Croatia on Friday protested to Serbian authorities over a monument commemorating a Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) general who led the attack on Vukovar in 1991 and called on Belgrade to stop glorifying war crimes.
The memorial plaque to Mladen Bratic, commander of JNA and Serbian paramiltiary forces during the attack on Vukovar, was unveiled in a Serbian army complex in the northern city of Novi Sad on Friday.
Bratic was killed on 2 November 1991 at Borovo Naselje, a suburb of the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar which was occupied by Serbian forces on 18 November after killing over 2,000 people there.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that the Croatian authorities were blowing the whole thing out of proportion, adding that a number of streets across Croatia have been named for Mile Budak ideologist of the pro-Nazi WW2 Ustashi. “Bratic was not declared a war criminal. The Serbian military is putting up a memorial plaque in a room inside one of its barracks, no trace of a monument. Croatia has raised this to the level of World War 3, as if they were the only victims,” he told the pro-government TV Pink.
In a diplomatic note presented to the Serbian Embassy in Zagreb, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs condemned this act and called on Serbian authorities to stop playing down and glorifying war crimes.
"Serbia is once again called upon to focus on the process of facing its own past and its role in the war it initiated in the 1990s," the Croatian ministry said. Such decisions and moves by Serbian authorities go against Croatia's efforts to build good neighbourly relations, it added.
Unveiling a memorial plaque to a war criminal, the Yugoslav People's Army general who ordered the attack on Vukovar, is scandalous and Croatia condemns it in the strongest terms, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said in Rijeka on Friday.