Croatia: Calling Communist Crimes To Account
Josip Boljkovac arrested on Communist Crimes charges
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!
That is the path Croatian attempts of indictments against Josip Boljkovac, 93, had taken over the past few years. The last attempt to indict him had failed due to legal technicalities or procedural matters (see Related Posts at the end of this article).
This time it seems prospects of success at least as far as getting Boljkovac to a court hearing, might be looking more hopeful.
Boljkovac was indicted on Tuesday September 17th for ordering the killings of the 21 civilians from the Duga Resa region of Croatia, who were at the time accused by communists of collaborating with the country’s Nazi-affiliated Ustasha regime.
At the time of the murders in May and June 1945, after WWII had finished, he was a local official with the Partisans’ secret service (Communist Secret Police), the Department for the Protection of the People, OZNA. He later became a top police official in post-WWII Yugoslavia. As things of that nature went then – no court, no hearing, no due process – just a shot in “the head”. It was enough not to agree with communism and one was accused of being a Nazi, Ustashe or what have you.
This indictment against Boljkovac is the first of its kind since Croatia declared its independence in 1991. Boljkovac served as the first post-independence interior minister of independent Croatia; he served in that office for just over one year 30 May 1990 to 2 July 1991, having jumped ship from League of Communists to Croatian Democratic Union. Soon after, it became evident that he nurtured a very close friendship with Stjepan Mesic (former president/ die-hard communist) who headed a decade long campaign against Franjo Tudjman, Croatia’s first president. It was the time when Tudjman began voicing the need for lustration – i.e. removing from office operatives of Communist Yugoslavia Secret services and other authoritative bodies of former Yugoslavia. This of course is a matter for a full article which I plan to write soon.
Boljkovac denies the charges, saying that the indictment was politically motivated. And of course, Stjepan Mesic says his friend is innocent, that he didn’t have the authority to order the killings! But, whether Boljkovac had the authority or not to order the killings seems to be an irrelevance in the face of witness statements that allege Boiljkovac is guilty in the said killings and massacre.
“They charged me to draw attention from daily politics and the ‘Lex Perkovic’ case,” he told Croatian media, referring to a case which has seen Croatia threatened with sanctions by the European Union.
It’s hardly possible that anything could draw attention away from the “Lex Perkovic” case as European Commission is on fire to get Croatia to comply with European arrests warrants – threats of sanctions are real and so is the current government’s abominable move three days before Croatian entry into the EU to stop extradition to Germany of Josip Perkovic, charged with Communist crimes – liquidation of Croatian national in Germany during the communist years.
Certainly a great deal revolves around Communist crimes in Croatia at the moment and that is a good sign and high time serious measures are taken to rid the nation of that cancer that’s been plaguing the nation for so very long!
Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Zgb)