Serb victims of Croatian attack remembered in Belgrade
An Orthodox requiem service at St. Marko's Church in Belgrade on Tuesday marked 23 years since the suffering of Serbs in Western Slavonija in Croatia.Source: Beta
According to the Veritas Center, on May 1 and 2, 1995 283 people, including 114 civilians and 11 militiamen were killed or disappeared, while 133 others remain listed as missing, including 59 civilians and 27 women.
More than 16,000 members of the Croatian armed forces moved against Serbs in the area in an operation dubbed Bljesak ("Flash"). Serbs in the area numbered 15,000 inhabitants and about 4,000 soldiers. UN forces protecting the area had withdrawn.
Out of 148 exhumed bodies of the victims, 107 have been identified so far. Among the victims are 56 women, 11 persons up to 18 years of age, and 75 persons over 60.
A few days later, Croatia captured the entire area, while tens of thousands of Serbs fled to Serbia and the Serb Republic.
The coordination of Serb associations of families of the missing and murdered persons in the territory of the former Yugoslavia sent earlier today a request to the competent authorities of Croatia to bring to justice the organizers and perpetrators of war crimes against innocent Serb civilians in Western Slavonija.
"Instead of Croatian officials celebrating the 'Bljesak' operation every year for over twenty years, it would be civilized, humane and human for Croatian officials to condemn the crimes committed in the said operation, offer a public apology to the families of victims, and bring the perpetrators to justice," they said.
As stated, without this and without clearly facing the past, "it will not be possible to establish normal inter-ethnic relations between Croatian and Serbian people, which both are in dire need of."