Crimea Platform Summit Sticks A Flimsy Band-Aid On Croatian Government Corruption Woes

Often like two ships passing in the night! Front: Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic, Back: Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. Photo: HINA

That Croatia appears to have irretrievably lost its plot as a whole country standing united without a major shift in governing political parties has shockingly been proven last week, yet again. This is not the Croatia thousands lost their lives for in the 1990’s Homeland War, fighting off the Serb aggression despite UN arms embargo being imposed against it. Croatia was so very fortunate to have had its strong diaspora standing by and participating significantly in the efforts to secede from communist Yugoslavia and develop a true, fully functional democracy. Overwhelming corruption inherited from that communist totalitarian regime still plunders and fleeces national wealth and standard of living for the people.

Four former and recent government ministers have been arrested for fraud and corruption and yet Andrej Plenkovic’s Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) government in coalition with the Serbian ethnic minority SDSS (Independent Democratic Serbian Party) still stands! The opposition insists the government should be ousted, snap elections held, and the government representatives keep on ignoring such civilised and democratic rules of engagement in leading a nation – and so does the EU authority, creating thus huge mistrust in the Union among the populous.

The four former government ministers indicted last week are: Darko Horvat, Josip Aladrovic and Tomislav Tolusic from the Croatian Democrtatic Union Party and Boris Milosevic, former deputy Prime Minister to Plenkovic from the Independent Democratic Serb Party.

Indicted Recent Croatian Government Ministers from Left: Darko Horvat, Boris Milosevic, Tomislav Tolusic and Josip Aladrovic. Photo: Cropix

Darko Horvat, as the first indicted, is accused of having, when he was Minister of Economy, allocated grants to entrepreneurs and companies out of personal interest and at the instigation of the co-suspects Boris Milosevc and Tomislav Tolusic, and that he thus illegally allocated 2 million and 600 thousand kunas state budget funds. Josip Aladrovic, on the other hand, is accused of favouring the employment of two people while he was at the head of the pension insurance institute. In addition to the former ministers, the indictment includes four other suspects.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption and nepotism that goes on in Croatia. It all begs the question: who is in whose pocket to permit such horrible governance and governing of the country with no end of this nightmare in sight.

“The indictments (against four of his recent government ministers and a deputy Prime Minister) are not a burden for the Government,” said haughtily Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. The self-importance this man appears to nurture is staggering and repulsive.

The president of the HDZ Members of Parliament Club, Branko Bacic, said last Wednesday, after the announcement that four former members of Plenkovic’s Government were indicted, that his party does not accept the thesis of HDZ’s collective responsibility for the eventual criminal responsibility of an individual.

What a dangerous politician, what a dangerous government. The Party is not the issue here, but the government and governance are. HDZ had several mandates in government during the past three decades and just like the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governments has done nothing to root out corruption, or most of it anyway, starting with the grassroots of government, the local government all the way up to the state level. In any decent democracy the government would fall overnight.  

When talking of the opposition I venture to say that all left-leaning political parties in parliament, and there are a few, are splinters off the former communist regime and all appear to have members at the help who were in Social Democratic Party government. Hence, no qualification to lead Croatia were new general elections to come before mid-2024. There are a few solid opposition parties and individuals who lean towards the centre-right that could emerge, finally, as winners and the coming twenty or so months may well weed out the hopeless ones from the promising ones. What Croatia needs most is a political party at the helm that will weed out corruption and nepotism via installing mechanisms of control and audits at all levels. That can only be done, in my view, by those who are squeaky clean of corruption and nepotism, otherwise the gut-wrenching circus will continue until more and more young people abandon Croatia.  

And then, as if this was not enough to demonstrate the political disarray and governance shambles Croatia is portraying, the First International Parliamentary Platform on Crimea Summit was held during the week in Zagreb and Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic snubbed it, avoided it like the plague so to speak – while Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic played the host to it. The Summit provided a perfect mask and coverup for the deplorable latest cases of corruption Plenkovic’s government should be held accountable for.

