Difficult memory: What really happened when Croatia was liberated?

now For a quarter of a century, are held every year in Croatia at the beginning of August commemorations. In the first year, it was, of course, still no memory,

Difficult memory: What really happened when Croatia was liberated?

now For a quarter of a century, are held every year in Croatia at the beginning of August commemorations. In the first year, it was, of course, still no memory, but war during the "Operation storm", succeeded by the Croatian army between the 4. and the 7. In August 1995, to liberate the largest part of the since 1991, the Serb-occupied areas of Croatia. The centre of this campaign devoted to the remembrance of the city of Knin has since been located to Bosnia close to the Croatian border. This time it will be so. State President Zoran Milanović, as the opinion of a strong social-Democrat at many of the often wide of the right-positioned Croatian veterans are not just popular, want to come to Knin and order distribute. Knin was the capital of the "Republic of Serbian Krajina", one of the insurgent Croatian Serbs with substantial military support from Belgrade, established criminal structure, out of the tens of thousands of Croats had been expelled.

Michael Martens

a correspondent for Southeast European countries with headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

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However, this year, will float over the celebrations on the "day of victory and of gratitude to the homeland," again, a question to which there is only a differentiated answer: What, exactly, happened 25 years ago, in the Dalmatian Hinterland is actually? It is undisputed, apart from nationalist circles in Serbia, that Croatia had, of course, the right to liberate its own territory and in 1991, under a great deal of blood, said shed to consolidate state independence, territorial. Like is negated, however, in Croatia, that the exemption of crime was not associated to the Serbian civilian population, where it claims only as of the policy in Zagreb, often to unfortunate individual cases was.

Comparatively harmless the looting were still. A spokesman for the United Nations said at the time that UN observers had "clear evidence" that the Croatian fighters of the houses to plunder in the hastily abandoned Serbian villages in the area: "soldiers typically with video recorders, television and radio equipment in the battle."

Serbian civilians fled

Less harmless, things in hamlets like Grubori, where six old Villagers do not want to leave their homeland, and were slaughtered by never-identified murderers, as the campaign was far from over. Such Attacks were not limited to Grubori. As they had feared something like this, had fled, most of the Serbs at the Approach of the Croatian troops. They did not believe the Calls of the Croatian President Franjo Tudjman had said at the beginning of the attacks, mutatis mutandis, nobody had the intention to expel the Serbs. Up to 200,000 Serb civilians fled. Only four years later, in Kosovo, fled to even more people – then, however, Albanians in front of the Serb soldiers.

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The Swiss book author and Balkan expert Cyrill Stieger, at that time in the employ of the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung", was in 1995 the day after the completion of "Operation storm" in Krajina, and reported from a deserted place, where the cafes are still cups and beer bottles stood on the table to test: "Some of the glasses were not even finished – a sign of the people had made the neck on the head of ... In a Restaurant the table was covered, remains of meat, abgebissene pieces of bread lay around. ... In many of the rooms light still burned, in a bakery, the fresh-baked summit were on the sheet. The residents had left the locality, apparently in the night or early in the Morning in a big hurry. Here we also saw houses and shops that had been burned and looted.“

That among the Serbs, but also of such goods, the good reason to escape, as they had previously committed war crimes against their Croatian neighbors, is certainly right. Only the crimes of some of the liberators will not undo it. At the time, were killed, according to General estimates, several hundred Serbs, thousands of houses torched.

Croatian liberators on a par with Serbian mass murderers

a Few years later tried the former chief Prosecutor of the Hague war crimes Tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, of these crimes, the Croatian General Ante Gotovina guilty of. Politically moderate Croats are outraged by it at the time, that Gotovina killers on a par with the Serbian mass as the also by the Hague Tribunal accused the Bosnian-Serbian war, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko criminals will Mladić made. Satisfaction gave them that Gotovina was spoken in contrast to the two Serbs in the appeals, since it had no direct guilt for the crime was undetectable. This had, of course, also means that the crimes, which is not doubted by the Tribunal, were not atoned for until today.

Date Of Update: 04 August 2020, 09:21