Every crime must be prosecuted and that is a government priority, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said in Skabrnja on Wednesday at a commemoration for Vukovar and Skabrnja Remembrance Day.
He attended as the prime minister's envoy and recalled that this was declared a non-working day at the government's initiative so as to "commemorate all the victims and show special respect for Vukovar, the heroic city which suffered the most in the Homeland War."
Grlic Radman said every crime must be prosecuted and that this government encountered a heavy legacy on that front, but that it was working on it and that "the truth must continue to be established."
He said the 1,869 war missing were being traced and that "no one can avoid the hand of justice."
"This government, the justice ministry and all institutions will work on that. No one is indifferent and we wish to heal all the wounds in our beautiful country," he said, adding that the Homeland War had been a defense and just war.
He concluded by saying that "good wins after all" because Croatia is a free, sovereign, internationally recognised state.
Police estimated that about 2,500 people took part in the remembrance procession in Skabrnja, including members of veterans' associations from across Croatia and representatives of county authorities, MPs, the government, the president's office, and political parties.
Skabrnja fell into the hands of occupying forces on 18 November 1991 following air and artillery bombardments by the Yugoslav People's Army under the command of Ratko Mladic. The village 25 kilometres east of the coastal city of Zadar was completely destroyed in the attack and 48 Croatian civilians and 15 soldiers were killed on that day.
During its subsequent occupation and until its liberation in the August 1995 Operation Storm, the number of Skabrnja victims rose to 86. Another six villagers were killed by leftover mines after the war. Two thousand people were forced to leave their homes during the occupation.