ZAGREB, September 8, 2018 – Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava called on Saturday on all the residents of the easternmost town and the whole Croatian public to take part in a peaceful protest in Vukovar on October 13, against what he called the shameful silence of Croatian institutions. “I want the protest to be peaceful, apolitical, without party insignia, for the affirmation of fundamental human rights,” he told reporters.
Penava recalled the numerous locations in the town area where crimes were committed during the 1991-95 Homeland War. He said “almost nothing has been done in the 27 years since the most horrific crimes were committed,” and that “most” of the blame lay “with politicians and people paid to enforce the law.”
“I believe some positions are above politics and some values above party discipline,” Penava said, adding that “it’s time we give clear deadlines to institutions such as the Justice Ministry, the Chief State Prosecutor’s Office, security and intelligence services and the Interior Ministry to prosecute those responsible for crimes at all levels or to leave their place to those who can do it.”
There is no excuse for inaction, Penava said, underlining the need to prosecute war-related crimes.
Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković on Saturday responded to criticism from Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava over unsolved war crimes and the war missing, saying his ministry neither prosecuted nor made decisions but created conditions so the justice system could do a better job. “The better conditions are reflected in our creation of a better personnel base, better material equipment of our bodies, and the result is better work by the courts,” Bošnjaković told reporters in Rugvica.
Asked about allegations of evidence of war crimes and that nothing was being done, he said he could not talk about evidence in specific cases.
Interior Minister Davor Božinović said the chief police commissioner set up a war crimes task force in February to analyse all criminal investigations and court proceedings. “Two months later, an indictment was filed for the Ovčara case. Recently, indictment proposals have been filed for the attack on the government building, for Sisak, Manjača, Široka Kula. Therefore the police are working on those cases very seriously and that is one of the priorities,” he said.