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We marked the 31st anniversary of the war crime in Ahmići

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Zagreb, 18th of April 2024

On Monday, 15th of April 2024, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Croatia held a symbolic event renaming Franjo Tuđman Square to Victims of Ahmići Square with the support and participation of young people from the Initiative's Activist Network.


With this action, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Croatia reminded the public of the judicially established responsibility that the Croatian political and military leadership led by Franjo Tuđman, Gojko Šuško and Janko Bobetko had in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the most shameful proofs of this is the war crime committed in the Bosnian town of Ahmići on April 16th, 1993, when the Croatian Defence Council’s (HVO) units killed 116 Bosniak civilians and practically razed the village to the ground.


With this action, we demanded a symbolic act of naming a public area in Zagreb after the Ahmići victims. This action was inspired by the initiative put forward by five civil society organizations - the Center for Civic Courage, Documenta - the Center for Dealing with the Past, the Women's Network of Croatia, the Center for Women Victims of War - ROSA and the Association for Social Research and Communication (UDIK) from Sarajevo, which have already submitted a request to the local authorities.


Aside from the renaming campaign, the Initiative put up 3 billboards in Zagreb as reminders of the crime in Ahmići and the role of the Croatian leadership in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the aim of increasing the visibility of that event in the public space. The first billboard was destroyed in less than 24 hours after it was put up. Moreover, on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the crime, the Initiative put up a billboard on the main road between Vitez and Ahmići in Bosnia and Herzegovina which read "We apologize on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Croatia". The billboard was welcomed by the Association of Citizens Victims of the War '92-95' "16. APRIL" Ahmići.


After the news about the billboard spred in the media, political pressure was exerted on the owner of the advertising panels to remove our billboard, and as a temporary measure, the message of apology was covered up - in the same way as the shameful truth about the role of the Republic of Croatia in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been ignored and covered up for decades. The Initiative will not give up until that changes.


The destruction of the first billboard in Zagreb and the pressure on the owner of the advertising panel represent clear attempts to silence and erase topics from the public space that problematize and remind of the Croatian Defense Council’s (HVO) crimes and the judicially established role of the Croatian leadership in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


With this campaign, the Initiative warns all members of society that we should not and must not accept to live in a society where war criminals convicted of war crimes  are glorified, invited to public (political) events and lectures, and their scandalous statements that "they would do it all over again" are not condemned.


The Initiative points out that it has been commemorating the anniversary of the war crime in Ahmići and other places in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a long time. In order to emphasize the importance of inclusive memorialization of all victims of war regardless of their nationality, last year the Initiative along with young people from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina visited Ahmići, but also Trusina, where the Army of RBiH killed 20 civilians and HVO members on the same day (April 16, 1993).


A prerequisite for a path to a healthier future unencumbered by the past is inclusive memorialisation of all civilian victims of the 1990s wars regardless of their nationality, and a brave confrontation with the crimes committed by our respective countries.



Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them. 

Program Impact4Values is co-funded by the Office for Cooperation with NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.



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