First International Parliamentary Summit on the Crimea Platform held in Zagreb, Croatia, October 25, 2022 Photo: HINA

While the purpose of the Ukraine-initiated consultation and coordination Summit has its eye on taking Crimea from Russia and return it to the Ukrainian fold Croatian President Milanovic commented: “I see a lot of cynicism and dishonesty toward the Ukrainian people and the war, and I do not want to contribute to that. In the end, Americans and Russians will have to sit at the table because they are waging a proxy war over Ukraine and the Ukrainian people are paying a terrible price for it. I don’t know why no one dares to say this openly, but that’s the truth.”

Speakers and members of parliament from around 40 countries gathered in Croatia’s capital Zagreb on Tuesday 25 October to condemn Russia’s war in Ukraine. Serbia failed to respond to the invitation to the Summit and some media ascribe this to instructions received from Russia for Serbia to avoid the Summit. The speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, attended the Summit.

Co-hosted by speakers of the Ukrainian and Croatian Parliaments, the summit was addressed via video link by Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

Russia has continued to refrain from any dialogue on the subject ever since its conception in August/September 2021 in Kiev, while elsewhere firmly stating that Russia’s “sovereignty” over Crimea is undeniable, and now also over the territories of Eastern Ukraine it occupied via brutal aggression and organised sham referendums recently on seceding from Ukraine in favour of Russia. Vladimir Putin constant firm stand is that Crimea will not be a matter of discussion and that the occupied parts of Eastern Ukraine are now Russian territory. There is a very little doubt that Ukraine`s president seriously counted on a different response from Moscow, but nevertheless, Zelenskyy was not put off by this lack of success and pursues the issues, hence having ended up with a Summit attended by an impressive number of nations, mainly NATO members.

While it seems very dubious that Crimea is to return to Ukraine any time soon (or ever) given Russia`s military onslaught in Ukraine and determination to strengthen its sway over Crimea and Ukrainian occupied territories, the best-case scenario is that the platform could transform into a major irritant for Russia that spells no peace and stability for a long time. This said, if this scenario indeed materialises further, and the Second Summit is planned for 2023, the Crimea Platform most likely will be used by more powerful parties/countries for their own purposes as a tool to apply pressure on Russia, if and when necessary, and to excuse and blame their own inadequacies in governing their own countries on the Russia-Ukraine War. This will leave Ukraine as a bystander, at best, and, at worst, as a loser. The Western politicians have already started covering up their incompetencies and blaming everything that is going wrong on Russia, such as energy crises, living costs increases, economic downturns … No wonder Andrej Plenkovic’s incompetent government has hopped onto this bandwagon and the abyss of ridding Croatia of corruption and nepotism seems to be plummeting deeper than before Russia started “copping” the blame for everything. Something must give in Croatia. The sheer weight of corruption, theft and nepotism scandals erupting almost weekly is becoming too heavy.  Ina Vukic

Bosnia And Herzegovina Hotbed Of Political Unrest And Disintegration Fears

Last Sunday’s elections in Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), which saw a 50% voter turnout, while marked by continued electoral and political rape of Croats in that country as one of the three constitutional peoples (Bosniaks (Muslims), Serb and Croats) delivered results that put an end to the long-lasting reign within the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the corrupt and corrupting Muslim Izetbegovic “dynasty”. Readers may remember it was Alija Izetbegovic, President of the Presidency of BiH to 1998 and later member of the Presidency to 2001 and Islamic philosopher who died in 2003 and was succeeded in political leadership of his only son Bekir Izetbegovic. Bekir like his father heavily leaned towards creating an Islamic state in BiH and if that failed (which has not yet) then they both would undertake measures to degrade and belittle and oppress Croats living in the same regions of the country as Bosniaks or Muslims and under supposed equal constitutional rights as constitutional peoples.

Sunday 2 October election results have out of the long-standing incumbents on the Presidency confirmed Bekir Izetbegovic’s loss and exit. This result though does not mean that Croats in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will now be free of pressures and oppressions that come their way from Muslims or Bosniaks and perhaps it is for that very reason the country’s top international envoy whose duty and role is to oversee the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Agreement for BiH, High Representative Christian Schmidt, decided to impose wide-ranging amendments to Bosnia’s Constitution immediately after the polls had closed on Sunday, which would spill into electoral law.

