Prime Minister Andrej Plenković spoke today about the arrest of ten Bosnian Croats.
At the beginning of today’s session of the cabinet, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković informed ministers about his recent visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, noting that he was the first Croatian Prime Minister who visited Kiseljak. He said that unfortunately shortly after the visit, ten former members of HVO were arrested. Plenković added that the arrests were being prepared for a long time and that their timing was telling, reports Večernji List on November 3, 2016.
“I have ordered ministries of foreign affairs, defence, interior and justice to obtain all relevant information and provide legal, operational and consular assistance to arrested Croatian citizens with whom we are in contact through our Embassy”, said Plenković, adding that Croatia had informed its partner countries and conveyed its concerns. Plenković is in constant contact with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Speaker of Parliament Božo Petrov.
“There is a whole range of activities that took place between the competent authorities of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina before the election of this government, and which should be explored due to their complexity. I would like to send a clear message to citizens that our government will do everything to protect legitimate interests of the Republic of Croatia, and also the human rights of all those who may be threatened at this point”, said Plenković.
“In difficult times of aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina, HVO ensured the protection of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as its sovereignty. The Croatian government will do its utmost to prevent any attempt of revision of historical events”, said Plenković. He stressed that all war crimes should be prosecuted, irrespective of ethnicity of perpetrators or victims, but added that political formulations in some legal documents about a joint criminal enterprise allegedly conducted by Croatia in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s were not acceptable. He said that the independence and territorial integrity of Croatia was defended in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.
“This case will not stop us in the implementation of our political goals from the manifesto with which we won the parliamentary elections. The European future of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only way to stability and prosperity of this important country”, said Plenković.
The former members of HVO (Croatian forces during the 1990s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina) were arrested on suspicion of committing war crimes. The arrests were ordered by the Office of Prosecutor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is reportedly under strong political influence.