Croat President Ivo Josipović attended the unveiling of a memorial for nine elderly Serb men killed in late September 1995 in the village of Varivode near Knin. Their murder happened almost two months after the military Operation Storm against these Serb areas of Croatia.
These nine men were killed at a time when there was no war and they were innocent victims of retaliation, Josipović said addressing the crowd of several hundred people after laying flowers at the monument.
“Retaliation, robbery and crime are impermissible, and the blood and shame cannot be washed away,” the Croatian president said.
The monument, commissioned by the Serb National Council and the municipality of Kistanje, was unveiled in the presence of Croatian Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuks, Serb MPs in the Croatian parliament, officials from the Serbian Embassy in Croatia and local authorities.
President of the Serb National Council Milorad Pupovac thanked non-governmental organizations for not allowing crimes to be forgotten.
“In war, crimes cannot be avoided, and it is a tragedy when they occur. But when defense of human rights turns into a crime, it is a disgrace,” Pupovac said.
After the commemoration, President Josipović and Pupovac headed for the Orthodox monastery Krka to meet with Bishop Fotije.
They are expected to discuss the development of religious freedom in Croatia and the restitution of cultural heritage.