The non-governmental organisation Documenta on Wednesday appealed to the government and the president to find a way after Victory Day on August 5 to commemorate the civilian casualties of 1995's Operation Storm as well.

The organisation said that based on its research the number of civilian casualties was below the 677 reported by the Croatian Helsinki Committee on Human Rights (HHO).

"That number is exaggerated and will be lower. We do not yet have the final results of the research we are conducting, but initial indicators show that it is lower than the HHO's 677," Documenta's Slaven Raskovic told a press conference.

Raskovic said that the errors established related to the duplication of names or naming of people who were not killed at the time. He said that the objective was to compile a list of casualties, regardless of their ethnic or religious background, and give the circumstances of their death.

"It is important from the point of view of civilisation to see how we can at the same time speak about the victory and about recognising the suffering of the victims," Documenta coordinator Vesna Terselic said. "It cannot be possible that we cannot designate one day after August 5 to commemorate civilian casualties, when the highest representatives of the Croatian government and the president of the republic would come after Victory Day to pay their respects to the victims," she added.

Speaking of the prosecution of war crimes committed during and in the wake of Operation Storm in August 1995, Terselic said that there had been five such trials, two of which ended with a final verdict, two were ongoing and one was suspended. She warned of the slowness of the justice system, saying that the State Attorney's Office did not have sufficient capacity and that at the present rate war crimes would not be prosecuted for another 100 years.

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