Thursday, 18 November 2021

Respects Paid to Vukovar and Škabrnja Victims at NATO Headquarters in Brussels

ZAGREB, 18 Nov 2021- Respects were paid to Vukovar and Škabrnja victims at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and that gesture sends a strong message that the truth about the events of Croatia's Homeland War has crossed Croatian borders, said Defence Minister Mario Banožić, the Ministry of Defence reported on Thursday.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of Vukovar, Remembrance Day for Homeland War Victims, and Vukovar and Škabrnja Remembrance Day, the Croatian flag was flown at half-mast to commemorate all Vukovar and Škabrnja victims.

Minister Banožić said that the gesture sent a strong message that the truth about the events of the Homeland War had crossed the borders of our country, which was an additional motive for continuing to promote the truth about the Homeland War, especially among young people.

"Today we are reminded of the importance of collective security and how much easier it would have been for us to oppose threats to our territorial integrity during the Homeland War if we had been a member of NATO then. Today, the Republic of Croatia and the Croatia Armed Forces are appreciated among their allies and partners, which show how much we have done in the past 30 years and that with will, effort and perseverance there are no impossible goals," said Defence Minister Mario Banožić.

He underscored that Croatia was a responsible ally that contributed to international missions, global peace, and security, the ministry said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Thursday, 18 November 2021

Several Thousand People Participate in Commemorative March in Škabrnja

ZAGREB, 18 Nov 2021 - Several thousand people from all over Croatia and neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday participated in a commemorative march in Škabrnja marking the 30th anniversary of the massacre that occurred in the town in Zadar's hinterland.

A government delegation comprising ministers Ivan Malenica, Marija Vučković, Vili Beroš, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, and Oleg Butković attended the commemoration.

Minister Butković said that he comes to Škabrnja every year because he is emotionally connected to that area through family ties. 

He added that everyone today feels pride and gratitude to all the victims.

Thirty years have passed. Time goes quickly but the wounds do not heal. I hope that we will altogether build a better Croatia and do everything so that we can live better but also for something like this to never occur again, said Butković.

He thanked everyone who participated in the march given "the epidemiological conditions." "I see a lot of people and it is nice to see that we will remember and pay homage to the victims of Škabrnja together," he said.

He added that he believes that the prosecutorial authorities will do everything for all those who committed this horrific massacre to be brought to justice. "There is no alternative to that so I believe that this area will have its turn before Croatian institutions for which Croatia defenders died and which we believe are functioning," said Minister Butković.

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said that "remembering all the victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja today and their huge sacrifice, we all have to build a better, happier and more successful society with great respect and responsibility."

Zadar Archbishop Želimir Puljić celebrated Mass for the Homeland in Škabrnja and recalled the war victims of the town but also of Vukovar and called on the faithful to not allow their future to be left to lackadaisical mood and hopelessness.

"Defenders fell for the Homeland's freedom so that we can duly and honestly build it," underscored Puljić.

"May the Croatian people grow and progress in peace, harmony mutual tolerance, and love. May their hearts not burn out and may their cradles not be empty. May everyone in the homeland have sufficient work and bread, justice, peace, and happiness," said Puljić.

For the latest news about Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Plenković: Vukovar is Croatia and Croatia is Vukovar

ZAGREB, 18 Nov 2021 - On the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Homeland War and Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja we recall the heroes to whom the Croatian people owe their freedom and democracy, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday.

"Today, on the 30th anniversary of Remembrance Day, we recall all the heroes to whom the Croatian people owe their freedom, democracy, and the life that we have after the Homeland War. Vukovar is Croatia and Croatia is Vukovar. This can be seen today with numerous people arriving here from all over Croatia and from abroad to pay their respects," Plenković said in Vukovar ahead of the commemorative procession.

He added that this can also be seen in young people attending and is felt in the people.

Vukovar has a future

"The battle for Vukovar is respected, as is its sacrifice. It is a pledge for our future, the sacrifice of Croatian defenders will never be forgotten," said Plenković.

He said that the government has the duty to always do more for Vukovar and its citizens, to invest in its development, economy, social inclusion, and jobs. Plenković recalled that over the past five years the government has done a lot financially and economically as well as symbolically because it wants Vukovar to have a future befitting those who gave Croatia the most.

