Croatian and Montenegrin Foreign Ministers Lay Wreaths in Morinj

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“We are here today, for the first time in thirty years, to commemorate the sad day when the so-called centre for the reception of prisoners of war was opened here and became a place of torture for innocent people and civilians. The presence of the Montenegrin Minister of Foreign Affairs, Đorđe Radulović, confirms our desire to commemorate that event together by laying wreathes and lighting candles. Some of the people have been convicted for that, mostly guards, but to this day we do not know who gave orders, and they, too, should be prosecuted,” Grlić Radman said.

He said that a swimming pool in Kotor was named after Zoran Džimi Gopčević, one of the guard commanders. “We protested against that. The fact that Minister Radulović is here today confirms and proves that that was a rash decision by the local authorities in Kotor which the central government probably could not influence.”

“This today is the actual admission that war crimes were committed here. Today we pay tribute to all victims together. This is a big day because the representatives of the states of Croatia and Montenegro have come here together for the first time,” Grlić Radman told Hina.

He said he wanted to do a similar thing in Serbia where many Croats had been imprisoned, tortured and killed during Croatia’s 1991-1995 Homeland War.

“I spoke with Minister Radulović about installing a memorial plaque here in Morinj. This commemoration was organised by the Croatian National Council (HNV), who are loyal citizens of Montenegro and who cherish their Croatian tradition, culture and language with the support of the Croatian government,” Grlić Radman said.

Radulović said that his presence in Morinj showed “the spirit of a new Montenegro, of those who did not take part in the war, but who respect the victims of all wars in the region. That’s the spirit of the new Montenegro, which seeks reconciliation of our fathers for the sake of the future of our children. The spirit of a Montenegro that does not dream about its past but about its European future. The spirit of Montenegro living in peace with everyone. Today patriotism is shown by respecting those who think like you, but even more by respecting those who think differently and by respecting your neighbours and friends. Morinj is a reminder that we should never forget that.”

 HNV president Zvonimir Deković said: “Today it is a great encouragement to mark this anniversary in the presence of two ministers of foreign affairs and all those who send the message that a true example of heroism is to know how to protect another from yourself.” He called for a minute of silence to honour the prisoners of war from Dubrovnik who had died in the Morinj camp and others who had died in the last 30 years.

The Morinj camp operated from 3 October 1991 until 18 August 1992 as a detention centre for POWs from Croatia. A total of 292 people from the Dubrovnik region were held there and 169 of them were subjected to inhumane treatment. It was only in 2013 that the first court judgment was delivered, sentencing four defendants to a total of 12 years in prison for torturing and violating the physical integrity and personal dignity of the prisoners.

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