Tuesday, August 13, 2013

More Disinformation from Milorad Pupovac & Co.

As Croatia celebrated the 18th anniversary of its liberation in Operation Storm, the Serbian National Council in Croatia issued a press release through its leader, Milorad Pupovac, in which it declared that to date, "none of the direct perpetrators was held responsible" for murders of Serb civilians committed during and after Operation Storm. Vesna Terselic of the Documenta center and Mladen Stojanovic from the Center for Peace in Osijek made similar claims.

These claims are incorrect. Several people--members of the Croatian Army--have been convicted for murder of Serb civilians after Operation Storm. Here are just a few examples (there are more, but I will not list them all here):

1. Mario Dukic, member of the Croatian Army's 134th Homeguard Regiment, was sentenced to six years' imprisonment on 10 January 1997 for the murder of Petar Bota committed on 28 September 1995;

2. Ivica Petric, member of the Croatian Army's 15th Homeguard Regiment, was convicted on 27 May 1997 for the murder of Djurad ńĆanak in mid-August 1995, and sentenced to six years' imprisonment;

3. Zeljko Sunjerga, member of the 15th Homeguard Regiment, was convicted on 29 November 2002 for the murder of Manda Tisma sometime in the first half of August 1995. He was sentenced to four years and eleven months in prison;

4. Veselko Bilic, member of the 15th Homeguard Regiment, was convicted on 2 December 1996 for the murder of Dara Milosevic in September 1995 and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment.


I have provided only a sample of the criminal prosecutions. There are many other examples. There is no question that many other murders committed after Operation Storm have still gone unpunished, but there are many reasons why this is the case. Milorad Pupovac continues to make gross misstatements of fact in an effort to perpetuate the myth that the Croatian State intentionally refused to prosecute crimes committed after Operation Storm. Even the Trial Chamber that initially convicted Generals Gotovina and Markac rejected this claim (See Gotovina Trial Chamber Judgement, paragraph 2203).

It is time that Mr. Pupovac and others stop distorting the historical record.



3 comments:

  1. Pupovac doesn't just say that "none of the direct perpetrators was held responsible" for murders of Serb civilians during and after Operation Storm. The full sentence (according to my translation) is: "Up to today none of the direct perpetrators or responsible commanders has been held to account for the murder of hundreds of civilians, the burning of numerous villages and towns, for systematic ethnic cleansing and for preventing the return of refugees by violent or administrative means." The key word here is "and". He is not saying that no one has been held to account for the murder of Serb civilians, but that no one has been held to account for this AND the other crimes he lists. Whether he is right to allege that these crimes took place and were not punished is another matter.

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    1. I disagree. I believe the key phrase is "direct perpetrators." By this Pupovac means the person who physically perpetrated the crime(s), not a person who could be held responsible for ordering, instigating or failing to prevent/punish all of the crime(s). Furthermore, I am certain that Pupovac does not think that a person out there exists who "directly perpetrated" all of the crimes he lists. Rather, he claims that none of the "direct perpetrators" of ANY of the crimes listed had been prosecuted, and this is simply wrong.

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    2. Another possibility is that the "hundreds of murders" he refers to are those that no one has been punished for. So although people were punished for some murders, the perpetrators of hundreds of others were not. I think the absence of the article in the Serbo-Croatian language makes this possible, because "None of the perpetrators of the hundreds of murders..." does not mean the same thing as "None of the perpetrators of hundreds of murders..."

      All in all I think there is enough ambiguity in the full sentence as to make it uncertain what Pupovac means exactly. It would be interesting to read his response.

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