"It is up to us to make our small contribution and reward that with our actions in the years ahead," said Plenković, once again expressing his gratitude and respect to all those who gave their lives for Croatia's freedom in Vukovar 30 years ago.

Prosecution of those responsible for the deaths of Vukovar defenders and civilians continues

The prime minister said that Croatia is still searching for 1,800 missing persons from the Homeland War and that Veterans' Minister Tomo Medved is working on that.

"We are seeking information from those who have it and that is the Serbian authorities and individuals who know where the graves of those who fell for Croatia are located. We will persist in those efforts in partnership with the families of the missing, with associations and all those who have suffered and are still suffering because they don't know the fate of their loved ones," said Plenković.

As regards war crimes, he said that almost one-sixth of those accused of war crimes in Croatia were from the Vukovar area. The entire JNA command has been indicted, as well as individuals, and there have been more than 100 convictions, but that process is continuing.

Some of the perpetrators of war crimes are out of reach of Croatia's judiciary, but we will continue with the prosecution of those responsible for the deaths of numerous Vukovar defenders and civilians.

Question of the missing part of the criteria for Serbia's accession to the EU

As far as Serbia is concerned, the issue of the missing is raised at every meeting at all levels and that is something that will continue to be insisted upon, Plenković said.

"Recently there have been some signals of political will to take a step forward but given the experience we have had, we are cautious in analyzing those announcements, and only when we have concrete evidence and information that is currently unknown to the Croatian authorities will we be able to take a step forward. It is clear that the issue of the missing is part of the obligations Serbia has to fulfill on its journey toward the EU and we will always emphasize that," said Plenković.

Asked about his opinion of segregated classes in schools and kindergartens, Plenković said that the process of peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region resulted in certain occurrences in that area but the government is working on inclusive policies towards all minorities in Croatia, including the Serb minority.

"We will continue that policy. We consider it to be good and useful for Croatia which has European values that we want to be shared throughout Croatia, including Vukovar," he added.

With reference to the epidemiological situation, Plenković said that the expectation is for everyone in Vukovar to act responsibly.

"We cannot ignore the disease that exists around the globe and has been with us for two years and has caused us to change our way of life. That is why I expect today's commemorative procession, gathering in front of the hospital, attendance at the memorial cemetery, and Ovčara to pass in dignity, above all because of the victims, and everyone should make a small contribution towards responsibility. Even though we will be outdoors, we should not put others at risk," he said.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

30th Anniversary Commemoration of Škabrnja Massacre Begins

ZAGREB, 18 Nov 2021 - The 30th anniversary of the massacre committed in Škabrnja by the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and Serb paramilitary forces on 18 November 1991 began at 10 am on Thursday morning with a memorial procession.

The procession headed towards the monument built on the site of a mass grave where the victims of the massacre were buried.

Ministers Oleg Butković, Ivan Malenica, Marija Vučković, Vili Beroš, and Nina Obuljen Koržinek are attending this year's commemoration on behalf of the government. Also present are Deputy Parliament Speaker Ante Sanader, representing the Sabor, and the president's special envoy Dragan Lozančić.

Škabrnja fell into the hands of occupying Serb forces on 18 November 1991 following air and artillery bombardments by the Yugoslav People's Army under the command of Ratko Mladić. The village, located 25 kilometers east of the coastal city of Zadar, was completely destroyed in the attack, and 48 Croatian civilians and 15 soldiers were killed on that day.

During its subsequent occupation and until its liberation in the August 1995 Operation Storm, the number of Skabrnja victims rose to 86. Another six villagers were killed by leftover mines after the war. Two thousand people were forced to leave their homes during the occupation.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Church Leaders Call for Building Coexistence Based on Truth

ZAGREB, Nov 18, 2020 - During Wednesday's religious services on the occasion of Vukovar and Skabrnja Remembrance Day, Cardinal Vinko Puljic and Archbishop Zelimir Puljic called for forgiveness and building coexistence based on truth.

In order to have a cleansed memory and create the right prerequisites for coexistence, it is necessary to have the courage to call everything by its name and look at the facts through cause and effect. Without truth and justice, there is no stable peace and restoring trust, Cardinal Puljic, the Archbishop of Sarajevo, said during Mass in Vukovar.