It has been years since the Constitutional Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered a decision in late 2016 that the country’s electoral law be changed to accommodate a guarantee that each of the three constitutional peoples would elect their own representatives in the Presidency and other representative and governing bodies in the country. This is particularly and crucially important for Croats because they are in relative smaller numbers in the country and can be outvoted in cantons by others ethnic groups that also form the constitutional people.  Yet in all those years nothing had been changed in the country’s Electoral Law to accommodate the Constitutional Court’s decision from 2016 and it seems that Christian Schmidt has “put his foot down”!

The future three members of the BiH Presidency: Denis Becirovic (Muslim or Bosniak Representative on the Presidency who comes from Bekir Izetbegovic’s opposition), Zeljka Cvijanovic as Serb Representative, and Zeljko Komsic as Croat Representative. The electoral rape and utter unfairness of the country’s electoral law that places Croats at a dire disadvantage is highlighted with the fact that Borjana Kristo (HDZ Party), a candidate for Croat Representation on the Presidency, had won over 90% of Croat vote in towns and villages where in the Federation Croats live as majority ethnic group with Muslims and where, sadly and undemocratically HDZ has wielded corrupt power for decades that seems to have caused fear among many voters to vote away from HDZ because they may lose their job or perks they receive from HDZ for being politically loyal. But Muslims outnumber Croats in majority of places. Clearly Croats said a firm no to Zeljko Komsic as their Representative, but the Electoral Law favours him! It is believed that had HDZ not caused so much disappointment and existential fears among the Croats in the Federation, voter turnout would have been greater and other Croat political parties and candidates would have had a fighting chance to win significant number of seats.

Hence, the awful tragedy of electoral rape of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina continues!

Zeljko Komsic was, again, elected to the Presidency as Croat Representative by Bosniak or Muslim, not Croat vote!  Again, the electoral law was not changes as directed by the Bosnian Constitutional Court, which legislation would ensure that each of the three constitutional peoples (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) elect their own representatives.

Journalists rooting for status quo in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which permits oppression of Croats my Muslims or Bosniaks, will try and convince the world that the move High Representative Christian Schmidt made immediately after the polls closed on Sunday is destructive, illegal, unnecessary and that it threatens democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, forgetting that the 1995 Dayton Agreement which was about democracy and rights has been sabotaged and derailed too many times to count since then – not by the High Representative but by BiH politicians in power! Well, there is no democracy in the country to speak of as one of the three Constitutional people that are supposed to have the same rights as the other two continue to experience oppression and setbacks in asserting their rights. The truth is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a corrupt political and economic pit where detrimental ethnic divisions are stronger than ever.

The surprise new intervention made on last Sunday by Schmidt changes the election law by raising the number of representatives in the Federation entity’s House of Peoples and the way they are chosen. The changes also include the deadline (one month) for the formation of the government after the election, as well as measures to ensure the functionality of the Bosniak and Croat-dominated Federation entity.

Schmidt, whose task is to oversee implementation of the 1995 peace accords that ended the 1992-95 war, also imposed changes to the Constitution of the Federation entity intending to ensure future functionality of its constitutional court and the selection process of the judges.

The US Embassy to Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed Schmidt’s move, stating in its 4 October Press Release that the move would “bolster the stability and functionality of Bosnia and Herzegovina … This action was both urgent and necessary … The High Representative’s decision addresses problems that have plagued the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for many years.  Four years after the 2018 elections, the Federation has not implemented the results, and the Federation Constitutional Court is nearly paralysed.  This has deprived Federation residents of their constitutional rights, undermined the rule of law, and emboldened ethno-nationalists across BiH.  Together, these problems threaten BiH’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multiethnic character.”.

The British Ambassador to BiH, Julian Reilly, Tweeted on 3 October: “The United Kingdom supports the role played by the High Representative and his Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It is a source of regret that the powers of the High Representative continue to be needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but in the absence of domestic political 1/3”.

In essence, Schmidt has changed the formula for the appointment of delegates to the upper chamber of the Federation of BiH entity parliament, the House of Peoples. A widespread opinion came through these past days that this change will give the minorities more rights to be represented and when one looks at election results for representatives that went against Croats in areas where they are outnumbered by Muslims, one may sense a realistic hope that Croats will have a better chance now.  

