Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

[LINK] Montenegro On Dubrovnik

Transitions Online has an interesting article on the reaction in Montenegro to compensate Croatia for the bombardment of the historic city of Dubrovnik in 1991. The conclusion seems worth quoting at length.

[D]espite all the ambiguities surrounding the Montenegrin decision to compensate its neighbor, the president of the Montenegrin Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Slobodan Franovic, thinks the move is the first step toward Montenegro’s facing the past. "The question of war, the attack on Dubrovnik, is an essential issue in Montenegro," he said, adding this was "the most humiliating page in Montenegrin history."

Montenegro didn’t just agree to financial compensation but took another important step towards reconciliation when Interior Ministry officials from both countries agreed to bring to justice all those suspected of involvement in war crimes around Dubrovnik.

"The Montenegrin police are ready to fulfill this task a hundred percent," a senior Montenegrin official said. The Croatian daily Vjesnik reported that the Montenegrin authorities are about to start an investigation of 10 suspects.

A likely source of evidence in any war-crimes trial will come from footage by Montenegrin state television, which filmed individual soldiers, with their full names displayed, in front of burning buildings. Soldiers also bragged that they would reach Stradun, the main pedestrian street in Dubrovnik, on the same day. A soldier from Budva, Milovan Orlovic, said into the camera, "[the Croats] have to remember once and for all that they have made a mistake”, referring to their declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.

In a commentary for Radio Free Europe, journalist Drasko Djuranovic said the Montenegrin recognition of war crimes was to be welcomed but that there was also an element of historical injustice in the story.

"Djukanovic and Marovic created the ‘war for peace’ and it seems like they will gain political points by apologizing and paying damages. Or they’ll hide personal guilt behind collective responsibility," but "it’s up to those who started the fire to now take the hot stones of the past into their hands."
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