Matic becomes presidential envoy for missing in Croatia

President Aleksandar Vucic appointed on Friday Veran Matic as his special envoy for resolving the issue of missing persons with Croatia.

Source: B92
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(Photo by Nebojsa Babic, file)
(Photo by Nebojsa Babic, file)

Veran Matic was actively engaged in the anti-war activities during the nineties. He took part in humanitarian campaigns including the mass campaign of helping the victims of Operation Storm back in 1995, when we gathered aid and then distributed it with the assistance of Belgrade cab drivers, all the way to Banja Luka...

Matic organized several international conferences regarding the issue of facing with the past and experiences of other countries, the potentials of adjusting the solutions to the post conflict period in the region, and produced some twenty documentaries dealing with the issue of facing with the past, including TV programs "Truth, Responsibility and Reconciliation," another dealing with the detention center Camp Begejci, entitled "Heads up, hands on the back," as well as "Paulin’s Palace," "Dossier Osijek," "Lora," "Memento 26"...

Thanks to a documentary entitled "Sjeverin," a crime committed against 16 Muslims was resolved, while the perpetrators got arrested and convicted.

The documentary "Vukovar – Final Cut" was received in the same emotional and emphatic manner both in Zagreb and in Belgrade.

As the special envoy, Matic will cooperate with the special adviser to the Croatian president for issues of missing persons, Osijek Mayor Ivica Vrkic.

During a recent meeting with Vrkic, Vucic said that resolving the issue of missing persons was the most important civilizational and humanitarian issue for Serbs and Croats, and that the state organs of Serbia will do everything to find the missing and shed light on their fate.

The Declaration on Improving Relations and Solving Open Issues between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Croatia, signed on June 20, 2016 by President Aleksandar Vucic, then Serbia's prime minister, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, states that both states agree that the search for the missing persons is a priority humanitarian issue, and pledged to make sincere and maximum efforts in finding missing persons, a press release from the president's office said on Friday.

"I am honored to be able to contribute to resolving such important issues for the families of the missing and establishing the conditions for the normalization of relations between Serbia and Croatia," Matic said in his reaction to the appointment, and added:

"Families whose loved ones disappeared nearly thirty years must receive information about their fate, regardless of which nation they belong to and which role they played during the war. The issue of the missing is primarily a humanitarian and civilizational issue, which is also important for dealing with the past, as well as for the democratization of society, the rule of law and European integration."

"I am pleased to be working on this important task with Ivica Vrkic, who was appointed to the same position by the President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic. We will try to depoliticize the process of searching for the missing persons, to help the intensity of the activities of all parties to be the greatest possible, in continuity, and regardless of the daily political relations. Our goal is to contribute to a more efficient application of all agreements and protocols that have been signed, to help the cooperation between the institutions dealing with the issue of the missing to be more effective both in Serbia and Croatia, as well as to improve the capacities of the institutions in whose jurisdiction is the search for the missing," he said.

"In addition to relying on communication with citizens who could have useful information about the fate of the missing, associations that have the best documentation, non-governmental organizations that specialize in dealing with the past, we will also try to open archives important for the entire process, identify the fate of the missing and the places of their suffering. We do not see the engagement of the envoys as a substitute for institutions, but as a complement to their previous efforts and activities, with the good will to establish the necessary bridges within the institutions of our two countries, the non-governmental sector and associations of the missing persons within Serbia and Croatia. This is not professional engagement and we will do it without receiving any compensation, or privileges. I expect all parties to approach the problem of the missing with the same convictions, without any kind of conditioning," said Matic.

Matic immediately invited all those who have any relevant information to contact him at veran.matic@b92.net

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