Hate that causes crimes must not dominate the conversation and one should admit to the crimes for there to be forgiveness, he said, asking all criminals to "become aware of their crimes."

Faith should help to create co-existence, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoring trust, Cardinal Puljic said, adding that peace-building rested on truth. "There can be no reconciliation and trust without an internal catharsis," he said, adding that those who did not want the truth stood behind evil, defending it and thereby supporting the negative atmosphere between people.

"By this, I don't wish to cause bitterness which incites hate, let alone revenge, but clearly says that the right dialogue, which leads to reconciliation, rests on accepting the truth," said Cardinal Puljic.

Celebrating Mass in Skabrnja, Zadar Archbishop Puljic said it was clear that "the people who experienced the horrors of Skabrnja and Vukovar can hardly forget and forgive what happened to them."

Speaking to the press later, he said, "since we went through tough days, it's now necessary to make tough decisions," as taught by Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Franjo Kuharic.

"If we wish to look ahead, if we want a better future, we must turn to the future. All segments of society must work on it so that, in the state which is now free, independent and democratic, rule tolerance, love, forgiveness, joint activity for our better future."

Their sacrifice is not worthy of what often happens, which is polarization and intolerance. They fought for freedom and a better society, and in that spirit, their message is just that, he said.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Daily: Pupovac Says Will Attend Skabrnja Commemoration

ZAGREB, Aug 9, 2020 - Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) president Milorad Pupovac said in Sunday's edition of the Vecernji List daily that he would attend a commemoration for Croatian war victims in Skabrnja to share the pain of the locals.

"For a long time, I've felt the need to share with my cousins and dear people the pain over the killing in Skabrnja. That's where I come from," he was quoted as saying.

In the interview, Pupovac spoke of his view of the August 5 anniversary of the 1995 military Operation Storm and the messages President Zoran Milanovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic sent from there, which were conciliatory and a big step towards the future.

He also spoke of the criticisms from Belgrade and his sharp reply to Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and other politicians in Serbia who called the SDSS "traitors" because Deputy PM Boris Milosevic attended the anniversary.

Pupovac also sharply criticised Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman, saying he was insulting in a comment on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's statements in the wake of the anniversary by claiming that Serbs in Croatia "don't need a mentor from the side."

Monday, 18 November 2019

Croatia Paying Tribute to Vukovar, Škabrnja Victims

ZAGREB, November 18, 2019 - On the eve of Vukovar Memorial Day and the 28th anniversary of the Škabrnja massacre, candles were lit and prayers were said throughout Croatia to commemorate the victims of the 1991-95 Homeland War and the defeat of Vukovar's defence forces on November 18, 1991.

Candles were traditionally lit along Zagreb's Vukovarska Street and numerous citizens gathered in front of a monument to Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman, where Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, too, lit a candle for the Vukovar victims.

The commemoration in front of the monument to Tudjman was also attended by Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić and representatives of associations of the Homeland War defenders and victims.

On the eve of the 28th anniversary of the Vukovar tragedy, a prayer was said outside the Vukovar General Hospital and candles were lit at a monument dedicated to the victims of the 1991 aggression, with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović attending the event.

Participating in the prayer were also Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić-Radman, War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, State Assets Minister Mario Banožić, Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava, Vukovar County head Božo Galić, hospital staff and numerous residents of Vukovar.

They were joined by pilgrims who were arriving in the city to attend the central commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the city's plight in the Homeland War and Vukovar Memorial Day.

Candles were lit for the victims of Vukovar also in Split, Osijek and Varaždin.

On the eve of the 28th anniversary of the Škabrnja massacre, when enemy and Serb rebel forces seized that village in the Zadar hinterland, killing dozens of villagers and defenders and setting houses on fire, local residents lit candles and organised a concert of sacred music to commemorate the victims.

Candles were also lit in a number of Croat communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with several thousand people heading off to Vukovar to attend commemorative events on Monday.

More Vukovar news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Škabrnja School Wins $100.000 Award at UAE Competition

The Zayed Future Energy Prize is awarded by the United Arab Emirates government, also in a category for pupils who create projects based on sustainability and renewable energy.