Veterans Affairs Minister: Security Services Should Have Known More about Arrests in Bosnia

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Minister Medved criticized Croatian security services for not knowing that Bosnian Croats would be arrested.

Croatian Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Tomo Medved said on Saturday that Croatian institutions stood ready to help families of recently arrested ten former members of HVO in Orašje in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that they would demand their release from detention during the pre-trial proceedings, reports Jutarnji List on November 5, 2016.

Minister Medved confirmed that lawyers would appeal the court’s decision to detain the ten Bosnian Croats in prison. He pointed out that Croatia, through diplomatic and political activities, insists for them to be released from remand prison.

He rejected allegations that that the arrests have created additional fear among veterans, but said that there was revolt and anger among Croatian war veterans and members of the HVO (former military forces of Bosnian Croats during the 1990s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina). He added that the key issue was selective application of the command responsibility principle. When ten people are arrested from the command a brigade and if there are specific alleged crimes, then it should be expected that specific perpetrators are also held responsible. Such a broad interpretation of command responsibility is unacceptable, said the Minister.

Asked to comment on the work of Croatian intelligence services, Minister Medved said he believed that they should have known more about the whole situation. He noted that the intelligence services should have known about it at the time when Prime Minister Andrej Plenković went to an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina last week, adding that he as a minister was not personally responsible for these services and they were under the jurisdiction of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the Prime Minister. However, he said, I think it was possible to have more information about it.

The Veterans Affairs’ Minister did not want to speculate whether more arrests could follow. Reporters asked him if there were indications of new arrests, and Medved replied that he would not speculate about it, adding that there was a number of media articles about the topic. For many years, there have been rumours about certain names. That is a job of judicial bodies and services, and I sincerely hope that in the future there will not be this kind of selective approach to identifying and bringing people in, based on the command responsibility principle, he concluded.


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