Nenad Stevandić, the head of the United Srpska, said that the Croatian military-police operation “Storm” is an embarrassment and a crime with the aim to destroy Serbs by any means necessary. He added that it is a warning for the future to the Serbian people, as well as an obligation to keep telling the entire Western world that it is also an embarrassment for the West.

Stevandić stressed that August 4 is the day of the greatest Serbian sorrow and piety for the largest-scale ethnic cleansing and pogrom after the Second World War, which was aimed against Serbs, without sparing children in the refugee column nor persons in assisted living facilities.

“But, in spite of what others may think of this crime, we must persevere in the culture of remembrance that we will impart on our future generations,” said Stevandić on the occasion of the day of remembrance of the killed and exiled Serbs in the military-police operation “Storm”.

The operation “Storm” commenced on August 4, 1995, with an offensive by the Croatian army, police and units of the Croatian Defense Council in the regions of Banija, Lika, Kordun and north Dalmatia.

A day later, on August 5, the Croatian army entered a nearly abandoned Knin and raised the Croatian flag, while columns of refugees headed towards Serbia across the Serbian territories in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to data from the Veritas, over 220,000 Krajina Serbs were exiled from their homed during the Croatian military-police operation “Storm”, while the logs list the names of 1,869 Serbs who were killed or went missing, including 1,220 civilians.

In a 2015 ruling, the International Court of Justice recognized the operation “Storm” as an ethnic cleansing, but not as a genocide, although international experts for the area claim that “Storm” met all the criteria for a genocide.

The paradox of the action which “ravaged, looted and destroyed” Krajina lies in the fact that the “aggressor” was a member of the United Nations, while Krajina was an area under the protection of the very same organization, and that, as it was pointed out, several other members of that organization approved and participated in the aggression itself, said the Veritas center for information and documentation.

They reminded that the “Storm” is the only operation and event with Serbs as victims that was tried before the Hague Tribunal, and where the Croatian army generals Mladen Markač and Ante Gotovina were convicted in first-instance proceedings, and later acquitted, even though, they added, the judicial panel did not deny the crimes established in the first-instance verdict.

They also reminded that only one person has been convicted for “Storm” in Croatia.

The International Court of Justice, Veritas pointed out, in the justification for their February 2015 ruling qualified the operation “Storm” as an “ethnic cleansing” action, with a note — “Croatians wanted the Serbian territory without the Serbs, expecting them to leave by themselves, instead of being “fully or partially destroyed”.

“And instead of Croatia, even without an order from the International Court of Justice, renouncing the celebration of an ethnic cleansing action and mass crimes as a double national holiday — the Day of Victory and Homeland Gratitude and the Day of Croatian Veterans, year after year the celebration turns into a glorification of the Ustasha and outpourings of hate towards Serbs. The promises about protecting the national rights of minorities that the Croatian officials made six years ago at the Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb on the day when Croatia joined the European Union have turned into the exact opposite — the Serbian community has become even smaller, with less rights and more attacks,” concluded the Veritas announcement.

Per the 1991 Census, there had been 582,000 Serbs and 106,000 Yugoslavians in Croatia, that is, around 650,000 Serbs; whereas in 2001 there were only 184,000 Serbs in Croatia.

August 5 is celebrated as the “Day of Victory and Homeland Gratitude” in Croatia, while in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, August 4, the day when the “Storm” began, is commemorated as a day of mourning.