Friday, 21 May 2021

Remains of Five Victims Who Went Missing in War Identified in Osijek

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - Five people, whose remains were unearthed in Croatia's Danube region after they had gone missing in the 1991-1995 Homeland War, were identified in an Osijek hospital's forensic department on Friday.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, accompanied by War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved, attended the final identification and after that he told the press the government was committed to shedding light on the fate of all the war victims.

Plenković said that the issue of missing victims was raised on every occasion and at every formal and informal meeting with Serbia's representatives.

Minister Medved said that Serbia still made no contribution to efforts to find the victims who went missing in the war.

After today' identification, the number on the list of missing people has fallen to 1,864. Of them, 401 are presumed to be dead and the fate of the remaining 1,463 victims is still unknown.

For more news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Sunday, 2 May 2021

30th Anniversary of Death of 12 Special Policemen Commemorated in Borovo

ZAGREB, 2 May 2021 - Commemorative events were held in the village of Borovo on Sunday in tribute to 12 special policemen killed there by Serb paramilitaries in an ambush on 2 May 1991.

The 12 Croatian policemen were killed in an ambush in the night between May 1 and 2, 1991 after coming to Borovo in an attempt to rescue two of their colleagues who were captured the night before by Serb paramilitaries.

After negotiations on their release failed, a group of members of special police forces from Vinkovci were sent to Borovo on May 2. In a conflict with Serb paramilitaries that followed, 12 of them were killed and another 21 were wounded.

The policemen who were killed were Stjepan Bošnjak (born in 1955), Antun Grbavac (1961), Josip Culej (1966), Mladen Šaric (1965), Zdenko Perica (1965), Zoran Grašic (1969), Ivica Vučić (1961), Luka Crnković (1970), Marinko Petrušić (1966), Janko Čović (1965), Zeljko Hrala (1968) and Mladen Čatić (1971).

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

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Zagreb and Other Nearby Cities Remember Victims of May 1995 Shelling

ZAGREB, 2 May 2021 - Seven civilians were killed and more than 200 were wounded in Zagreb during the missile attacks launched by rebel Serb forces on 2 and 3 May 1995, and Zagreb and the nearby cities, which were also shelled in those retaliatory attacks, marked the 26th anniversary of those tragic events on Sunday.

No fatalities were in Karlovac, Sisak, Jastrebarsko, however, considerable material damage was caused to them when Serb paramilitaries shelled them and Zagreb's centre with cluster bombs in retaliation for the defeat suffered in Operation Flash in western Slavonia the day before.

The retaliation was publicly admitted to by the then leader of rebel ethnic Serbs, Milan Martic. Seven people were killed, 39 seriously injured and another 136 sustained lesser injuries.

The first explosions were heard around 10.23 a.m. on 2 May when several shells were fired on downtown Zagreb.

The shelling a day later was directed at a children's hospital, a retirement home, and the national theatre building.

The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague (ICTY) found Martic guilty of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war committed against Croats and other non-Serbs in Croatia in the early 1990s, sentencing him to 35 years in prison. It also found him guilty of ordering missile attacks on Zagreb in May 1995.

In October 2008, the ICTY Appeals Chamber confirmed the 35-year prison sentence for that former Croatian Serb political leader, for crimes committed against Croats and other non-Serbs in Croatia between 1991 and 1995.

The initial indictment against Martic was issued on 25 July 1995. After several years on the run, he surrendered to the Tribunal on 15 May 2002. The trial started on 13 December 2005 and concluded on 12 January 2007.

In May 2020, Croatia's judicial authorities also sentenced Serb rebel general Milan Čeleketić for those missile attacks to 20 years after he was tried in absentia. Čeleketić is beyond the reach of Croatia's authorities. He lives in the northern Vojvodina city of Subotica, and Serbia's authorities.

For more about the homeland war 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.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Croatia Seeks Two Suspects Involved in 1991 Killings of Civilians

ZAGREB, 28 April, 2021 - An international arrest warrant has been issued for a 78-year old Croatian citizen Dragan Bešir and 79-year old Serbian national Slobodan Đorđević for murders committed in 1991 and shelling a refugee camp in Grabovac where a three-month old baby was killed.

The charges have been forwarded to the County State Attorney in Rijeka after Lika-Senj and Karlovac county police authorities in cooperation with prosecutorial authorities completed the criminal investigation, the police has reported without revealing the identity of the two suspects.

The suspects are out of reach of Croatian judicial authorities. They are charged with failing to prevent the murder of civilians between 8 October and 10 November 1991 and in that way violated international laws during war conflicts.

Both Bešir and Đorđević were commanders of the then Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), and they did not do anything to prevent the murder of 35 civilians.

In addition, Đorđević is charged with not preventing a mortar attack on a refugee camp at Grabovac which resulted in the killing of three civilians including a three-month old baby, who was the youngest victim during the Homeland War.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Friends of Croatia: New TCN Series On All Things Diplomatic

April 20, 2021 - Check out the newest TCN series "Friends of Croatia", dealing with all things diplomatic, by TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac

December 22, 1990, the Croatian parliament known as Sabor brought its first independent constitution, known as „The Christmas Constitution“. After that, the same parliament officially declared Croatia as an independent country and no longer part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991. Then followed the Ex-Yu War known in Croatia as a Homeland War, which lasted until 1995.

