Serbian PM Responds Sharply to Croatian Parliament Speaker Statement

By 22 August 2022
Serbian PM Responds Sharply to Croatian Parliament Speaker Statement
Source N1

ZAGREB, 22 August, 2022 - Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić has strongly dismissed statements linking Serbia's indictment against four Croatian Air Force pilots, charged with ordering the shelling of a Serb refugee column in 1995, with Serbia's EU entry talks, with attorneys for the survivors announcing more criminal reports.

The Belgrade Appeals Court has upheld the High Court's decision which upheld an indictment by the War Crimes Prosecutor's Office against Croatian Air Force pilots Vladimir Mikac, Zdenko Radulj, Željko Jelenić, and Danijel Borović.

They are charged with having ordered, on 7 and 8 August 1995, the shelling of Serb refugee columns near Bosanski Petrovac and at Svodna, near Novi Grad (formerly called Bosanski Novi), northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which 13 people were killed, including four children, and 24 were wounded.

Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Sunday that Croatia considered the indictment legally unfounded, promising assistance to the pilots.

"Croatia will use (Serbia's EU entry talks) to send a message to Serbia that it will not tolerate such things. If they want to join the EU, they have to behave in a European manner. They have to decide who they want to go with, Russia or the West," said Jandroković.

Commenting on Jandroković's statement, Brnabić said on Sunday that "Croatia's leadership is now officially threatening to block Serbia's EU accession process because, after 27 years of silence and injustice, we want someone to finally answer for the horrible crime near Bosanski Petrovac."

"An EU member country has the nerve to publicly say that, if we want justice for the Serb children killed - and four were killed there, aged 6 to 13, we cannot be part of the EU," Brnabić said in a Twitter post.

As for Jandroković's remark that Serbia should turn to the future, Brnabić said that Serbia had turned to the future. "... That is why we are finally seeking justice in the case of the monsters who killed those children," Brnabić said.

She ended her Twitter post by asking when conditions would be met for Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to visit Jasenovac, "the biggest place of suffering of the Serb people", recalling that Belgrade "is still waiting for a response to the announcement of an official visit."

Earlier in the day, Vučić said, in a comment on the indictment against Croatian Air Force pilots, that Serbia did not have anything against Croats but that it would prosecute criminals responsible for the killing of children and elderly people.

Meanwhile, Belgrade-based media have carried a statement by attorneys for people who survived the shelling at Bosanski Petrovac, who said that they would file another criminal report in this case.

A criminal report, including "written evidence by the Croatian Army", will be filed against "Admiral Davor Domazet Lošo, head of the Croatian Army General Staff Intelligence Directorate at the time of Operation Storm", Brigadier Ilija Maričić, assistant chief-of-staff in charge of the Air Force, and General Pavao Miljavac, head of the Operation Team A at the General Staff at the time relevant to the indictment, said attorney Dušan Bratić.