Zagreb, May 2, 2023
Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Croatia and Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Serbia jointly remember the civilians killed in western Slavonia and Zagreb. Sincerely believing in reconciliation, we advocate a change in the dominant narrative that puts military feats at the center, while not mentioning the victims.
On the first day of Operation "Flash" conducted by the Croatian armed forces, on May 1, 1995, civilians, including women and children, were killed in the village of Medari, near Nova Gradiška. Among the 22 victims of that crime were eleven women, two girls aged 7 and 8, and an 11-year-old boy. Also, after Operation "Flash", members of the army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina were tortured, after handing over weapons to representatives of the UN peacekeeping forces. That is why the Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Croatia filed a criminal complaint against the perpetrators of war crimes against prisoners of war in 2012.
Shelling of Zagreb
On May 2, 1995, the forces of the Republic of Serbian Krajina began shelling Zagreb and the surrounding towns, killing 7 civilians and wounding 214 of them in attacks on Zagreb's main square and the wider city center.
Milan Martić was sentenced in October 2008 to 35 years in prison for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.
Knowing that mass human rights violations have been committed in the past, we demand from the highest officials of Croatia and Serbia:
- to speed up the search for missing persons and ensure the prosecution of war criminals regardless of nationality or ethnic origin of victims or perpetrators
- to ensure full and continuous judicial cooperation with countries in the region in the prosecution of war crimes
- to adopt a law on civilian war victims in Serbia that would enable and facilitate the exercise of their rights, guaranteed by the constitution and international acts applicable in Serbia, and to ensure the non-discriminatory application of the Law on Civilian Victims of the Homeland War so that all civilian victims of war have access to the realization of status and associated rights
- to proclaim May 2nd in Croatia a memorial day for all civilian victims of war and to enable its commemoration in an appropriate place.