While this war is one of the foundations of Croatian independence, noted by the modern constitution as well as on other grounds of historic events, the dedication of soldiers, tactics, weapons, force and combat skills weren't the only cards Croatia had to achieve its sovereignty. It was also the communication with the international community and international recognition. This allowed Croatian citizens to not end up in the trap of Transnistria, a sovereign state officially recognized as part of Moldova, where Moldova does not rule due to the army and force monopoly by the Transnistrian government, but whose passports have no benefit for its citizens and despite being a state, in official maps does not exist.

Iceland was the first sovereign country to recognize Croatia as a sovereign state on December 19, 1991, followed by Germany in whose recognition took effect on January 15, 1992. Slovenia technically did recognise Croatia first, the same as Croatia was the first to recognise Slovenia, but neither country had international recognition at the time, which is the reason Iceland counts first. Floored by Iceland and Germany, other countries started to recognize Croatia and the new-found Republic joined the UN on May 22, 1992. The international status was then additionally boosted with joining Nato on April 1, 2009, and the EU on July 1, 2013.

Today, Croatia has 176 diplomatic relations; and for TCN writers, reporting on diplomacy is nothing new. Diplomatic relations can be viewed, in layman terms, like friendships, and this is why this series is called „Friends of Croatia“. As stated by the E-International relations site, diplomacy has existed as long as the human race. It can be viewed in the first negotiations amongst individuals before graduating to the level we know today.

„Among the many functions of diplomacy, some include preventing war and violence and fortifying relations between two nations. Diplomacy is most importantly used to complete a specific agenda. Therefore without diplomacy, much of the world’s affairs would be abolished, international organizations would not exist, and above all, the world would be in a constant state of war. It is for diplomacy that certain countries can exist in harmony“, writes the E-International relations site.

And indeed, shutting down diplomatic relations is a final step before potential war escalation and the spread of violence. Even with certain diplomatic tensions, Croatia has with Slovenia around Piranski Bay, or with Serbia regarding uncleared questions from the Homeland War, the fact there are diplomatic relations both with Serbia and Slovenia ensures that these tensions can be solved by peace and not violence.

But what exactly are the details of Croatian diplomatic relations with other countries and international organizations? This is precisely what this series strives to bring by explaining the history of Croatian diplomatic relations by talking to diplomats, embassies, and representers of international communities, with an informative, unique approach to each specific relation. The series wants to inform of the ups and downs of Croatian international collaboration, how to make them better, what benefits are there in these relations for Croatia, and what benefits are there for other countries. Keep your eyes open for articles in these series with more details and interesting facts about diplomacy in general too.

If you are working in the embassy or in an international organization in Croatia, feel free to reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

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

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

President Zoran Milanović Decorates Participants in 1991's Operation Plitvice

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021- President Zoran Milanović, acting in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces,  on Tuesday decorated participants in 1991's Operation Plitvice, describing them as heroes to whom Croatians owe lasting gratitude.

Milanović presented the decorations at a formal reception in his office, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the operation and in memory of Josip Jović, the first Croatian police officer killed in the 1991-95 Homeland War. 

Jović, 22, was killed and nine other police officers were wounded in a police operation on 31 March 1991 after Serb insurgents occupied the Plitvice Lakes National Park and blocked the D1 state road that connects the country's north and south. Jović was a member of the Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit.

Addressing the participants in the operation, Milanović said that as the Commander in Chief he would pursue a non-partisan policy.

"A policy that does not recognise either of the two big parties or third parties, a policy that recognises only our interests. And for Croatia and us Croatians to be able to define and realise those interests, the state had to be defended and created first. Without you, none of that would have been possible. May the memory of Josip Jović live, to you we owe our gratitude. Long live Croatia!" Milanović said in his address.

In a statement to reporters after the reception, Milanović noted that no government representative attended the event.

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

Friday, 19 March 2021

Man Arrested for Murder of Seven Vukovar Civilians during 1990s War

ZAGREB, 19 March, 2021 - A 50-year-old man has been taken into custody following an extensive operation by the police, state attorney and the security-intelligence agency (SOA) on the suspicion of torturing and killing seven Vukovar civilians during the Homeland War in September 1991.

The suspect and members of his paramilitary unit are believed to have punched, kicked and hit with their rifle butts a group of seven civilians, aged between 24 and 55, whom they found in the basement of a house in Vukovar.

The perpetrators then led the captured civilians to the city centre, killing six on the way, while a 55-year-old prisoner was wounded.

After that, the suspect and the other paramilitaries returned to the house and collected the women and children staying there whom they also wanted to take to the city centre but were stopped by an unidentified Serb army officer. The women and children and the wounded 55-year-old man were returned to the basement, however, the next day the 55-year-old was killed by an unidentified Serb paramilitary.

The police reported that after the reintegration of the Danube region an exhumation was conducted and six of the murdered civilians were identified. A 27-year-old man from that group is still unaccounted for.

The suspect was taken into custody while the Osijek County Attorney's office has filed criminal charges against him for war crimes against civilians.

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

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Parliament Committee Endorses Bill on Civilian War Victims

ZAGREB, 16 March, 2021 - The parliamentary committee on human and national minority rights on Tuesday endorsed a bill on civilian Homeland War victims, whose rights are currently regulated by a law from 1992 which, despite having been amended 12 times, does not cover all civilian victims.

Under the bill, the rights can be exercised by Croatian as well as foreign nationals, provided they were Croatia's residents during the 1991-95 war. It is estimated that the bill will apply to 2,500 more beneficiaries.

Among other things, the bill facilitates eligibility for the family disability allowance and increases the individual disability allowance.

Committee chair Milorad Pupovac (Independent Democratic Serb Party) said it was important that the bill covered all Homeland War victims and that it should define collaborators more precisely.

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

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