Commemoration Held for Slobodan Praljak

Total Croatia News

Praljak was recently convicted of war crimes by the Hague Tribunal, after which he committed suicide in the courtroom.

Numerous friends, war comrades, retired generals, politicians and other prominent public figures gathered on Monday afternoon at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall in Zagreb for the commemoration for Slobodan Praljak, who committed suicide after the Hague Tribunal confirmed his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Muslims during the Croat-Bosniak conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1993 to 1994, reports Novi List on December 11, 2017.

“Slobodan Praljak was a man full of life who did not hide his patriotism. He was an example to us until the very last moment of his life. He was a general who defended the homeland and honour of the army on whose head he stood,” said Pavao Miljavac, the president of the Croatian Generals’ Assembly, which organised the event.

He pointed out that Praljak had three different university degrees and demonstrated that he was not satisfied with being average. “He had a strong personality and a will of steel. He quickly became a leader, though without formal military education,” said Miljavac, who was Croatia’s defence minister in the 1990s.

“Unfortunately, the trial in The Hague was not a fair fight. In such circumstances, he opted for an incredible act, worthy only of historically bravest military leaders and Croatian knights. He dismissed charges against himself to protect the honour of the people he commanded. He was not afraid to die. He took his own life in front of astonished eyes of those who cold-bloodedly did injustice to him, thinking there was no way he could defeat them, but they were wrong,” Miljavac said. “He fell for the defence of the beloved country as a warrior, soldier and general, until his very last breath. Croatia will never be able to repay the debt he has given it,” concluded Miljavac.

HDZ’s Member of Parliament Miroslav Tuđman, a son of former President Franjo Tuđman, stated that “Slobodan Praljak did not want to live a single minute as a war criminal, because he was not one.”

“His final act in the Hague courtroom was not a theatrical gesture nor a flight from responsibility for his acts, nor a gesture of cowardice in fear of the conviction, nor a desperate move to escape punishment. His message was crystal clear: Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. I reject your verdict,” Tuđman said.

General Praljak was, he said, consistent in his uncompromising manner, dismissing the unjust verdict, by which he and the other five Bosnian Croats were convicted of crimes they had not commanded, which they could not have prevented, and which they did not know had taken place. The verdict, he said, was equally unfair towards the victims who did not get the satisfaction because the perpetrators who committed the crimes have not been convicted.

Tuđman said that Praljak rejected the verdict because it had not confirmed the historical truth and the historical facts about the conflict between Muslims and Croats in central Bosnia. He rejected the wrongful decision with contempt. The verdict against him was an insult to any justice. It is the theatre of the absurd,” Tuđman said.

The verdict was a programmed manipulation by global powers and a self-deception of the international community which wrongly believed that the conviction of the political and military leaders of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of false truths would bring reconciliation, Tuđman concluded.

The commemoration ended with a performance of the Croatian national anthem. It was attended by Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Tomo Medved, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Deputy HDZ President Milijan Brkić, former speakers of parliament Vladimir Šeks and Luka Bebić, convicted war criminals Dario Kordić and Mirko Norac, and many others.

On the other hand, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights has invited all citizens to join it at the lighting of candles event later today at the French Republic Square in Zagreb. “With this act, we want to show compassion to the victims and give them our condolences. We want survivors and families of victims to know that Croatian society is not united in celebrating war criminals and war crimes, and we want to show them that there are also those in Croatia who will demand from our institutions to recognize and condemn the crimes committed in the name of our Republic, or by the forces under its control, condemning at the same time the policies which led to their suffering”, the Initiative said.

Translated from Novi List.


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