Liberland, the world's newest country situated on a disputed territory between Croatia and Serbia and founded as a tax-free libertarian haven, is facing a major hurdle due to international aggression from neighboring Croatia.
The Liberland Settlement Association reports:
On Sunday, 07 June, armed agents of the Croatian government abducted two Liberland citizens, both protected persons under the Geneva Conventions, from the occupied territory of Liberland, and forcibly transferred them to Croatia, where they were imprisoned under appalling conditions.Part of the idea behind situating Liberland in the disputed territory between Croatia and Serbia was that intervention by either state would spark an international incident, which in turn would serve as a check to keep the country free from aggression by either state. Unfortunately, so far Serbia doesn't seem to care as this is now the second time Croatia has arrested some of the new inhabitants.
One of these protected persons was a minor, just 17 years of age. The boy’s basic humanitarian rights to water, food, and daylight were denied by Croatian authorities despite repeated pleas, in direct contravention of articles 76 and 118 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. He was released from forced imprisonment the following day, with no charges pressed.
After 23 hours in solitary confinement, with no food or water, 17 y/o Liberland civilian is released.
The second Liberland citizen remains in prison.
The Liberland Settlement Association demands the immediate release of this citizen, and calls again for the cessation of grave violations of the Geneva Conventions on the part of Croatia, the occupying power. This latest provocation was a coordinated attack by nine Croatian police boats, twelve off-road police vehicles, two police vans and some 75 armed agents against two unarmed, peaceful residents of Liberland who had committed no crime nor displayed any aggression towards the occupying forces. These actions, together with previous offenses over the last several weeks, constitute a systematic practice by Croatian forces against the civilian population of Liberland. These attacks can no longer be described as isolated or sporadic events, but are clear manifestations of directed Croatian government policy towards the inhabitants of Liberland.
By using force and violence to escalate this conflict, Croatia, the occupying power, has violated article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting transfer of protected civilians to the territory of the occupying power; of articles 76 and 118 prohibiting inhumane treatment of prisoners; of articles 71 and 72 providing for competent courts; and of article 7 of the Rome Statute prohibiting systematic imprisonment of a civilian population. Because the government of Liberland has publicly accepted and pledged to apply the Geneva Conventions, Croatia is obligated to respect the rights of Liberland’s citizens under those international agreements.
While the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has called Liberland a joke, protecting the human rights of individuals is no laughing matter. To this end, the Liberland Settlement Association demands an immediate visit by the Croatian Red Cross (Hrvatski Crveni križ) in accordance with article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to ensure humanitarian treatment of the remaining Liberland citizen confined in prison, in Osijek, Croatia.
The Liberland Settlement Association seeks now, as always, a peaceful resolution with Croatia and strict adherence at all times to international law as embodied by the Geneva Conventions and by the Rome Statute. Copies of this letter have been sent to the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and to the International Court of Justice.