out, emphasising that there were elements of force and intimidation.

It certainly cannot be that both Stanimirovic and Pupovac are not aware as to how arrests by police occur in the democratic world. Raids, surprise elements, physical force are often crucial to securing arrests of suspected criminals.

And, as far as these latest arrests in Croatia of suspected war criminals are concerned it seems the Croatian police authorities might have learned a lesson from the recent past when even convicted ethnic Serb war criminals (rapists) fled Croatia (Vukovar) into Serbia, thus avoiding prison and punishment for their crimes.

As for Croatian Serb leaders Stanimirovic and Pupovac, if any one of them actually lodges a complaint about the manner of the above arrests with Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic, then the best reply to this complaint would be to send these two appalling politicians on a seminar or short workshop of demonstrations of police arrest techniques in some “Western” democratic country. No mercy there! And rightly so!

The victims of the above war crimes certainly did not get any mercy when they were arrested (without even being suspected of any crimes, but because they were Croats), raped, and murdered. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia, give heed: the vicious claws of Greater Serbia grow bolder

This year’s official state celebration in Knin, August 5, of the 17th anniversary of Operation Storm which liberated the last of Croatian territory from Serb occupation, mass murder and ethnic cleansing clearly shows a renewed aggressive trend within the loud echelons of the Serbian ethnic minority in Croatia espousing Belgrade based Greater Serbia politics.

While not all Croatian Serbs are part of this alarming trend, it’s a trend that’s poses, yet again, serious threats to Croatian people and their rightful land and national interests. It’s also a trend that places obstacles in Croatia’s democratic processes that include full integration of all ethnic minorities into a peaceful existence. Certainly, leaders of Serbian organisations in Croatia have done absolutely nothing in assisting their members to adjust their mindset and emotions as Croatian citizens. That is, to feel as Croatian citizens regardless of remaining as members of Serbian ethnic minority. Even the members of Croatian parliament such as Milorad Pupovac and Vojislav Stanimirovic do not present themselves as representing a body of citizens who are Croatian citizens but rather as Serbs, as a separate body of people leaning towards Belgrade rather than Zagreb.

While the world refers to the current Croatian government and Croatian president as representatives of the will of all Croatian people, locally, this could not be further from the truth. Countless cries of despair and embitterment have recently poured from Croatian media, various organisations and multitudes of individual citizens regarding the increasingly visible battleaxes Croatian Serb leaders and leaders from Belgrade, Serbia, wield in their efforts to justify or deny the Serb aggression against Croatia during early 1990’s. But these cries fall on deaf ears of the current Croatian government and president. The latter act no different to what political leaders acted in former communist Yugoslavia.

The noise loudly reminiscent of the Greater Serbia onslaught of early 1990’s has become alarmingly louder since Tomislav Nikolic was elected president of Serbia in May 2012. Nikolic represents the sickest forms of Serbian nationalism, whose roots go back to the Chetniks (Serbian royalists of WWII). Led by Draza Mihailovic, Chetniks formed a racist far-right-wing movement that sought to create an ethnically pure Great Serb empire incorporating Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, a great deal of Bosnia and Croatia. Allied to Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italy, the Chetniks engaged in murderous ethnic cleansing, slaughtering tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims, Croatians and Kosovar Albanians.

As the people of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Macedonia (republics of former Yugoslavia) and formerly autonomous region Kosovo within Serbia’s borders expressed their free will to secede from Yugoslavia (early 1990’s) and embark on the path to democracy, independence and self-determination Serbia, in concert with most Serbs living in those former states of Yugoslavia, launched brutal wars of aggression against Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

In this brutal onslaught for Greater Serbia more than 250,000 were killed and nearly 2 million ethnically cleansed. Nikolic was Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic’s chum and stood loudly behind this entire Serb power grab and territorial annexations that would, in the event of their success, result in a Great Serbian empire.

As far as Croatia is concerned they did not succeed; Operation Storm saw to that. As far as Bosnia and Herzegovina is concerned they succeeded, somewhat, by ending up with the political entity of Serbian Republic within B & H borders.

