Death Prevents Justice Once Again For Croat Victims Of Serb War Crimes

Serb war criminal Goran Hadzic 2015/2016

Serb war criminal Goran Hadzic


Croatian Serb rebel leader Goran Hadzic, 58, former leader of the 1990’s self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Krajina (part of Croatian territory occupied, ethnically cleansed of Croats and other non-Serbs, terrorised and devastated) who was tried by the UN war crimes court ICTY – International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) over his role in war crimes committed by Serb aggressor in the 1991-1995 war in Croatia, has died on Tuesday 12 July 2016 in a clinical centre in Vojvodina part of Serbia.


Hadzic wanted to create a Serb-dominated state after the splintering of the former Yugoslavia in 1991 following the collapse of communism; after Croatia announced and proceeded with the majority (94%) of its people’s wish to create an independent state, secede from communism and develop a democracy.


Hadzic was charged by ICTY prosecutor with 14 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The accusations include the murder/massacres of civilians who were taken from Vukovar hospital in 1991 in one of the conflict’s darkest episodes, forced deportation (ethnic cleansing by way of murder, unlawful jailing, beatings, deportations and forcible transfers) of at least 20,000 Croats and other non-Serbs from that area. He was also charged with responsibility for the massacre of Croat civilians who were forced to walk into a minefield in the Croatian town of Lovas in October 1991, one of the first crimes of the long, bloody conflict. He spent seven years on the run in Serbia from UN prosecutors after being tipped off about arrest.

Goran Hadzic 1991 Serb rebel and war criminal

Goran Hadzic 1991
Serb rebel and war criminal

Prosecutors finished presenting their case against Hadzic in November 2013 and Hadzic had just started his defense when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. In April 2015 ICTY ordered an indefinite halt to the trial as he battled the advanced stages of terminal brain cancer.

Goran Hadzic was born on 7 September in Vinkovci area, Croatia. Before the 1990’s war he worked as a store man while his political involvement began in the nineties with the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), where he was president of its Municipal branch of Vukovar, a member of the Central Committee in Knin and president of the Regional Board for Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia. In January 1991 Hadzic was elected president of the Serbian National Council in Croatia, in August of the same year he was elected Prime Minister of the Serb rebel self-proclaimed Serbian District of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia while his political engagement that had its sight on carving Croatian territory for Serbs rose to  President of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in February 1992 after the convicted war criminal Milan Babic lost the position. Losing at December 1993 elections Hadzic went out of politics for a while.


Vukovar, Croatia 1991 - brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Vukovar, Croatia 1991 – brutally devastated from Serb aggression

Hadzic was the first on the list of about 150 war crimes Serb suspects to be excluded from the 1997 Croatian law which provided for amnesty against criminal charges for quite a number of Serb nationals suspected of committing crimes in Croatia during the war. Croatian authorities were adamant Hadzic was to face trial for war crimes; sadly the said amnesty provided many Serb war criminals (murderers, rapists, concentration camp torturers…) with freedom and no requirement to carry any responsibility for their crimes. Having fled to Serbia Hadzic was nevertheless indicted on war crimes in Croatia. In fact Croatia excluded from a war crimes amnesty for Serbs in the rebel enclave of Eastern Slavonia more than 800 people, including eminent retired and current Yugoslav army officers.  At Western insistence, the Croatian parliament had pardoned Serbs who were in the eastern region during or after a 1991 revolt against Croatia’s move to independence from the Serbian-dominated federal Yugoslavia. The amnesty, intended to reassure local Serbs in advance of Eastern Slavonia’s U.N.-supervised transfer back to Croatian authority by 1997, does not cover Serbs suspected of war crimes as defined by international law.


Although he fled to Serbia to evade justice, the Osijek County Court in 1999 sentenced Hadzic to eight years in prison, among other things, for incitement to crime, murder, destruction of the Catholic Church and the mining of non-Serb houses in Tenja, near Osijek. The Sibenik County Court had also sentenced him in 1995 to 20 years imprisonment for excessive shelling of town of Sibenik area. Enjoying the safety of Serbia, Hadzic, of course, served no time in Croatian prisons

ICTY in The Hague published its indictment against Hadzic in July 2004 on charges referred to above. Soon after hearing of the indictment he abandoned his house in Novi Sad, Vojvodina Serbia and hid as fugitive in Serbia for seven years. In October 2007 Serbia publicised a reward for information leading to the capturing of war criminal fugitives including Hadzic and he was finally arrested in Serbia July 2011 and transported to the Hague.