The measures package taken by Schmidt are said to “set the stage for further electoral and constitutional reform, including to meet BiH’s commitments for EU integration and to address concrete problems facing the country.  These measures also strengthen the constitutional safeguards provided by the Dayton Peace Agreement and the Constitution for constituent peoples while preventing abuse or paralysis of the system…”

The Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic, welcomed the decision of the high representative of the international community, Christian Schmidt, which changed the electoral law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, pointing out that this ensured the political survival of the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The other side to this medal is the fact that the Bosnian HDZ/Croatian Democratic Party, Andrej Plenkovic’s political party twin, is responsible for the atrocious situation regarding the continued oppression of Croats in BiH and the exodus or emigration of Croats in droves. That responsibility stems from the fact that HDZ in BiH has managed to stay in much of the power corridors and that stay did not always result from honest politics but from corrupt ones. Schmidt’s move for changes to the BiH Constitution seem like having delivered a licence of sorts for HDZ party to retain the power of maintaining a legislative and political gridlock on important matters in the Federation unless representation in the federation upper house chambers moves significantly away from HDZ. It is now up to Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina to vote away to HDZ in future elections.  

President of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, said that the High Representative Christian Schmidt “played underground, rat games” and that the electoral system in Bosnia and Herzegovina lacks representativeness, where anyone can elect anyone and then the smallest ones suffer.

“The death penalty for Croats, in the political sense, has been commuted to life imprisonment, and we must celebrate that. But this is a disaster for Croatian foreign policy, this is quisling behaviour.

“The Croats had one candidate (for the Presidency), they came out in good numbers and they failed to prevail. There is no help. In the next four years, Zagreb will either stand behind the rights of the Croats in BiH as a constituent nation or there will be no Croats there anymore,” Milanovic concluded.

The intervention after the polling had finished by the UN’s overseer Christian Schmidt is likely to dominate the post-election landscape and its effect on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s  national and political fortunes. So far, in the past thirty years BiH has been a hotbed of ethnic rivalries for power and supremacy of essentially nationalist parties, which have maintained power by stirring up sectarian divisions, while presiding over vast patronage networks which helped further cement their grip on people. But after nearly three decades of this as well as growing social and economic stagnation and decay Bosnia and Herzegovina may be ripe for the picking by external full control.  

Will the moves to control stop with UN envoy Schmidt or will new winds blow in more control from the Islamic world via Turkey or from Orthodox Russia are questions that cannot be ignored.

What international actors should be concerned about is Russia’s offer of support to the Bosnian Serbs (the the Serbian Republic within BiH forged in genocide and ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs during the 1990’s war). Considering Russia’s recent and current encroachment upon eastern Ukraine and Crimea, it is not unthinkable that Moscow would collaborate with the Serbs to further expand its influence and control, fuelling conflict in the region. Russia has long championed secessionist Serb Milorad Dodik, and more recently Moscow has allied with China to threaten to strip the BiH High Representative’s powers.

Turkey’a President Erdogan has for years appeared to consider Bosnia and Herzegovina his turf, his second home… Turkey’s engagement with BiH has mostly been of a political nature but this was backed up by diverse business and cultural activities, often using the Ottoman legacy and Islam as leverage. Erdogan has had close relations with the Bosnian Muslim political parties and the detrimental effects on Croats have been visible for some years now. Islamic supremacy in the country, or Federation of BiH is a yearning only too visible.

In the absence of a tentative alternative to Dayton Agreement for BiH, rather widespread belief is that the fate of Bosnia and Herzegovina is inextricably tied to the fate of the High Representative as that body is its main bulwark against the forces of disintegration. Thuds from Russia and Turkey, and even China, are getting louder and louder though!

When it comes to visions for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s near and distant future, things are still as they were in 1995: Let’s wait and see! Anything can happen. And if Russia pushes harder to get Bosnian Serbs to sabotage any BiH EU accession and NATO membership ambitions and plans then matters of violent disintegration are surely to follow. Whether controlling forces come from Russia or Turkey with stronger resolve, or from both simultaneously, a great deal can develop including a new armed conflict. Regretfully! Ina Vukic  

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   

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