Following a commemoration held on Wednesday morning outside the city hospital in the eastern Croatian city of Vukovar, which marked the beginning of day-long events commemorating Vukovar Remembrance Day and the suffering of the city's residents in the Homeland War, participants in the commemoration set out in a procession from the hospital to the Homeland War Victims' Memorial Cemetery.
Around 17,000 people were walking in the procession through the city streets, including the most senior state officials - President Stjepan Mesic, Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, and Parliament Speaker Luka Bebic. Speaking to reporters, President Mesic said that the crimes committed in Vukovar in 1991 had been planned, just as the crimes in Srebrenica had been planned.
He said that Croatian authorities had done their best in the last 18 years to shed light on the crimes committed in Vukovar, but that it would not be possible to solve every single case. Prime Minister Kosor said that she was happy to see newly painted houses and a lot of young people in Vukovar, adding that everything should be done to create as many jobs as possible in Vukovar.
She stressed that those who had committed war crimes in Vukovar had to be brought to justice. Among the participants in the procession were the first wartime commander of Vukovar's defence forces, Mile Dedakovic, and Branko Borkovic, the last wartime commander of the city's defence, who said that the Homeland War was the cornerstone of the modern Croatian state.
The eastern Croatian city is today remembering 18 November 1991, when the JNA and Serb paramilitaries broke the last line of the city's defence after a siege of almost three months. A large number of people from all over the country, including war veterans and top state officials, flocked to Vukovar to attend today's commemorative events.