Ethnic cleansing of Croatians of Vukovar 1991 Photo:

Ethnic cleansing of Croatians of Vukovar 1991 Photo:


Some people out there might say that although Hadzic’s death has prevented justice from being done in his case, the crimes he was accused of do not and will not remain unpunished, because there are other Serb leaders and war criminals charged with and convicted of them. That is absolutely no consolation for victims of his crimes. However, the fact that  he was convicted by Croatian courts in absentia brings at least small consolations, and so his repugnant plea of innocence at the Hague and unfinished defence due to his death cannot bear the same weight as dying before criminal trial completion without any convictions from anywhere. Hadzic was guilty of war crimes, was found to be guilty and died as a major war criminal.

It is a terrible thing that hundreds of Croats who were targets of Hadzic’s and his associates’ war crimes are still to this day on the Missing Persons list – neither Serbia nor its war criminals have felt the decency to reveal the resting place of their remains.  It is a terrible thing to watch Serbia make progress with EU membership negotiations without being required to reveal facts and details of the fates of the missing persons from its 1990’s war of aggression against Croatia. It is a terrible thing watching Croatia’s authorities weaken their stand on this requirement from Serbia and so contribute to the painful possibility of the Croatian missing persons’ fate remaining a secret of Serbia. This smells of the late-1990’s deal of amnesty to Serb criminals and it the smell is distressing. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Foreign Minister Pusic – The Vandal Of Truth!

Vesna Pusic

Statements and actions served upon justice and truth (let alone upon Croatian people/not those who pretend to be Croatian at heart as well as origin) by the Croatian foreign affairs minister and first deputy prime minister Vesna Pusic on her recent visit to Serbia are the stuff SICK and TREASONOUS are made of, in my book and in the book of many!

What is she still doing in that important public position!?

Why has she not been made to stand down and move away from any parliamentary or government position (where she is on account of being elected by the people)?

Why has she not been sacked yet?

Why has lustration not started with her – yesterday! She comes from highly positioned communists of former Yugoslavia. She comes to her public positions filled with poison against Croatian truth and truth in general, really! She comes from the position where in late 1990’s she was close to former president Stjepan Mesic in his vicious political attacks, saturated with lies, against the first president Franjo Tudjman …

Vesna Pusic went to Serbia Monday 24 February and said on Serbia’s TV that today’s government in Serbia “is not responsible for war crimes”, but that other people are who led them (Croats and Serbs) at the time are to blame.
“We had directed blame to Slobodan Milosevic and Vojislav Seselj, “Pusic said to TV B92, and added that the current president of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, was not in any position and that today’s people in Serbia’s government would surely not support that which these two had done during the war”.
What chance have decency and justice got when such highly positioned officers such as Pusic have the gall to equate victims with aggressors!? Well there is one chance: sack Pusic from her position of power!

It is known that she comes from the communist stock of former Yugoslavia who did not want an independent and democratic Croatia in the first place (in 1990 onwards), so such obscene comments don’t surprise! But what does surprise is that she is still in her position of power even though she purposefully omitted to say in Serbia:

Croat leaders in early 1990’s did not start the war, they were merely facilitators of people’s will and vote to secede from Yugoslavia and create an independent Croatia and your people (Serbs, led by Milosevic) unleashed terror, murder and destruction against Croats then.

Serbia’s leaders of today including Tomislav Nikolic and Aleksandar Vucic were and are extreme Serb nationalists, very loud in saying that parts of Croatia’s territory such as Vukovar, Karlobag… are Serbian territory thus inciting unrest and intolerance. Beside’s it has been said that Nikolic is implicated in one way or another the  mass killing of  Croatian civilians in the village of Antin, near Vukovar in 1991

Why Pusic found it necessary to visit Serbia at this time it’s unclear. It is assumed by some that it might have been associated with the fact that Croatia’s lawsuit against Serbia for genocide at the International Court of Justice has not been withdrawn and hearings are to commence in a couple of days, Monday 3rd March. However, she has stated after returning from Serbia, where sentiments of anger and betrayal stared at her at home (political parties in opposition and media criticising her statements for Serbia’s TV) that she went there to pick up the aerial shots taken of Croatian territory by Yugoslav authorities in the 1960’s so that these shots will assist in ascertaining who has built what house or building illegally since then!

Betrayal, treason, lies and twisting of the truth against Croatia is what her statements to Serbia’s TV represent.

