President Meets with Vukovar Mayor

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 19, 2019 – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović considers it extremely important to support Mayor Penava and the residents of Vukovar, “who have for more than a quarter of a century suffered injustice resulting from the inexplicably sluggish and ineffective institutions” the president’s office reported on its web site after she met with Vukovar’s mayor in regard to a recent Constitutional Court decision stating that the rights of the ethnic Serb minority in Vukovar should be improved.

“Being aware of the sensitive nature of the political situation in Vukovar, President Grabar-Kitarović considers it extremely important to support Mayor Penava and the residents of Vukovar, who have for more than a quarter of a century suffered injustice resulting from the inexplicably sluggish and ineffective institutions,” the press release said. “This has resulted in the feeling of injustice, especially among the residents of Vukovar and Croatian defenders who have been on the front lines defending the Homeland and who bore the greatest sacrifice in the Homeland War, but also among the members of the Serb community who are unjustly stigmatised.”

“The President of the Republic of Croatia cannot comment on the decision of the Constitutional Court, but draws attention to Article 8 of the Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities, which states that these rights must be interpreted and applied with the aim of respecting the minorities and the Croatian people, while developing understanding, solidarity, tolerance and dialogue among them,” the press release added.

“The President maintains that under those circumstances in which the fundamental human rights are being neglected, the conditions needed for expanding the special rights that must become the democratic standard in Croatia,” the press release said.

She agrees that it was “that it is not good for them to be postponed. However, the President calls for using equal criteria that would ultimately result in a statement by the competent authorities saying that the proceedings against war crimes suspects also cannot be infinitely put off.”

The president underscored that Croatia “must take special care of Vukovar and it is also the duty and obligation of the state leadership to demand an end to the injustice felt by the residents of Vukovar. It is inconceivable that to this day nobody has yet been brought to justice for the massacre at Borovo Selo; nobody has resolved the issue of 30,000 detainees; missing people…”

“How can we justify this from the constitutional, but also from the moral perspective?” the president asks and added that for that reason Mayor Ivan Penava’s position cannot be assessed “as being in contempt of the decision of the Constitutional Court, but rather as a call, which I personally support, to finally close the issues from the past and thus give the future a genuine chance.”

She added that she does not want any separation or conflicts between the Croats and Serbs, but called “for patience and consideration, which implies accepting the fact that Vukovar is healing its wounds.”

Presidential candidate Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović “shows understanding for not respecting the Croatian constitution” in the wake of her support to Vukovar mayor Ivan Penava regarding a decision whereby the Constitutional Court found that the rights of the Serb ethnic minority in the eastern town must be enhanced.

In a post on Facebook, Milanovic also said that Grabar-Kitarović “not so long ago showed understanding for (Hungarian PM Viktor) Orban’s attacks on important Croatian interests and (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vučić’s outbursts and lies.”

He said the president showed “understanding for injustice, intolerance and inhumanity” and recalled that the HDZ government had adopted the Vukovar town statute which includes minority rights at a time “when they counted on minorities not being able to exercise those rights because they are not sufficiently represented in Vukovar’s population.”

“After the population census showed that conditions were met for the exercise of minority rights… the hypocritical contesting and denying of those rights began by citing the rights and endangerment of the majority,” Milanović said.

He said the constitution and the law must be respected while in force, whether someone liked it or not, adding that, “In the modern, open and freedom-loving Croatia I fight for, all the rights and liberties of all of its citizens will be respected.”

More Vukovar news can be found in the Politics section.


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