SNV commemorates Serb civilian victims killed in 1995 in Varivode and Gosic

NEWS 28.09.202121:21
Dusko Jaramaz/PIXSELL

The Serb National Council (SNV) and Kistanje municipality on Tuesday held a commemoration for 16 elderly Serb civilians killed in the villages of Varivode and Gosic in August and September 1995 after the Croatian military and police liberation Operation Storm.

The SNV noted that the commemoration was attended, among others, by Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs and Human Rights Boris Milosevic, Serb minority MP Anja Simpraga and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s special envoy for missing persons, Veran Matic.

Deputy Prime Minister Milosevic said that an investigation had been launched into the crime in Varivode, however, the truth and justice were never achieved.

“A grave war crime was committed here, more than 50 days after Operation Storm ended, an unprovoked massacre that should never have occurred,” said Milosevic, adding that the residents of Varivode “were not the enemy and were not a military force.”

He recalled that the commemoration was an opportunity to also pay respect to victims of Croat ethnicity, primarily the innocent victims of Skabrnja, some of whom were killed in an incomprehensibly brutal manner.

“Unfortunately, for a large majority of the victims there will not be any justice but it is our duty to say that every war crime must be punished regardless of the ethnicity of the perpetrator. We seek justice for the elderly from Varivode and Gosic so that the crime does not go unpunished by the judiciary and uncondemned by the public,” he said.

MP Simpraga said that it was difficult to find a village in northern Dalmatia and Lika where there had been no killing of civilians in Operation Storm and its aftermath.

Matic said that they gathered in Varivode to be given “answers as to why the crimes committed here and elsewhere have not been punished.”

“The fate of the missing must not divide Serbs and Croats, Croatia and Serbia, instead joint commitment to finding all the missing should be a bridge to establish trust, which is the only way to reconciliation,” said Matic.

The delegation laid wreaths and lit candles in Varivode and then later in the village of Gosic.

Six members of Croatian police forces were suspected of the crimes committed in Gosic and Varivode, however, they were acquitted by Zadar County Court and later at a retrial at Sibenik County Court, which brought the case back to the start, with charges pressed against unidentified persons, members of the Croatian Army.

As the SNV noted, some members of the victims’ families sued the state and were awarded damages for the death of their loved ones.