Persecution of Croats in Serbia during the Croatian War of Independence

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Persecution of Croats in Serbia during the Croatian War of Independence is located in Serbia
Hrtkovci
Hrtkovci
Nikinci
Nikinci
Ruma
Ruma
Slankamen
Slankamen
Šid
Šid
Affected places on the map of Serbia

Following the beginning of the Yugoslav wars, members of Serbian Radical Party and Serbian Chetnik Movement have been suspected to have conducted a campaign of intimidation of Croats of Serbia in Vojvodina, Serbia, through hate speech and threats by various parties including the ICTY.[1][2] These acts forced a part of the local Croat population to leave the area in 1992. Most of them were resettled in Croatia. [1][2][3][4] The affected locations included Hrtkovci, Nikinci, Novi Slankamen, Ruma, Šid, and other places bordering Croatia.[1] According to some estimates, around 10,000 Croats left Vojvodina in 1992.[5]

Description[edit]

In 1991, Hrtkovci was an ethnically mixed village with Croatian plurality (40.24%), located roughly 40 miles west of Belgrade. Vojislav Šešelj, the leader of the Serbian Radical Party, made numerous public threats to Croats in 1992.[6][7] Radicals replaced all Latin signs with Cyrillic ones and even renamed Hrtkovci to "Srbislavci" - 'place of Serbs' - though only for a short amount of time.[2] Šešelj personally visited Hrtkovci in May 1992 and gave an inflammatory speech by publicly reading out a list of 17 Croat "traitors" who must leave the village.[2][8] Incoming Serb refugees labeled Croats as "fascists".[3]

Following the threats, one part of local Croats rushed to Croatia to see the houses which were offered to them in the planned population transfer.[3] One Croat was even murdered by the radicals.[9] Šešelj's party even crafted a slogan for their campaign: "All Croats out of Hrtkovci".[10] In 1991, Hrtkovci had 2,684 residents, 40.24% were Croats, 20.49% Serbs, 19.19% Hungarians, and 16.58% Yugoslavs.[3] By the end of 1992, 75% of its residents were Serbs.[3]

The number of Croats who left from the village of Hrtkovci was 722.[11] Their empty homes were settled by Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia. Likewise, some Serbs tried to protect their Croatian neighbors.[12] After the events, Yugoslav authorities arrested five radicals who were responsible for harassment of Croats. [2]

Legal proceedings[edit]

Vojislav Šešelj was accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for the expulsion, however he has never been proven guilty over the 11 years that the ICTY trial has taken place.[11] In its indictment, the ICTY gave a list of 722 people who left Hrtkovci.

In May 1992, Vojislav Šešelj came to Vojvodina and met with his

associates in the SRS. Vojislav Šešelj instructed his associates to contact non-Serbs and threaten them with death if they did not leave the area. On 6 May 1992 Vojislav Šešelj gave an inflammatory speech in the village of Hrtkovci, Vojvodina, calling for the expulsion of Croats from the area and reading a list of individual Croat residents who should leave for Croatia. As a result of this speech, a number of Croat residents decided to leave Hrtkovci. After this speech, supporters and associates of the accused, including members of the SRS and the SČP ("Srpski Četnički Pokret"/"Serbian Chetnik Movement"), began a campaign of ethnic cleansing directed at non-Serbs, particularly Croats, in Hrtkovci. During the next three months, many non-Serbs were harassed, threatened with death and intimidated, forcing them to leave the area. Homes of Croats were looted and occupied by Serbs. Serb families who had been displaced from other parts of the former Yugoslavia often occupied the homes of those non-Serbs who had been compelled to leave.

— The ICTY, in its indictment against Vojislav Šešelj[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "The Prosecutor against Vojislav Seselj - Third Amended Indictment" (PDF). ICTY. December 2007. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Marcus Tanner (August 1992). "'Cleansing' row prompts crisis in Vojvodina". The Independent. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Chuck Sudetic (July 26, 1992). "Serbs Force An Exodus From Plain". New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Podsećanje na slučaj Hrtkovci". B92. May 4, 2005. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  5. ^ Naegele, Jolyon (February 21, 2003). "Serbia: Witnesses Recall Ethnic Cleansing As Seselj Prepares For Hague Surrender". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Slučaj Šešelj - Vojislav Šešelj - Izjave" (in Serbian). Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  7. ^ "Warning that couldn't be ignored". Sense Agency. 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Drastic Changes in Ethnic Composition of Population". Sense Agency. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Roger Cohen (August 31, 1992). "A Farm Village in Serbia Distills War Into Hatred". New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  10. ^ Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, established pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 780 (1992), Annex III.A — M. Cherif Bassiouni; S/1994/674/Add.2 (Vol. IV), 27 May 1994, Special Forces, (p. 1091). Accessdate January 20, 2011
  11. ^ a b "The charges against Vojislav Seselj". BBC News. 2003-02-24. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Kandić: Šešelja za Hrtkovce optužuju i Srbi". Vesti online. May 6, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 

External links[edit]