– Memorial service was held on Sunday at the Church of St. Marco in Belgrade for the Serbs killed in the period 1991-1997 in Grubisno Polje and East Bilogora.
After the memorial service, families of the victims laid wreaths at the monument for Serb victims killed in 1991-2000 wars on the territory of former Yugoslavia.
President of Bilogora Homeland Association Milan Bastasic said that the residents of Bilogora were the first victim of the ethnic cleansing carried out by Croatian paramilitary forces in Operation “Swath” in November 1991.
He recalled that 4,000 Serbs were expelled then, while 40 civilians, women, children and elderly, were killed, as well as 24 Serb soldiers, adding that 17 civilians were killed in the area of Bilogora on August 16, even before the beginning of this operation.
As he said, Croatian paramilitary formations, with UNPROFOR’s knowledge and approval, were kept close to Pakrac even after the criminal operation “Swath”, for three and a half years, until the next blood-shedding enterprises “Flash” and “Storm”.
Director of Documentation-Information Centre “Veritas” Savo Strbac has said that the Serb victims must not be forgotten, and he hopes that the International Court of Justice in the Hague, which has announced making the ruling concerning the mutual charges between Croatia and Serbia by February next year, will make a just decision.
“By February we will know the decision by the Court, but we all know who the greatest victims are, whatever the ruling may be,” Strbac emphasized.
He noted that the rule of not prosecuting anybody for the crimes committed against Serbs has been partially abandoned in the case of the suffering of Bilogora residents, since one Croat has been convicted for the crimes committed against the Serbs.
The War Crimes Council in Belgrade has sentenced member of Croatian National Guard Veljko Maric to 12 years in prison for war crime committed against civilians because he shot old man Petar Slijepcevic dead on October 31, 1991 in the village of Rastovac, municipality of Grubisno Polje.
In the meantime, the investigation against Maric has been extended on suspicion that he tortured and hurt the prisoners of Serb nationality in September 1991 on the premises of Secondary Education Centre in Grubisno Polje, which was used as a detention facility by members of Croatian National Guard.
He is also charged with the murder of Mico Vasiljevic whose stomach he had cut with knife, and with the murder of Vladimir Kucera, as well as with torture of Zvjezdan Macak.
Memorial service at the Church of St. Marco was organized by the Bilogora Homeland Association and the Documentation-Information Centre “Veritas”.
Nobody has been yet prosecuted before the Hague Tribunal, or before Croatian courts, for the crimes committed against the Serbs in east Bilogora.
Until the Second World War, 18,000 Serbs lived in the area of east Bilogora, and, after the Ustashas’ crimes during the Second World War and those committed during the last war, less than 1,000 Serbs remained there for the census in April 2011