Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Commemoration Held For Three Women Killed at Zagreb Court 22 Years Ago

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Government officials and representatives of the judiciary on Wednesday attended a commemoration at Zagreb's Municipal Court for three women killed at that court 22 years ago. 

On 22 September 1999, during a divorce hearing, Mato Oraškić killed his wife Gordana, her attorney Hajra Prohić and judge Ljiljana Hvalec as well as wounding court reporter Sanja Cvetković.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the perpetrator had been given a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and called for joint, strong and coordinated action in preventing violence against women.

"In partnership with civil society organisations we have enabled progress in the cooperation of all government agencies, introducing stricter penalties, improving procedural law, and ratifying international treaties such as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which has made it possible for us to align our legal order and improve legislative and procedural frameworks for dealing with that phenomenon," said Plenković.

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in an increase of violence but noted that the number of misdemeanor reports for violence had decreased while the number of criminal reports had increased.

Sanctions are now harsher and the message of the government and the entire society to abusers is that violence is unacceptable and that the victims are not alone, he said.

Attending the commemoration were also European Association of Judges President Đuro Sessa, Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica, and Supreme Court Deputy President Marin Mrčela, who all called for raising awareness of the problem and resolutely fighting and preventing violence. 

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Friday, 6 August 2021

SNV Commemorates Serb Civilians Killed at Uzdolje Near Knin in 1995

ZAGREB, 6 Aug 2021 - The southern municipality of Biskupija and the Serb National Council (SNV) on Friday held a commemoration in Uzdolje near Knin for civilian victims of the 1995 military and police Operation Storm, at a site where eight Serb civilians were killed on 6 August 1995.

In 2017 the SNV branch in Biskupija and the association of the families of missing persons "Protiv zaborava" (Against oblivion) unveiled a memorial commemorating the civilians killed at Uzdolje.

Today a religious service was held for the victims at the site and wreaths were laid and candles lit at the memorial by local ethnic Serb officials and Serb minority MP Anja Šimpraga.

The SNV recalled in a statement that the Documenta - Centre for Dealing with the Past nongovernmental organisation in August 2017 filed a criminal report against unidentified perpetrators for the crime committed at Uzdolje.

"The criminal report, which no institution has yet acted on, relies for the most part on facts about the crime on which light was shed in an investigation by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), primarily by witness statements," the SNV said.

It recalled that the investigation by the ICTY showed that three men, wearing camouflage uniforms with Croatian Army insignia on them and armed with machine guns, arrived by car in Uzdolje's hamlet of Šare in the morning of 6 August 1995.

They started abusing and intimidating elderly people they found in the hamlet, taking away a group of villagers to a location near the Knin-Drniš road, where one of the three men opened fire at them, killing seven, including three women. One person survived and managed to escape to a nearby forest.

Another person, an elderly woman, was killed in her house.

The SNV said it was not clear what prevented prosecutorial authorities to further investigate the crime and called on them to do so.

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

President Zoran Milanović: There's no Boycott, Some Generals Received Invitation Too Late

ZAGREB, 4 Aug, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday that the fact that some of the army generals will not attend the Victory Day celebration in Knin is not a boycott, but that they received invitations too late.

Who has announced a boycott? Ljubo Ćesić Rojs has not. Josip Đakić is not a general, he is a bum, and a member of parliament, in other words he is nobody. Rojs will be there, Pavao Miljavac will be there and Ante Kotromanović will be there. Of course, not everyone can come every year, but most  people will be there," Milanović said during a visit to the southern town of Sinj.

He said he did not think there was any pressure on some of the generals by the Defence Ministry "because no one can exert pressure on those people," but noted that some of the generals and commanders were put in an awkward position because they received the invitation the day before the event, which was the ministry's responsibility.

During the visit, Milanović conferred high state medals on retired Brigadier Dušan Viro and posthumously on Franciscan Frane Bilokapić for their acts of humanity during the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

He said he did not consider the decoration of General Mladen Kruljac disputable even though he had been found guilty of corruption. "He is a war commander and is decorated what he did in the war. No one is perfect, but what he did in the war is without a doubt impeccable, and he is not the only one."

