Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Croatian military action “Flash” when, in just 36 hours, 15,000 Serbs were expelled from Western Slavonia in a planned coup by the Croatian army and 283 were killed.
Against West Slavonian Serbs, with about 15,000 inhabitants and about 4,000 soldiers, went against more than 16,000 members of the Croatian armed forces.
The UN security forces, promptly warned by Croatian generals, have retreated to safe places, leaving their protégés at the mercy of the aggressor, recalls the Veritas Documentation and Information Center.
The people of western Slavonia, remembering Jasenovac from ’41. and Pakračka Poljana from ’91 embarked on an exodus to Srpska. On their way to the “rescue bridge” to the Sava River, they were caught by airplanes, helicopter mallets, cannon shells and sniper bullets.
According to “Veritas”, 283 people were killed and missing in the action, including 114 civilians and 11 police officers.
The victims include 56 women, eight people under 14 and 75 over 60.
At the conclusion of the action, Croats picked up 168 bodies of killed Serbs and buried them mostly under the “unknown” label.
Of the total number of victims so far, the fate of 156 people has been clarified, 127 more are missing, including 56 civilians and 26 women.
Of the 148 exhumed remains from the group tombs, 111 have been identified so far. Even when exhumed but unidentified are identified (37), 90 burial sites remain unknown.
Two villages with a predominantly Serb population suffered the most in the action: Medari with 22 victims, including 11 women and three children, and Paklenica with 20 victims.
According to the Veritas Documentation and Information Center, about 1,450 members of the Serbian Krajina Army were captured, most with the help of UN security forces.
There is no progress in proceedings against Croatian generals
Croatian courts have sentenced a large number of captured Serbs to long prison sentences, which they have served in the infamous Lepoglava prison, and several dozen prisoners have been subjected to years of special torture by the infamous Lora in Split.
Before the national courts of Croatia, Serbia and BiH, several criminal proceedings were initiated against members of the Croatian armed forces for crimes against Serbs in that action, which did not move beyond the pre-criminal phase.
“With all the regrets of all war victims, we have been asking the same questions for 25 years: who and why distinguishes civilian casualties in Zagreb and Okucani and by what criteria do international and national courts evaluate who and when violates the laws and customs governing warfare?”, asks “Veritas.”
In Gradiška, Republic of Srpska, the 25th anniversary of the exodus of Serbs from western Slavonia will be celebrated today.
The anniversary will be celebrated without the presence of citizens due to the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus epidemic and the current ban on the mass gathering.