Croatia Defended Itself, Says Bishops' Conference

Prelates Want to Set the Postwar Record Straight

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ZAGREB, Croatia, OCT. 27, 2002 ( Croatia was the victim of aggression in the conflict with Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, say Croatian bishops, who hope to squash any postwar misunderstandings.

After their plenary assembly in Krk last week, the bishops issued a statement in which they reflect on the postwar period.

«With all due gratitude to international institutions for all they have done to stop the war and re-establish peace, we are concerned about some proceedings that do not satisfy legitimate expectations that the objective truth on the war and the sufferings of our homeland will come to light in the postwar period,» the bishops’ conference said.

«The individual who defends himself is subjectively and objectively in a different position with respect to the aggressor,» the bishops added. «If this aspect is forgotten by international and national tribunals, or if it is not duly taken into consideration, it gives the impression that the victim and the aggressor are put on the same level.»

«This is unacceptable because, among other things, it causes mistrust vis-à-vis the government and international institutions,» they stressed. «It must not be forgotten that every tribunal also has a pedagogic objective: to discourage the intentions of those who cause evil and to stimulate good intentions.»

«An unjust attitude before this problem sows a sense of impotence and mistrust,» the bishops said.

Croatia’s war of independence from Yugoslavia began in 1991. The peace agreement between Croatia and Serbia was signed in 1994.

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