BELGRADE — Today marks the 16th anniversary since the beginning of Croatian army and police Operation Storm that led to the exodus of more than 200,000 Serbs from Croatia.
Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Irinej held a memorial service at St. Mark’s Church in downtown Belgrade for the victims of the 1995 military operation aimed against Serb areas of Croatia.
The memorial service was attended by Serbian President Boris Tadić, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of refugee issues Jovan Krkobabić and by other government officials.
Representatives of more than 100 refugee and home clubs associations of Serbs from Croatia said they will hand the Croatian Embassy in Belgrade an open letter for Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and Deputy Prime Minister from the Serb community Slobodan Uzelac.
The representatives are demanding from Croatia to return all the property that belongs to the Serbs who had to flee Croatia, and also to pay the people the pension arrears and their savings in banks, before the country enters the EU.
On August 4, 1995 the Croat armed forces in cooperation with Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina launched Operation Storm which claimed lives of nearly 2,000 Serbs and sent about 340,000 people to expulsion.
Nearly 2,000 Serbs were reported missing and 220,000 were expelled from the Republic of Serb Krajina during Operation Storm which was shortly followed by Operation Mistral, in which around 655 Serbs were killed and 125,000 driven from their homes in 13 municipalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
According to the data of the NGO Veritas, a total of 1,011 Serbs are still registered as missing, including 660 civilians, 337 of whom are women.