The arrest of ten former members of HVO (Croatian forces during the 1990s war) in Orašje came just two days after the visit of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to Bosnia and Hrzegovina (BiH), after he sent a message about the need for changes to the BiH electoral law so that Croatian representatives would be elected by Croats, and one day after an the interview in which the Chairman of BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegović said that “the vulnerability of Croats in BiH is just a mantra”, reports N1 on November 2, 2016.
This morning, a regular meeting of the main members of the government will take place. Although the main topic of the meeting should be tax reform, it is expected that they will address the arrests in Orašje as well. It is believed that Croatian position could be that any crimes possibly committed by HVO were individual and not part of an organized effort. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Justice Minister Ante Šprlje have not yet commented on the issue. The government is expected to have a coordinated position on this issue, and there is a possibility that a meeting of the National Security Council will be held.
Former Justice Minister Vesna Škare Ožbolt said that Croatia could not stop or prevent this process. “We react only when something happens. We do not have prepared documents or an institution which would study documents. Politicians can only declaratively say their position, but Croatia should monitoring the process and react if some falsified documents appear”, said Škare Ožbolt.
In the meantime, in Orašje and surrounding area, local Croats are shocked by the arrest of the entire leadership of the former 106th HVO Brigade, headed by General Đuro Matuzović and his deputy Ivo Oršolić.
On Tuesday, BiH Minister of Foreign Affairs of Igor Crnadak said that Bosnia and Herzegovina wanted to have best possible relations with Croatia, but added that “those who committed war crimes should be held responsible”.
“Of course I expected the arrests”, said on Wednesday morning Member of Parliament Stevo Culej (HDZ). “Such policy has been led since Zoran Milanović’s government which allowed people to search our archives. Everything which is directed against Croatian soldiers can be prosecuted and information can be distributed at the expense of our veterans, and especially their commanders. The Hague Tribunal would never have any indictments if they had not received a green light from our government and then President Mesić.”/IBNA