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Statement of the Liberland Ministry of Interior

Liberland Ministry of Interior Responds to the Statements Made by the Ministry of Interior of Croatia in Croatian Media

International Misunderstandings

Liberland, 1 August 2023 – The Ministry of Interior of the Free Republic of Liberland wishes to address recent statements made by the Croatian Ministry of Interior on behalf of the Croatian Police and published in Croatian media regarding a video posted on YouTube by independent journalist Mr. Nikolas Omilana. The video documents the challenges faced in accessing and maintaining a presence in the territory of Liberland, including extralegal impediments and alleged police misconduct.

The Croatian Ministry of Interior suggested that “activists” from Liberland are attempting to render the external Schengen border “porous”, thereby facilitating various forms of cross-border crime. 

They further claimed that several “activists with hypothermia” had to be rescued earlier this year. The Ministry of Interior of Liberland wishes to clarify these points, as they appear to be based on unfortunate misunderstandings.

Protecting the Borders

Firstly, regarding the assertion of intentionally creating a porous border, the Ministry of Interior of Liberland categorically denies such allegations. The area of Gornja Siga represents a significant challenge for both Croatia and Europe. The current circumstances practically prevent consistent policing by both sides, as the situation of the last months amply proves. 

Prior to the establishment of Liberland, this area remained unclaimed, and by preventing Liberland from fully establishing its presence, the neighbouring countries risk reverting to the previous state of ambiguity. This could potentially allow any third country or other adversaries to legally occupy the land and establish, for instance, a military base or a landing ground for irregular migration.

In addressing this serious situation, Liberland is striving to ensure the border’s consistent protection in collaboration with Croatian and Schengen authorities. Irregular migration is a significant human tragedy, often encouraged by overtly criminal elements, and we do not condone or support it. Liberland is open to all constructive forms of intergovernmental cooperation regarding the border, including a bilateral arrangement allowing the present Croatian Border Police to provide security on Liberland’s external borders. What this border needs is a reliable partner, a point of contact when there is a problem; Liberland is ready to provide this.

We are prepared to make our borders as safe as any other external Schengen border, despite not being a Schengen country, by any means necessary. We recognize the humanitarian and public security needs and will not stand idly by. What this border needs is a reliable partner, a point of contact when there is a problem; Liberland is ready to provide this.

Liberland: the Biggest Economic Opportunity since Croatia’s Independence

In addition, Liberland aims to help the whole region of Croatia economically by attracting global capital and fostering economic advancements. We are dedicated to promoting the area of Osijek-Baranja on a global economic level, just as Shenzhen benefited from the presence of Hong Kong. Looking at successful cases like Singapore, we think our goals are realistic and doable. This presents a rare chance to improve not just the region but the whole economic outlook of Croatia, just like the economic study by Libek concluded.

In response to the implied collusion with Serbia, Liberland maintains a stance of political neutrality. Croatia and her Ministry of Interior can be assured that Liberland doesn’t receive any assistance from Serbia. Liberland is a genuine project of establishing a nation-state for liberty-loving people.

Kidnapping is not Assistance

Liberland acknowledges and appreciates the legitimate acts of assistance extended towards its personnel in river-related situations. It is our earnest hope that such constructive cooperation continues to be embraced and enacted when dictated by the gravity of circumstances.

On the other hand, it is important to note that not all instances of assistance were justified. A rescue should be a response to a state of distress or danger. Rescuing adults against their will is conducted only in exceptional circumstances of the direst of need and when the adult’s reasoning abilities are clearly compromised. 

As we have documented, the humanitarian situation on the island was stable when the alleged “rescue” took place, yet the will of these individuals was neither respected nor, in some cases, even ascertained. 

The individual in question, Mr Jan Urban, had previously remained in the area for twenty-five days before the first rescue, equipped with a sturdy shed and a steady stream of supplies. This was until he was unilaterally blockaded by the Border Police of Croatia, who ceased to engage in dialogue with us. On the day of the “rescue”, Jan refused assistance as he saw no need for it. The Croatian police proceeded to remove his supplies against his will and destroyed his place of habitation. They created a situation of need and then exploited it.

Under Croatian criminal law, taking one’s belongings of significant value is considered larceny, and forcibly removing someone from their location is classified as kidnapping. 

No More Police Beatings

In addition, the actions against the two UK nationals including Mr. Omilana, as seen in the video, could easily be interpreted as assault, likewise punishable by Croatian criminal law, as well as a flagrant abuse of police powers.

Liberland has launched administrative processes in response to these incidents, and its Ministry of Justice is ready to present a case to Croatia’s judicial system should it become necessary. Based on prior experiences, we maintain full faith in the impartiality of our neighbour’s justice system. Any further aggression against persons in Liberland’s territory will likewise be resolved by Liberland’s judiciary organs, according to Liberland’s legal system.

We, however, earnestly hope that such behaviour won’t repeat, and we trust that Croatian law enforcement will implement adequate measures to shield law-abiding individuals from illegal police misconduct, including unprovoked physical intimidation, as witnessed in the video.

Liberland Ready to Establish Orderly Border With Croatia

Liberland is committed to adhering to the tenets of public international law and seeks to foster cooperation with our closest neighbour, Croatia. In line with this commitment, our border law and the law of delicts are being formulated by our drafters to maximize compatibility with corresponding Croatian laws. We invite Croatian legislative and legal professionals to join the effort of drafting these norms in accordance with our shared aims and needs.

Finally, regarding the claim that Mr Urban was paid for his efforts, we confirm this and do so proudly. He has provided and continues to provide valuable service to us, and he receives deserved remuneration for his efforts. Jan Urban is not merely an “activist”; he is among Liberland’s first border officers. We anticipate the day when he and the rest of the Liberland Border Guard is recognized as such by Croatia and he can contribute to maintaining the safety of our mutual border.

The Government of Liberland remains committed to resolving any issues that may arise in our relationship with Croatia in a manner that respects the rights and safety of all parties involved. We are open to dialogue and cooperation with our neighbours and the international community to ensure the security and prosperity of our region.

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