What Croatia Did with Separatists after Integrating Retaken Territories

Tuesday, 31 October 2023

The experience of Croatia, which managed to defeat separatists and restore its territorial integrity, is often cited as an example for Ukraine.

However, this experience is not undoubtely positive. To integrate formerly occupied territories, the Croatian authorities had to make painful compromises that still impact the country.

Ante Nazor, the director of the Croatian Homeland War Memorial and Documentation Centre (the term used in Croatia to refer to the war for independence from 1991-1995), discussed this with EuroPravda in the article Price of Croatia's Victory: Amnesty for Separatists and Unpunished Crimes.

The primary task of the Center is to collect documents related to the Homeland War in Croatia.

The second task is to analyse these documents from a scientific perspective. Even today, the analysis of these documents allows finding those responsible for the crimes that occurred on the occupied territories.

Some of the criminals have been convicted and are serving sentences in Croatia. However, this only applies to those who remained in the country and fell under the amnesty.

Another part of these criminals is currently in Serbia, which refuses to discuss their extradition.

During the war itself, Serbs and some Croats nostalgic for Yugoslavia tried to tarnish the image of the Croatian leadership. They spread rumours that Vukovar (a city on the border with Serbia, which siege was crucial in the Croatian war for independence) was effectively sold to the Serbs and that the occupied territories were simply handed over by the Croatian authorities, among other similar claims.

During the battle for Vukovar, a lot of disinformation was spread about alleged crimes by Croatian forces against Serbs, especially women and children, in an attempt to portray the Croatian government as criminals and Nazis.

This lie served as a "justification" for the attack and the destruction of Vukovar and Croatia, particularly for the exoneration of crimes committed by Serbian forces during the attack on Vukovar and after its occupation.

Now, with the opportunity to study the documents from that time, it is evident that President Franjo Tuđman and other representatives of the Croatian government were not perfect, but none of them was a traitor or a criminal. They acted based on the situation and did their best to protect the state.

The results speak for themselves: Croatia's ability to withstand at the beginning of the war was seen as a miracle.

Separatist leaders like Milan Martić were convicted by The Hague and are serving sentences.

However, this applies only to the top separatists, as The Hague did not consider even mid-level criminals.

As for lower-level separatists, Croatia used the amnesty, absolving anyone not involved in war crimes or for whom there is no evidence of such crimes. It was a very difficult decision because those who were pardoned obtained full rights, including the possibility to run for the Croatian Parliament and work in government bodies. This is especially relevant in the reclaimed territories, where many of these government representatives reside.

All of this is the price Croatia paid for integration and remains an issue.

Another problem is that the leaders of Croatian Serbs still refuse to acknowledge the act of aggression against Croatia.

Croatia does not have problems with Serbs. The problems only exist with "Greater Serbs," infected with the virus of Serbian imperialism.

Unfortunately, this propaganda proved to be effective and, most importantly, it remains effective even today.

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