Vukovar Remembrance Day Programme Presented

Total Croatia News

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ZAGREB, November 4, 2018 – The central commemorative event marking the 27th anniversary of the fall of the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar into the hands of Serb rebels supported by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) will be held on 18 November, mayor Ivan Penava has said.

The main commemoration will start outside the city hospital where 3,500 wounded people had been treated during a siege by the JNA and Serb paramilitary troops in 1991. Participants in the commemoration, including war veterans and families of the war victims, will march through the town and stop at the Memorial Cemetery where wreath-laying ceremonies will be held by top state officials.

On 19 November, the town will remember the victims killed in Vukovar’s suburb of Borovo Naselje and on 20 November commemorations will be held in tribute to the victims tortured and killed in the Velepromet prisoner-of-war camp and at Ovčara.

The Velepromet camp was set up by the JNA and paramilitaries in the Velepromet company’s compound in Vukovar’s Sajmište district in mid-September 1991. About 10,000 prisoners passed through it and over 700 were killed, according Danijel Rehak, head of the association of former inmates of Serb-run concentration camps.

Ovčara was another site of atrocities committed by the occupying forces on 20 and 21 November 1991. The exact number of the people killed at Ovčara is unknown, but 194 cases have been documented before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The youngest victim was 16 years old and the oldest 77. The majority of victims were patients transported from the Vukovar general hospital to that farm, several kilometres away from the town.

Croatia’s parliament decided in 1999 that Vukovar Remembrance Day would be observed on November 18, the day of the town’s fall. Vukovar Remembrance Day is observed in memory of 18 November 1991 when the city’s defence lines were broken after a three-month siege. The besieged town was defended by around 1,800 members of the National Guard Corps, police and volunteers of the self-organised Croatian Defence Force (HOS), organised into the 204th Croatian Army Brigade.

After the ravaged city fell into the hands of the JNA and Serb paramilitaries, around 22,000 local Croats and members of other ethnic groups were expelled and several thousand Croatian soldiers and civilians were taken to Serb-run prison camps. Numerous crimes were committed against the defence forces and civilians. According to data from the Vukovar Hospital, 1,624 Croatian soldiers and civilians were killed and 1,219 were wounded during the siege of the city. Around 3,600 Croatian soldiers and civilians were killed in the aggression on and subsequent occupation of the city.

Vukovar was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia in January 1998. The peaceful reintegration began in January 1996 with the assistance of the UNTAES (UN Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium).

To read more about the Homeland War, click here.


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