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Savo Strbac, head of Veritas Centre, says that Croatia is annoyed by the Danish documentary “15 Minutes – The Dvor Massacre,” which casts a big blot upon its “holy homeland war and Operation Storm” because one can deduce from the film that the killers of handicapped people could only be the members of the Croatian army.
Strbac, who is named in the closing credits as an advisor, notes that the Danish producers responded to Croatia’s demands to redo the film saying that they would write next to the name of the Serbian General Mile Novakovic, who appears in the work, that at the time of the interview, he was sentenced in Croatia for a war crime, but not for the one in Dvor.
“I haven’t seen if they will change anything else in the closing credits but I wouldn’t be surprised if they deleted my name in order to fulfil Croatia’s demands, because they did partly finance the film as a co-production,” said Strbac.
He does not believe and would never believe that the Danes would change anything in the documentary itself, except for the closing credits, where they express thanks and list all the cast and their roles.
“But that basically doesn’t change anything and everyone who sees the film, as well as those who protest it, will be able to figure out that those people were killed by the Croats alone,” said Strbac.
Strbac believes the documentary will be screened around the world as it has been so far, but that only the audiences in Croatia will not be able to watch it for a long time.
“The Croats demand that the essence of the film be changed, so that the viewer gets a totally opposite impression – that the Croats be depicted as saints, as if they had saved the Serbs from the convoy from the Serbs themselves who murdered them, even some Croats were killed while saving Serbs,” said Strbac.
Strbac agrees with an assessment by the Danish producers, who asked RTS not to air the film, that the situation in Croatia has escalated so much over the film about the crime in Dvor that the lives of the people who were part of the crew are in danger.
“The person most vulnerable is Sasa Kosanovic, a journalist of HRT, a Serb, who was assigned by the TV outlet to be available to the crew, as it is a Danish-Croatian co-production. He helped establish contacts with certain institutions, people on the ground,” said Strbac.
Also under threat is Hrvoje Hribar, head of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, said Strbac, adding that people in Croatia not only want his dismissal, but also demand the heads of the people from Croatia who took part in making the film.
Strbac said that he himself had not been left out from the Croatian press, which asks how come that an advisor on the film may be “one of the biggest haters of the Croats, the biggest forger, a liar?” “You can also read in the Croatian newspapers that it is all Savo Strbac’s propaganda and that everyone has fallen under his influence.”
He noted that the film shows a scene of the murder of handicapped persons in Dvor in front of the Danish Unprofor, who are watching the whole thing from an observation post, and that it is a psychological drama of the Danish commander who ordered his soldiers not to get involved.
“A Danish soldier is screaming, calling out his commander, saying that he covers them /the killers/ ready to kill them, and the commander says – ‘No, no, you mustn’t get involved’,” said Strbac, adding that the Danish commander in the film talks with all the participants and 20 years later ponders whether he did the right thing, trying to figure out if he would change anything.
Strbac assessed that the handicapped persons were killed by hatred, since gain is out of the question as those people had nothing but crutches and wheelchairs, no property at all.
Strbac recalls that Croatian officer Matija Cipric, whose unit is presumed to have killed the handicapped, said that he had been a big Catholic believer and that the foundations of his faith had not been to kill the infirm, and that such actions had been typical for Orthodox believers, and that Cipric had been called Ustasha since he was a child.
Strbac notes that back in August, when the film was shown on RTS for the first time after it premiered at Sarajevo Film Festival, Ivica Pandza Orkan filed criminal reports against the State of Croatia and people who made the film.
Strbac said that the whole thing was met with powerful response only then, as the government in Croatia was joined by the darkest hard-right forces whose certain ministers are openly pro-fascists.