What she should have said is well expressed in email broadcasts by Tomislav Kuzmanovic, a respected lawyer living and working in the USA (original text translated into English):
Unfortunately, war crimes are often a tragic consequence of war conflicts. Croatia has suffered disproportionally to a large extent in this during 1990’s. All that is needed is to compare Vukovar of 1991 with Knin of 1995 and the difference will be clearly seen between those who were destroying everything in their path and those who were liberating their own, making sure that the damage was as minimal as possible and carrying out a professional military action. As any country where the law rules and not the people, the legal processes take time, they’re not perfect, and sometimes they bring solutions that are not satisfactory to either the prosecutor or to those against whom the crime had been committed. The politics of our country did not incite to crimes, on the contrary it forbade them. If we look into the criminal court, ICTY, even the Trial process in the case of our Generals confirmed that the politics of our country did not incite to crimes. I would say to my colleagues in Belgrade that we should, of course, move towards the future but, nevertheless, my colleagues in Belgrade still need to know and understand that we will never accept the equating of responsibility for war crimes nor will we ascribe the responsibility for those to the previous government of Croatia because they, and I emphasise, are the responsibility of the individuals who committed them.  Irrefutable facts show that Croatia suffered enormous material damage and what’s most sad there are the losses of civil and military lives. Comparing the number of those accused and those so far convicted from all nationalities at the international court, ICTY, show and bear evidence that there is no legal or moral basis to the equating of responsibility”.
Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Finally But Poor Justice For Croatian Civilians Horrendously Tortured By Yugoslav Army In Morinj, Montenegro, 1991-1992

Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992  Photo:

Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992 Photo:

For the people of Dubrovnik (Croatia), Morinj is a symbol of horrendous sufferings endured by the Dubrovnik’s residents who ended up in Morinj (near Kotor, Montenegro) concentration camp. From the total of 440 Croats from Dubrovnik who suffered torture at the hands of Serb and Montenegrin camps 300 of them endured the horrors of Morinj camp; some 200 of these suffered abuse of unimaginably cruel proportions.  In Morinj camp most were tortured in the most horrible and insufferable ways, many are to this day suffering chronic Post Traumatic Disorder as one of the nightmarish consequences of utterly horrific tortures and trauma.
Pobjeda news portal (Montenegro) reports that four out of six men originally indicted and now retried on charges of war crimes (against Croatian civilian population between October 1991 and August 1992) and relating to concentration camp Morinj have been convicted Wednesday 31 July to a total of 12 years imprisonment. They are Ivo Menzalin (4 years), Boro Gligic and Spiro Lucic (3 years) and Ivo Gojnic (2 years).  While the defence for these four men has announced that it will appeal the judgment, the special prosecutor Lidija Vukcevic said in the Podgorica supreme court that their guilt for the war crimes had been proven beyond any doubt.

The summary of the horror story behind these horrible crimes perpetrated in Morinj concentration camp against Croats from Dubrovnik goes like this:

In 1991, as part of Serbia’s war against Croatia, Yugoslav Army units led by Montenegrin officers and full of Montenegrin reservists ravaged many of the villages in the southernmost tip of Croatian Dalmatia and shelled the historic port and World Heritage city of Dubrovnik, causing millions of euros in damage and hundreds of civilian deaths. Throughout the duration of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro remained in a federal state with Serbia until 2003.

In 1997, Montenegro expressed regret for its part in the wars and the consequent atrocities. However, the process of coming to terms with the past has been selective and superficial.

“Rat za mir” (“war for peace”), was the cynical slogan under which Montenegrin politicians backed the Yugoslav Army’s campaign in southern Croatia.

Croat prisoners in Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992 Photo:

Croat prisoners in Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992

In 2004-05, the ICTY in The Hague found former Montenegrin admiral Miodrag Jokic and General Pavle Strugar guilty of war crimes and sentenced each of them to eight years’ imprisonment. Attacks on Dubrovnik’s civilians bore a special place in the verdicts.

The Morinj camp war crimes prosecution began in 1998 in Montenegro’s Podgorica city, adjourned several times and retried (with same verdicts both times) … a profile of criminal justice process akin to circumstances where denial of crimes and profound lack of will by Montenegrin authorities and politicians to get stuck into the business of delivering justice where justice must be done had littered and undermined any path for reconciliation. Whether this latest verdict will in fact contribute to some semblance of healing for the victims remains to be seen. The chances for that, though, seem very slim as a significant number of Montenegrin politicians look the other way, barely acknowledging that horrible crimes were perpetrated even though an “apology” for the same war crimes had trickled through albeit with muffled resolve some years ago. Perhaps it is due to this pathetic attitude towards crimes that the sentences received by the four men for Morinj concentration camp are so obscenely inadequate. I pray for the health of those victims whose horrific times spent in Morinj must be revisiting them right now as intensified nightmares and horrendous flashbacks – all because justice has betrayed them. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


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