Bosnian Croat Veterans’ March Alarms Bosniak War Victims

Representatives of former wartime prisoners in the southern town of Stolac said that the anniversary march on Thursday organised by Bosnia and Herzegovina's main Croat party, the Croatian Democratic Union, sent a "dangerous message".

Bosnian Croat war veterans, wearing black shirts with emblems of the unrecognised 1990s Croat-led wartime statelet of Herzeg-Bosnia, marched to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the founding of the Ludvig Pavlovic special unit of the Croatian Defence Council.

Stolac was among several towns in the Herzegovina region of the country where Bosniaks were detained and expelled in 1993 by Croatian Defence Council forces.

"We consider this event a rough demonstration of force and a dangerous message to [post-war] returnees, including former prison camp detainees from Herzeg-Bosnia camps, under whose name we were arrested, detained and tortured in 1993, and many, unfortunately, were killed," the Association of Camp Detainees of Stolac said in a statement.

The Ludvig Pavlovic special unit was established on June 6, 1992, and was named after a commander who died in 1991 who was known as one of the Bugojno Group - an armed Croat nationalist cell that tried to organise an uprising in Yugoslavia in 1972 to re-establish the WWII-era fascist-allied Independent State of Croatia, the NDH.

Dragan Covic, the head of the Croatian Democratic Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the HDZBiH, was present at Thursday's event, alongside local officials from Stolac.

The HDZBiH did not respond to BIRN's request for comment by the time of publication.

Covic has attended similar events in the past, while he was serving as the Croat member of the country's tripartite presidency, and is known for his advocacy of greater Bosnian...

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