ZAGREB, May 3, 2019 – The Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina Croats (DSHV) on Friday requested Serbian state institutions to ban a convention the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) plans to hold on May 4 in Hrtkovci, a village in Vojvodina that is considered a symbol of the expulsion and plight of the Vojvodina Croats in the early 1990s.
Serbian media said earlier that the SRS election convention would be held in a house in Hrtkovci which SRS leader and convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj bought last year.
“We consider the planned SRS convention to be not only an act of political provocation but unacceptable activity that should be banned by the Serbian state institutions. As members of a wounded community we have every reason to expect it because the convention can also be interpreted as an act of mocking the innocent victims,” DSHV leader Tomislav Žigmanov said in a statement.
The SRS convention is to coincide with the 27th anniversary of a rally in Hrtkovci at which the names of local Croats were read out in Šešelj’s presence and they were told to leave the village.
An estimated 35,000-40,000 Vojvodina Croats had to leave their homes during the 1990s campaign of intimidation and almost none of them have returned, the DSHV said, noting that “the issue of expulsion of the Vojvodina Croats is still not being dealt with adequately – judicial bodies have not prosecuted the crimes committed, there is not a single public memorial and commemorations are not held.”
The DSHV also recalled that the Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in The Hague in 2018 delivered a 10-year prison sentence to Šešelj for expulsions and deportations of the Vojvodina Croats.
Šešelj has in the meantime completed his prison term.
More news about the status of Croats in Serbia can be found in the Politics section.