Judge Dobronić is my candidate for Supreme Court President

Answering questions from the press, Milanović confirmed that 61-year-old Judge Radovan Dobronić is his candidate for the position of Supreme Court President.

He has responded to the call for applications and "now we will see what will those who undermined, torpedoed and dishonoured my previous candidate do," Milanović said, describing Dobronić as smart, educated, honourable and incorruptible.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

State Delegations Lay Wreaths at Mirogoj Cemetery

ZAGREB, 4 Aug, 2021 - On the eve of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, War Veterans Day and the central commemoration in Knin, state delegations laid wreaths at Zagreb's central Mirogoj cemetery on Wednesday.

The government delegation was led by Veterans' Minister Tomo Medved and a delegation of the Croatian Parliament was led by Deputy Speaker Željko Reiner.

The delegations laid wreaths at the Wall of Pain monument, the Central Cross in the Alley of Fallen Croatian Homeland War Defenders, the grave of Croatia's first president Franjo Tudjman, and at the common grave of unidentified victims of the 1991-95 war.

Wreaths were also laid by a delegation of President Zoran Milanović, led by his advisor on defence and national security Dragan Lozančić, as well as a delegation of the City of Zagreb, led by deputy mayor Luka Korlaet.

Shortly after that, a delegation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by member of the SDP presidency and MEP Predrag Fred Matic, laid flowers and lit candles at the Wall of Pain monument and the Central Cross in the Alley of Fallen Croatian Homeland War Defenders.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

WWII Bleiburg Victims Commemorated in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 15 May 2021 - A commemoration was held at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery on Saturday on the occasion of the 76th anniversary of the Bleiburg and Way of the Cross tragedy, with wreaths laid by representatives of parliament and the government, the Bleiburg Guard of Honour and the City of Zagreb.

Held under the auspices of the Croatian parliament, the commemoration pays tribute to civilians and soldiers of the Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia killed in the aftermath of World War II by Yugoslav Partisans at Bleiburg, Austria and during subsequent marches back to then Yugoslavia called the Way of the Cross.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković laid a joint parliament-government wreath accompanied by Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman as the prime minister's envoy.

Mass for the victims was said by military ordinary Jure Bogdan, who said Bleiburg and the Way of the Cross were a deep, unhealed wound.

"The cessation of armed conflicts, bombings, destruction and dying on front lines and in the rear was experienced by the peoples of Europe as a great relief, as the establishment of peace and freedom, which the Croatian people expected to. But the month of May 1945 is especially remembered in our country as a month of horrible slaughters of captured soldiers and civilians handed over to the Yugoslav army by Western allies," Bogdan said.

That May, unlike for other peoples, who were given back freedom and democracy, meant for us, with the arrival of the Marxist totalitarian system, a new beginning of the persecution, imprisonment and killing of innocent people, he added.

On the 76th anniversary, we honour all victims, primarily WWII victims, the victims who preceded the war on our territory and all disarmed soldiers, the large number of civilians who fled from the establishment of the communist regime, who were killed without a trial, Bogdan said.

For a long time the Bleiburg and Way of the Cross victims did not have the right to public commemoration in their country, he said, adding that every innocent victim was due equal respect.

"There must be no difference on racial, national, confessional, party or world view grounds," Bogdan said, adding that single and mass executions without a trial or proof of guilt were serious crimes always and everywhere.

A prayer for the Islamic victims was said by Mersad Kreštić, deputy chief imam in Zagreb.

The Bleiburg and Way of the Cross victims were also honoured at Loibach field near Bleiburg, Austria.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Milanović: Eternal Praises to Croatian Heroes!

ZAGREB, 1 May 2021 - President Zoran Milanović laid a wreath in the eastern town of Okučani on Saturday in tribute to Croatian soldiers and police officers killed in Operation Flash during the Homeland War 26 years ago.

