SNV: Croatia Must Assume Responsibility for Crimes Committed in Operation Storm

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, August 4, 2019 – The Serb National Council (SNV) on Sunday held a commemoration in Donji Lapac, a town in Lika-Senj County near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, with speakers at the event calling on Croatia to face the past and assume responsibility for war crimes committed during and in the aftermath of the 1995 Operation Storm and prosecute those responsible for them.

SNV leader Boris Milošević said that the commemoration was an act of remembering the military and police operation Storm which 24 years ago “cleansed this area of Serbs” while today’s state protocol did not envisage making any mention of them in political speeches.

“I don’t own the truth but I do know that plunder, arson and murders did happen and that there were no reports about it at the time. The state did not prevent the plunder but rather covered it up, while local authorities issued documents that justified property being loaded onto vehicles and taken away,” Milošević said.

He said that Serb houses set on fire in the aftermath of Operation Storm were described as having been set on fire by “Chetniks who were left behind.”

“The Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights reported that all houses were set on fire except for those marked by the sign ‘Croatian Army, do not touch’. But at the time there were no reports about that or about the killing of elderly, unarmed civilians. And if there were such reports, one of the headlines read ‘Five Chetniks murdered’,” said Milošević.

He cited places where war crimes were committed against civilians who had stayed in their homes, noting that the state had never expressed sympathy for those people and describing it as “a defect in moral values.”

The SNV therefore calls for “acknowledgement, respect and sympathy for victims and their families, for all families, including those of Serb ethnic background.”

Describing empathy as a moral issue, Milošević said that by calling for the recognition of Serb victims and sympathy for them, they were asking society to put an end to war and hate, to prevent the stigma of war guilt to be borne by children and to put an end to prejudice against children of different ethnic background. Only that way can we build a better Croatia, because it is our homeland, he added.

The programme director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Nikola Puharić, said that “there is only one final and one non-final court verdict for war crimes committed against around 600 people killed (during and in the aftermath of Operation Storm).”

He said that the initiative’s petition calling for an apology to the victims of Operation Storm had been signed by around 1,200 citizens.

“By signing the petition together with us, members of the Initiative, citizens are asking also the president and the prime minister to send a message of apology to the victims and their families, because it would be a minimum, symbolic form of reparation considering that the judiciary is not prosecuting those cases,” said Puharić.

More news about the Operation Storm anniversary can be found in the Politics section.


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