[55], Forensic anthropologist Clyde Snow learned of the massacre during his visit to Zagreb in October 1992. Serbian television continued to broadcast claims of "massacred Serbs in Vukovar" for some time after the town's fall. Not one of the buildings seen during a daylong outing could be described as habitable. [206] The gravestones were originally topped with a sculptural evocation of the V-shaped Serbian military cap, or šajkača. [11] The reserve police, also expanded to 40,000, was attached to the ZNG and reorganised into 19 brigades and 14 independent battalions. [100] Foreign journalists and international monitors entered the town soon after the surrender and recorded what they saw. In Vukovar, as elsewhere in Croatia, hardline Serb nationalists urged Serbs to boycott the referendum, while moderates advocated using the poll to register opposition to independence. Vukovar was more of a slaughter than a battle. After appeals from the International Committee of the Red Cross,[107] the couple were eventually released in a prisoner exchange. Panić divided the JNA forces into Northern and Southern Areas of Responsibility (AORs). [108], Croatia suffered heavy military and civilian casualties. They lived on two slices of bread and a piece of pâté per day. [40] In July, the JNA and TO began deploying in large numbers across eastern Slavonia, surrounding Vukovar from three sides. [111] According to Croatian officials, in eastern Slavonia, 2,000 Croatians were killed, 800 went missing, 3,000 were taken prisoner and 42,852 were made refugees by the end of 1991. [184] When the JNA tried to call up reservists, parents and relatives gathered around barracks to prevent their children taking part in the operation. This has led to it becoming as much an "imagined place", a receptacle for Croatian national sentiment and symbolism, as a real place. They are men who came voluntarily to fight for the Serbian cause. [3] On 4 October, the Yugoslav Air Force attacked the hospital, destroying its operating theatre. [172], Although the Croatian government sponsored reconstruction efforts in and around Vukovar, the Serb-populated town centre remained in ruins until 2003. [84] Monuments of the same design have subsequently been used to mark all the other mass graves from the Croatian War of Independence. By the end of the battle, over 700,000 shells and other missiles had been fired at the city,[18] at a rate of up to 12,000 per day. Local Serbs who died fighting alongside the JNA were buried by the Croatian Serb authorities on a plot of land where Croatian houses had once stood. [6] About 2,600 people went missing as a result of the battle. That objective was achieved, even though there was little left, apart from than ruins, following the siege. [80] In February 2015, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the siege and ensuing massacre did not constitute genocide, though it confirmed that serious crimes had taken place. The area has a diverse population of Croats, Serbs, Hungarians, Slovaks, Ruthenians and many other nationalities, who had lived together for centuries in relative harmony before the Croatian War of Independence. [207] The issue of how to remember the Serb dead has posed particular difficulties.

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