On this day in 1995, "with their knowledge, patience and courage, Croatian heroes liberated this part of Croatia," Milanović said, adding that Operation Flash, and 1993's Operation Maslenica, had paved the way for Operation Storm in August 1995 that ended the four-year Serb armed insurgency in the country.

"While we others were in Zagreb, Geneva, in administrative services, a small number of men fought here. Eternal praises and glory to the Croatian heroes!" the president said.

Milanović's delegation included the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Admiral Robert Hranj, presidential adviser on defence and national security Dragan Lozančić, presidential adviser on Homeland War veterans Marijan Mareković and high-level military commanders.

For more about the homeland war in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Croatia Commemorates 26th Anniversary of Operation Flash

ZAGREB, 1 May 2021 - Croatia today commemorates a combined military and police operation, dubbed Operation Flash, by which it regained control of the Serb-occupied Western Slavonia region during the Homeland War 26 years ago.

In a lightning offensive launched on 1 May 1995, in less than 32 hours about 7,200 Croatian soldiers and police officers liberated about 600 square kilometers of the Croatian territory that had been under occupation for four years.

The commemoration began in the morning at the monument in Okučani, about 130 kilometers southeast of Zagreb, with the reading of the names of those killed in the operation.

Wreaths were laid by President Zoran Milanović, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, and their delegations as well as by delegations of veterans' associations and families of those killed.

For more about the homeland war in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

President Zoran Milanović: "I'm Considering Not Having Army Attend Operation Flash Commemoration"

ZAGREB, 27 April, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday that he was considering not having the army participate in the coming commemoration of the 1995 military and police operation "Flash" in Okučani, to protect it from politicking, and that he would discuss the matter with Defence Minister Mario Banožić.

"A situation where soldiers have to stand for hours while politicians and government officials successively lay wreaths to comply with epidemiological measures puts in an awkward position the Army Chief of Staff as well as the commander of the land army who, if they do not want to offend anyone, have to be on duty... after arriving with me, they have to wait for (PM Andrej) Plenković, then, I guess, also for (Parliament Speaker Gordan) Jandroković," said Milanović, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

"So I'm thinking about telling them to stay home, to simply protect them from any politicking... I will talk with the minister," said Milanović while visiting the Gašinci military grounds.

Milanović said that he did not see anything contentious about the fact that on Monday, at a reception he gave for retired officers and wartime commanders of the Croatian Defence Force (HVO) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he also met with retired HVO general Tihomir Blaškić, who was in the HVO delegation. 

Blaškić was convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and served a nine-year prison sentence for the cruel and inhumane treatment of Bosniak civilians and POWs from 1992 to 1994.

"Had Blaškić been responsible for something that, let's say Ratko Mladić was responsible for, I would not have received him," he said.

He announced that he would also receive General Milivoj Petković when he is released from prison "because he isn't a war criminal."

The convictions against Blaškić and Petković were political convictions, he added.

The ICTY convicted Petković of crimes committed in 1993 against Bosniaks in the territory that was under the control of the Croat authorities of Herceg-Bosna

Asked if he would attend a ceremony marking the anniversary of the establishment of the 4th Guards Brigade in Split, Milanović said that he would attend the ceremony in Knin.

"I'm going to Knin, not Split, that brigade is in Knin and the army will conduct such events in barracks," the president said.

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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

No Joint Ceremony to Pay Tribute to Jasenovac Victims

ZAGREB, 20 April, 2021 - There will be no joint commemoration for victims of the World War II concentration camp Jasenovac on Thursday, representatives of the victims will lay wreaths separately from the state leadership while President Zoran Milanović will do so separately from the prime minister and parliament speaker.

President Milanović's spokesman Nikola Jelić confirmed to Hina that Milanović and his delegation will lay wreaths at the Stone Flower monument at Jasenovac at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Office of the President did not receive reply from gov't, parliament

"President Zoran Milanović and his delegation will pay tribute to the Jasenovac victims on 22 April, at 11 a.m., as agreed with the organiser, the Public Institution Jasenovac Memorial Area," Jelić said.