Nikolic is not some unyielding Serbian patriot but a radical nationalist who has not abandoned the dream of Greater Serbia and who seeks close ties with Russia, wants to emulate Kremlin’s rule and once suggested that Serbia should become a province of Russia.

Indeed, no matter how hard Nikolic tries to appear pro-European Union and promulgate self-determination rights of constituent states of former Yugoslavia, he is not giving up the idea of Serbian supremacy in the region. Croatia’s Serb leader Milorad Pupovac propagates Nikolic’s rotten veil of Serbian righteousness, adamant not to admit guilt for Serb brutality and aggression in the former Yugoslavia during 1990’.

It is a sad day when I realize that the current Croatian government and its president do not seem to acknowledge this twisted and predatory way of Greater Serbia psyche. They simply allow it to go on and fail to fully and openly defend the truth about the Serb aggression, murder and ethnic cleansing during 1990’s. But then again, they are former communists by membership and seem not to have severed their umbilical cords from those oppressive roots their own people plucked out by voting for independence in 1990.

What Serbia and some Croatian Serb leaders are attempting to do, with increased vigour since Nikolic came to power in Serbia, is to nail a glossy, clean surface to the coffin of their horrendous crimes. Serbia’s leaders (aided by the communists, both Yugoslav and Russian) have done this before – after WWII.

That is, Serbia, just like WWII Independent Croatia, Romania, Italy, Spain, Vichy France, Norway, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia … had fascist regimes, collaborationist with Nazi Germany.

But, contrary to myth, Serbia also had a Nazi collaborationist followers, just as ruthless as in some of the above countries (including Croatia). Led by Milan Nedic and his government, Serbia’s fascists engaged in the comprehensive extermination of the country’s Jewish population. By the summer of 1942, Serbia had become completely “Judenfrei.”

Serbia, with the help of Belgrade based Yugoslav communist party within Yugoslavia, with the help of Russian communist party, managed to sling all the horror of the Holocaust on the territory of former Yugoslavia against Croatia; coming out of their WWII genocidal enterprises seemingly squeaky clean – as victims (due to those killed in WWII Croatia) and –  forever blaming German occupying forces for the extermination of Serbian Jews, with political cunning burying the truth that it was Serbia’s nationals who actually (gladly) delivered the Jews to slaughter.

The putrid ways of Greater Serbia dream preservation are afoot again, in Croatia. Serb lobby wants to accelerate the equalization of aggressor with the victim. Serb lobby wants the Croatian victims to forget why they became victims in the first place. Serb lobby wants to bury the truth of Serb aggression in the 1990’s. Serb lobby does not want reconciliation in the region between different ethnic groups because reconciliation requires admission of guilt and Serb leaders do not want to and will not go there.

That is the simple truth. With such truth one frets another war brewing, or major unrest in the least. Unless the Croatian government and the opposition wake up to the need to protect hard earned independence of Croatia and raise their voices in truth, publicly remind the Serbs over and over again of the crimes they committed in Croatia during 1990’s instead of being coy about them in some attempts to appease political pressure from the misguided and biased international community, I’m afraid Croatia will face a yet another dark and bloody time defending its territory and hard-earned independence. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.,Ps. (Syd)

Serbian ousted Monarchy on the rise: Will Serbia rehabilitate WWII war criminal Draza Mihailovic and author of Chetnik movement program to create ethnically clean Serbian state?

Lewiston Evening Journal 5 February 1946

Daytona Beach Morning Journal 12 June 1946

According to media reports The Supreme court of Serbia will, tomorrow Friday 23 March, rehabilitate Serbian war criminal Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic, leader of Serbian Chetnik forces in World War II. This move will cancel the 1946 conviction and consequent death sentence after which he was executed by the Yugoslav Communist authorities. The application for rehabilitation was lodged by the war criminal’s grandson Vojislav Mihailovic, Serbian Liberal Party and some organisations and individuals. Their arguments rest on their theories that the court was biased, that Mihailovic was not given the right to defend himself and that he was served with criminal charges only a week before the start of his trial.

Croatia’s government has not reacted to this apparently imminent rehabilitation – odd, bizarre, shameful, unacceptable, disappointing!

