By: Armin Aljovic
The commemoration for Praljak was inter alia attended by the defenders of Croatia and the Croatian Defense Minister. Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic did not attend. It could be said that, by not appearing at the gathering, the president and the prime minister tried to deceive the International community, but also the local public. Ministers should not be able to attend the commemoration for the convicted war criminal without previous consultation with the government. Or, at least, the government could have revealed their stance on this issue as to possible consequences of the ministers’ arbitrary decision.
Should one believe that the Croatian generals are alienated centers of power? If they are, the European Union is sitting on a time bomb.
The Croatian generals at the commemoration in Zagreb’s Vatroslav Lisinski hall could be seen as the existence of two systems in Croatia, the public one and the secret one. The latter is there as the means for the government to carry out certain jobs.
Some facts about reserve officers of the Croatian Army have surfaced these past days. From generals, over brigadiers and officers (colonels) to lieutenants, the highest political ranks have been made official, not only from HDZ but also the members of some opposition parties. As the list also contains some officials who passed away long time ago, this is, obviously, about the honor in form of military rank. Should this prove correct a statement, Republic of Croatia may seem as some military junta. For example, reserve general is Vladimir Seks, brigadier is Vladimir Cacic, and reserve colonel is Ivo Sanader, while some former ambassadors of Croatia in BiH are in the rank of officers. Therefore, wherever politicians are bearers of military ranks, generals have real political power.
Serbia was in a similar situation before arresting of Ratko Mladic. Its highest political rank formally signed an agreement with The Hague court about extradition of war criminals, while simultaneously, via military and intelligence structures, it financed hiding of Ratko Mladic, keeping his locations as top secret. Two soldiers in the Topcider garrison who saw Ratko Mladic, were killed.
Rosa Jakovljevic, the mother of Dragan Jakovljevic, the soldier who tragically lost his life along with his comrade Drazen Milovanovic in the garrison ‘Topcider’ on 5 October 2004, said that her son was killed because he saw what he was not supposed to see.
After Dragan, some 9 soldiers were also killed because of Ratko Mladic. Dragan and Drazen were standing guard in the garrison Karas. The officers switched off the cameras. Previously, the two of them were in detention for 3 days because they saw Mladic when he was being taken out. They saw something they were not supposed to see. Both Tito and Milosevic were in hiding there at some point. Our lawyer requested the place to be opened, Jakovljevic said, Danas published.
As in Croatia, some criminal generals are – heroes in Serbia too.
Serbia’s Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin positioned General Vladimir Lazarevic as a lecturer at the Military Academy in Belgrade. He was the commander of the Pristina Corps who was convicted by The Hague Tribunal for persecution of over 700,000 Albanians from Kosovo.
Although Plenkovic and Grabar-Kitarovic seemed to have distanced themselves from Praljak’s commemoration, the Croatian president confirmed her decision not to take away military decorations from Praljak. Vucic’s Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin openly supports elevation of the convicted criminal general Lazarevic to the position of lecturer at the Military Academy, referring to negative reactions from the outside as ‘double standards’.
This unbreakable bond between the politics and generals' and officers' uniforms in Croatia and Serbia reveals that BiH is destined to live between two states which act like military juntas.
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