19 years since Croatia's attack on Serb areas

Thursday marks 19 years since the beginning of Croatia's Operation Flash, when 283 Serbs were killed and at least 15,000 driven out of their homes.

Source: B92
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Among the victims were 57 women and nine children.

This is according to the data of the Documentation-Information Center Veritas. According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee, between 83 and 100 Serb civilians were killed.

Both non-governmental organizations point out that nobody from the ranks of the Croatian army or police has been put on trial for war crimes committed during the operation.

Operation Flash took place on May 1 and 2, 1995, and targeted the area of western Slavonia that was within the Republic of Serb Krajina, that is, UN-protected Sector West. 16,000 members of the Croatian forces entered the sector during the operation.

In 2005 a criminal complaint was filed against then commander of Croatian Army's 3rd Guard Brigade Mladen Kruljac, but he was never indicted, and was later promoted to the rank of general.

The Hague Tribunal's prosecution was preparing for a long time an indictment against former Croatian President Franjo Tuđman, and he in the meanwhile died.

The Coordination of Serb Associations of Families of the Missing, Murdered and Killed Persons from former Yugoslavia asked the competent authorities of Croatia "to prosecute crimes committed against innocent Serb civilians."

A statement pointed out that "official Croatia's celebration of Operation Flash, without condemning the crimes and prosecuting the criminals, is not the way to deal with the past and establish normal relations between Croats and Serbs, which is needed by both."

The association also said that "the families of the missing expressed dissatisfaction with the slow process of exhumations and identifications Serb victims in Croatia."

Only about 1,500 Serbs, mostly elderly, returned to their homes in western Slavonia. A large number of Serb houses and other property was given to Croat refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

More than 160 known graves in western Slavonia have not been exhumed, and the process of identification of the victims is proceeding at a slow pace.

Only two months after Operation Flash, Croatia launched Operation Storm in two Serb-inhabited sectors under UN protection, and according to Veritas, 1,922 people from the former Republic of Serb Krajina were either killed or are listed as missing, 1,192 of them civilians.

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