Youth NGO Wants Apology for Operation Storm Victims

By 31 July 2018

ZAGREB, July 31, 2018 - The Youth for Human Rights initiative on Tuesday called on President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to apologise for the crimes committed during and after the Storm military operation, assessing that politicians' stance on victims was deteriorating by the year.

Twenty-three years after the war ended, not one senior state official has sent a sincere apology to the victims of the crimes and grave violations of human rights that were undoubtedly determined to have been committed by members of Croatian institutions or units controlled by Croatia, the initiative said in a press release after presenting a manual for politicians – "How to apologise for crimes."

The duty to apologise by state officials is primarily important for the victims of crimes and then for society as a whole, the initiative said.

The manual is intended for all politicians, particularly those in senior office, and it points out that it is their duty to apologise to those who survived and to the families of victims of war crimes and of violations of human rights that were committed by members of Croatian state institutions.

The initiative called on citizens to sign an on-line petition that they launched called #ISPRIKA.

The manual was published because Croatian officials haven't comprehended their duty to address crimes from the past for which the state is responsible, representatives of the initiative said. They underscored that that responsibility doesn't mean the guilt of the nation or state but individuals and that it is established by a guilty verdict, while officials, society and each citizen has the responsibility to condemn those crimes.

The fact is that those responsible haven't been brought to justice, which points even more to the need to apologise as a symbolic way of recognising the suffering of the victims and a minimum moral satisfaction for the victims, the initiative said.

It believes that an apology from the highest state officials could strongly contribute to reconciliation between states and societies, to recognising the suffering of those who survived and the families of the victims of crimes, and to restoring their dignity.

A sincere apology made from the highest state officials shows that society has the strength to address the past and admit and condemn inhumane actions, the Youth for Human Rights NGO said.