The crime in the town of Vukovar in 1991 was premeditated, just like in Srebrenica, Croatian President Stjepan Mesić said yesterday. Croatia is marking Nov. 18 as Vukovar Victims Remembrance Day.
Mesić went on to say: “I simply cannot understand how wounded civilians could have been taken out of the hospital and murdered,” adding that one can always do more to fully investigate every crime.
After the a memorial ceremony in the yard of the Vukovar General Hospital, a crowd of some 17,000 headed down the town streets to the Memorial Cemetery of the Victims of the War for Independence.
This year, the day was marked under the motto “Vukovar is yesterday, today and tomorrow,” and among those taking part in the commemoration, apart from President Mesić and a large number of citizens and war veterans, are Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, Parliament Speaker Luka Bebić and numerous government ministers.
Vukovar elementary school students lit lanterns in the morning along the streets through which the crowd passed. The town administration gave Nov. 18 off to people employed in town institutions and companies, and the same recommendation applies to other businesses in the town.
Remembrance Day was established by the Croatian Parliament in memory of Nov. 18, 1991, when former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) units entered the town after three months of fighting.
According to data from the Vukovar hospital, 1,624 “defenders and civilians” were murdered or killed during the battle of Vukovar, while 1,219 people were wounded.