He added that the Office of the President had not received a reply from the government or the parliament to its invitation to pay tribute to the Jasenovac victims together.

"As early as last Friday the President of the Republic proposed to the Prime Minister and the Parliament Speaker that they all pay tribute to the Jasenovac victims together, but we have not received any reply," Jelić said.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said today that a government delegation would lay a wreath at Jasenovac at 9 a.m., again dismissing the possibility of paying tribute together with Milanović, noting that "there is no reason for us to put on an act."

"As regards any joint laying of wreaths or flowers, I said yesterday.... there will be no putting on an act," he told reporters during a visit to Rijeka.

Plenković: We were not the ones to start with insults

"The President of the Republic or his staff are now launching an initiative for the Parliament Speaker and myself to lay a wreath with him in Jasenovac. We were not the ones to start with the 'animal farm', we were not the ones to start with insults or a number of other things that are most inappropriate, so there is no reason to put on an act, let that be clear to everyone," said Plenković.

He added that the organiser of the commemoration was the Jasenovac Memorial Area, not the government or anyone else, and that this year's commemoration would be held in line with epidemiological restrictions.

The government's delegation will arrive at 9 a.m. and the parliament's delegation at 10 a.m., he said.

"This has nothing to do with representatives of the victim ethnic groups. We met with them last week, we hold meetings regularly, we respect the victims and went to Jasenovac in the past four years as well. We will go this year again, next year, in 2023, 2024. This has to do with the protocol, but putting on an act is out of the question," he said.

Reporters asked Plenković if he should ignore his relationship with Milanović, regardless of how bad it may be, in situations such as commemorations, to which he said: "No, there's no need for that. In this case it is not envisaged and is out of the question."

Representatives of Serbs, Jews, Roma and antifascists to form separate delegation

The Serb National Council (SNV) said earlier in the day that representatives of ethnic groups that were victims of the Ustasha terror would have a separate, four-member delegation in Jasenovac.

SNV president Milorad Pupovac, the leader of the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities of Croatia, Ognjen Kraus, Roma association "Kali Sara" representative Veljko Kajtazi, and the leader of the SABA association of antifascist fighters and antifascists, Franjo Habulin, will lay a joint wreath at the Stone Flower monument at noon on Thursday.

Kraus confirmed to Hina that this decision was made yesterday, after it became evident that there would be no joint delegation comprising top state officials.

"After we realised that there would be separate delegations, we decided on a separate delegation as well. As you can see, a single delegation does not depend on us. We cannot support the use of commemorations for political one-upmanship," said Kraus.

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Friday, 22 January 2021

President Cancels Attendance at Commemoration of Operation Maslenica

ZAGREB, 22 January, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Friday cancelled his attendance at an event commemorating the 28th anniversary of the combined military and police operation "Maslenica 93" in Zadar after he learned that two persons wearing clothes with Ustasha symbols were participating in the event.

Nikola Jelić, spokesman for the Office of the President told Hina that President Milanović arrived in Zadar for the ceremony marking the 28th anniversary of Operation Maslenica 93 and that "after it was noticed that among the participants in the event there were people wearing Ustasha insignia and the Ustasha salute, the President phoned Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and warned him that that was unacceptable."

"Since after that it was established that persons wearing clothes with Ustasha symbols, including the Ustasha salute, would take part in the official part of the event, the President cancelled his attendance," Jelić said.

Acting on orders from President Milanović, who is the Armed Forces' Supreme Commander, the Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj, and all other military commanders left the event after the first part of the ceremony, Jelić added.

Last year Milanović left a ceremony marking the anniversary of the 1995 military and police operation "Flash" in Okučani, the reason again being persons who participated in the official part of the event and who wore T-shirts with the sign "For the homeland ready", the Ustasha salute used in Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

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