The Croatian Defense Ministry said Monday that in March it prevented an international scandal involving the Honor and Defense Battalion’s participation in a commemoration in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The ministry said in a press release that on March 17, the office of President Zoran Milanovic informed the Chief of Military Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj, that President Marijan Marekovic’s adviser would be his envoy to an event marking the 27th anniversary of the exchange. prisoners. of the war in Bugojno, BiH.
The President’s Office also announced that with the decision of the President, members of the Honor and Defense Battalion will also participate, the Ministry added.
Under the Defense Act, a decision on the platoon and smaller units participating in ceremonial activities abroad is taken by the defense minister, the ministry said, adding that according to its information, members of the Honor and Defense Battalion were sent to BiH. before the minister makes a decision to that effect.
However, the ministry said, it was understood that they would not be able to cross the Croatian border without the minister’s decision and order for official travel abroad, which is in the ministry’s competence.
With such an action, the president ‘s office “unnecessarily exposed the Croatian army,” the ministry added.
Realizing that the request from the office of the president could not be realized without the decision of the minister, the ministry said, Hranj wrote to the minister on March 18 to request that the request from the chief of the president’s office, for the engagement of members of the Honorary Battalion and Defense abroad, be authorized.
In accordance with his powers, the ministry said, the minister gave his authority on the same day that the battalion escort Marekovic to the memorial in BiH.
The ministry said the battalion’s participation in the memorial was not controversial, but the president’s office should have followed the procedure as required by the Defense Law.
“The Ministry of Defense, with the approval of the decision, prevented an international scandal”, it is said in the press release, adding that the way of action of the president’s office was inappropriate and that it should have forwarded the request to the minister.