D.I.C. Veritas

BIRN, 16.03.2016., Serbian TV Pulls Film on ‘Operation Storm’ Murders

The Serbian national broadcaster removed a documentary about a war crime committed during the Croatian Army’s Operation Storm in 1995 from its schedule, citing alleged threats to the film-makers.

Serbian national broadcaster RTS pulled the documentary, entitled ‘15 Minutes – Massacre in Dvor’, from its broadcast schedule on Tuesday after pleas from its Danish co-producers, the channel reported.

Vladimir Banic, the assistant director of the documentary, said that the Danish production company Final Cut for Real had complained of threats.

“They say in [their] explanation that the part of the team working in the field in Croatia is being threatened, that it’s unpleasant, that the situation has escalated there regarding the movie itself,” Banic said on RTS on Tuesday.

The documentary, made with Croatian production company Nukleus Film, tells the story of a war crime committed by unknown units on August 8, 1995 in Dvor, when 10 disabled Serb civilians were killed. It was originally screened at the Sarajevo Film Festival last August.

Although it was intended to focus on the responsibility of Danish UN troops who stood aside and watched as the civilians were executed, critics in Croatia claim that it puts the blame on Croatian troops.

The perpetrators have never been identified even though the Croatian state attorney has worked on the Dvor case for years.

The film’s biggest critiques in recent weeks were the head of Croatia’s military archives, Josip Jurcevic, and Croatian war veteran Ivica Pandza, alias ‘Hurricane’.

They claimed that it was especially problematic that such a film was financed by state funds from the Croatian Audio-Visual Centre, HAVC.

Pandza said earlier this month that films financed with taxpayers’ money should not feature as their “main stars” people like Mile Novakovic, a wartime general with the armed forces of the rebel Republic of Serbian Krajina, and Savo Strbac, a former Republic of Serbian Krajina official who is now head of the Belgrade-based NGO Veritas, which advocates the prosecution of Storm crimes.

Novakovic was sentenced to 20 years in jail in absentia by a Croatian court for war crimes, but has since died.

Hrvoje Hribar, the head of the HAVC, said that it “didn’t finance nor co-finance a movie on Savo Strbac or on war criminal Mile Novakovic, but about the passivity of the Danish UN battalion”.

“This is a film about guilt and shame, but Danish, not Croatian,” he said.

He added that the HAVC never approved the final version of the script.

RTS said the people who were threatened were journalist Sasa Kosanovic and Nukleus Film producer Sinisa Jurisic.

During and immediately after Operation Storm some 600 Serb civilians were killed, while 200,000 Serbs left the country.

Sven Milekic, Zagreb





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