However, upon being questioned about it on Croatian radio last Monday president Ivo Josipovic said:

Draza Mihailovic is a war criminal from WWII. We know what evils Chetniks perpetrated. I cannot remember any battle in which they seriously fought against occupation forces (Nazi Germany), but I can remember the battles in which they fought together with the Ustashi against the Partisans. I can also remember that they retreated with other defeated forces towards Austria.”

Again, the Croatian government and the president are walking on eggshells when it comes to commenting on events in Serbia. One would have expected a great deal more in the line of condemnation and protest from them against the attempts to rehabilitate the Chetnik leader – Chetnik murderous movement that had set in its goal an ethnically clean Greater Serbia for King and Country!

Croatian government and president, former Communists, have always been only too ready and too loud in protecting, often unreasonably, the image of their Yugoslav Communists when it comes to, for instance, pursuits against WWII Communist crimes. God forbid if anyone in Croatia even thought of rehabilitating a former Ustashi!

Croatian Podravka organization for Homeland War Veterans, Invalids and Widows have expressed bitterness and are stupefied by the fact that war criminal, general Draza Mihailovic is to be rehabilitated.

If that happens this will be nothing else but the return of Serbia into the early 1990’s days which brought the aggression against Croatia. Serbs are constantly complaining and protest only when at some concert a youth wearing a T-shirt with letter ‘U’ printed on it, criticize the Croatian government and others for not resisting harder ‘ustashi’ marks, although there is no Ustashi movement in Croatia. Among everything else the most concerning is the fact that Belgrade newspapers feature some known Serbian historians who stress out that Mihailovic’s rehabilitation has an enormous meaning for Serbian people and that it shows that Serbia has chosen the right path”, said Mladen Pavkovic, the president of the organization.

We seek from the Croatian government, especially from the Ministry of War Veterans, to firmly and with all democratic means resist this mad deed, and we hope that the leaders of the Serbian Democratic Party (in Croatia), Milorad Pupovac and Vojislav Stanimirovic, and they should have been the first, will raise their voice against the return of Chetnik movement in Serbia. Pupovac is the one who first raises his voice if anyone paints graffiti on a Serb monument in Croatia, and he and his followers are keeping quiet as if this has nothing to do with them. In this way they silently support the rehabilitation of the war criminal Mihailovic and are causing enormous damage not only to Croatians but also to the Serbians who have accepted Croatia as their own country,” Pavkovic continued.

According to demographic estimates made by Vladimir Zerjavic, economist and United Nations expert, the Chetniks had murdered about 20,000 Croatians in former Yugoslavia. Most of these murders occurred in areas occupied by Italian Fascists. Italian Fascists were the best allies to Serbian Chetniks and indeed, the history records that Chetniks fled from Yugoslavia after WWII in masses, fearing revenge killings from victorious Communists.

Very briefly down memory lane:

The Windsor Daily Star, 6 April 1946, p.5: Speaking in the British Parliament on February 22, 1944, the then Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, said: “General Mihailovic, I much regret to say, drifted gradually into position where his commanders made accommodations with Italian and German troops…”

In September 1941 Mihailovic sent his Program of the Chetnik Movement to London, to the exiled government of Kingodm of Yugoslavia. The goal was to create an ethnically clean Serbian state. Of course, Draza Mihailovic and Chetniks in Serbia were Royalist forces, Mihailovic was the Army Minister of King Peter Karadjodjevic’s government in exile.

I cannot shake off the firm belief that it’s no accident but a political treachery that this rehabilitation of Chetnik war crimes comes at the time when Serbian Prince Karadjordjevic has well settled back in Serbia, having returned from decades in exile. Indeed, it’s blatantly clear that the WWII Chetnik movement program, accepted by the Serbian royal government in exile, in London, in 1941, that had set itself the ideal of  creating an ethnically clean Serbia (just like the Nazis did for Germany) is not dead and buried but very much alive and kicking on “all fours”, claiming a theory as fact that the history was unfair – i.e. that 1946 court in Belgrade did not give the war criminal enough time to prepare his defence.

So, if this trick works for the Serbs then the flood gates to revisit judicial history must be opened for everyone in the world. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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