Croatia wasn't aggressor in Bosnia, says retired general

Croatia only protected its national interests during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and its goal was neither military aggression nor annexation of its territory, retired general Pavao Miljavac said on Thursday.

"We were only protecting our national interests, creating the basis for operations in Croatia, and aggression or annexation of that territory to the Republic of Croatia, which is often imputed to us, was not our goal," Miljavac told reporters after he, at the head of a retired generals delegation, talked with Foreign Minister Miro Kovac about the situation in BiH and the indictments being issued there against Croatian war veterans and generals.

Miljavac was one of the commanders of 1995's Operation Storm, which liberated then occupied parts of Croatia. A large part of Bosnian territory was liberated thanks to him too.

He said over 900 indictments had been filed not only against Bosnian senior officers and generals but from Croatia too, including himself, and that it was very important how the situation would develop, as Croatia was again being accused of a joint criminal enterprise.

"What's worrying is the qualification of those indictments," Miljavac said, adding that their preambles mention a joint criminal enterprise backed by Croatia and, some of them state, even by former Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Defence Minister Gojko Susak. "That's completely unacceptable."

Miljavac said a current trial against six Bosnian Croats at the Hague war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia could be very dangerous for Croatia as it "practically annuls" the fact that it "saved BiH three times" and had often sent convoys with arms and equipment.

Kovac said Croatia's Foreign Ministry was working on the matter with the State Prosecutor's Office. He said "consultations are under way" to solve the problem and stop Bosnian judicial authorities from prosecuting Croatian veterans.

Kovac said he expected Croatia's new government, as soon as it was formed, to meet with the Bosnian government so that ministers could deal with outstanding issues in direct contact. Such a meeting was planned for the first half of this year but was called off because the Croatian government fell in June.

Last update: Thu, 15/09/2016 - 15:02

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