A memorial service for residents of western Slavonia and the Bilogora region killed, gone missing or exiled in the period from August 1991 to late January 1992, was held at the Serb Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in Pakrac, some 120 kilometres east of Zagreb, on Saturday.
The event was organised by the Serb National Council (SNV) and its representative Antea Lalic said that during the said period several hundred civilians had been killed in western Slavonia and Bilogora, including Grubisno Polje, and that around 50,000 Serbs had been forced to leave their homes, yet nobody had answered for that.
"The several hundred Serb victims are mostly missing people, victims of war crimes whose bodies have still not been found or exhumed. The location of some of them is known, but exhumations and identifications are yet to be carried out, while the search for others is under way, however, the process is too slow. But they are all mourned for," said Lalic.
She added that those facts, as well as the expulsion of 50,000 people, "are somehow little visible."
"All that has become invisible both in the country and in the Serb community. Some Serbs had returned to Pakrac, but after a few years they opted again to emigrate and to leave, I would say, for good."
The first memorial service of this kind was held in Vocin in 2013. It caused a number of negative reactions despite the fact that the SNV has been clear about the need to sympathise with and remember Croats killed at the time when the area was controlled by Serb forces, said Lalic.
Last year a memorial service for the Serb victims was held in Daruvar and this year in Pakrac. There is a plan to continue holding memorial services at different places of suffering, without political speeches.
The commemoration at Pakrac was also attended by members of Serb ethnic minority councils from Slavonian counties, representatives of the association "Against Oblivion", the Christian Orthodox faithful, the Serbian consul in Vukovar, Zivorad Simic, and member of Parliament Mile Horvat of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS).