If not Josip Boljkovac, who then?

Josip Boljkovac , communist/partisan/antifascist WWII, was arrested on 2 November on allegations of war crimes including mass murders immediately after WWII ended 1945. Since then he had been in custody while the criminal investigative process against him completes, due to ill health the 91 year old was transferred to prison hospital care.

On 16 Nov Boljkovac’s defence attorney filed an application with the Croatian Constitutional court citing that it was wrong of the Croatian Ministry of internal affairs to apply the old criminal investigation procedure law instead of the new one (in force since 1 September 2011). Boljkovac’s application was allowed and he has been released home on 29 November.

County court in Croatia has a few days prior denied Boljkovac’s application that there was no in merit previous order for criminal investigation against him.

The County court held that allegations of war crimes against Boljkovac were based on sound evidentiary foundations and upheld the courts decision to continue custody for Boljkovac.

The Constitutional court had 28 November concluded that criminal investigation against Boljkovac must be carried out in accordance with the new law.  According to the new law it’s much harder to obtain a custodial order during criminal investigation or prior to final criminal charges being made.

Boljkovac has been released from custody and criminal investigation against him stopped.

The situation now stands that, in accordance with the new law, the State attorney commences a criminal investigation and not the Minister for internal affairs. It would seem that a request to the State attorney for an investigation must now be lodged by a County attorney.  http://www.vjesnik.hr/Article.aspx?ID=2139EE3A-0725-4D19-81A8-222885E80540

Boljkovac’s defence attorney, Anto Nobilo, stated for Croatian TV HRT that he himself has conducted his own investigation into the mass murders in 1945 Boljkovac had been suspected of having committed.

“I guarantee that Boljkovac did not participate in those crimes,” said Nobilo. He further said that he knows who had committed those crimes and that he will hand over his file to the State attorney in the next day. http://www.hrt.hr/index.php?id=48&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=140932&tx_ttnews[backPid]=38&cHash=d569a18a28

Knowing Nobilo’s pro-communist stand from the past I do hope that the State attorney will start an independent investigation of his own.

If Mr Nobilo knows who committed those heinous crimes Boljkovac was suspected of committing why did he not pass that information to relevant authorities in Croatia before. Surely he didn’t discover the claimed evidence just as he approached the media microphones as Boljkovac came out of custody.

Whether there really was a purposeful procedural error or not still remains debatable despite the Constitutional court’s decision.  Within a short space of time this month a County court continues his incarceration and Constitutional court cancels this decision. Perhaps there was no error made in applying the old criminal procedures law at all, November 2011 may well have been within the transitional period between the old and full force of the new law? Or something entirely different may be afoot.

Certainly the two separate courts decided differently within the same month and it’s not as if both of these courts weren’t aware of the new law. At the end of the day the Constitutional court’s ruling and interpretation of procedural matters must prevail, that’s democracy at work, court hierarchy.

Minister for internal affairs Tomislav Karamarko denies that old criminal procedures act was applied in Boljkovac case. http://dnevnik.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/ustavni-sud-ukinuo-odluku-o-pritvoru-josipa-boljkovca.html

Boljkovac and his antifascist followers are on a vicious ride against the Minister of internal affairs (police) Karamarko again, using the criminal procedures mix-up as grounds for political persecution of those who dared to throw criminal allegations of war crimes and mass murders against former communists. Indeed Boljkovac says that the truth conquered, that he is innocent and that he believed in justice.

But, wait a minute!

There was no hearing of evidence against him in the court, it was only a procedural matter that was before the court.  Karamarko has been called a liar, a falsifier of history …( http://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/boljkovac-izlazi-iz-pritvora-ustavni-sud-ponistio-odluku-/585621.aspx , http://www.vecernji.hr/vijesti/boljkovac-karamarko-ne-smije-falsificirati-povijest-clanak-351451) just because he had commenced , based on evidence before him, criminal proceedings against a person (Boljkovac).

A justified concern arises from the fact that Croatian State attorney Mladen Bajic has been seen by the Croatian public in recent  weeks as being biased, as treating different criminal matters before him differently and selectively, as being politically biased etc .

This week an impressively large and educated group of 750 people (over 100 of scientists and university professors) in Croatia signed an Appeal to the Croatian public and handed it to the Prime Minister and various media outlets.

Whether the public at large for whom the Appeal was intended will ever see the contents of that appeal is, frankly, on shaky grounds.

The signatories concluded their appeal by stating several opinions and demands including that they stand for free and critical journalism, based on general human values which will open up horizons of democracy and not create conditions for self-interest and political party victories.

The appeal’s title is: “Let’s oppose the media manipulation” and some of the content is translated into English as follows:

Media are forces above the Croatian society. They’re not accountable to anyone except to profit and to the invisible centres of political power. To that end everything is allowed them, from treading over human dignity to various forms of manipulation and undermining of the Croatian state. There is practically no space in the media for arguments. The public is fed on half-information and misinformation without any responsibility for the written word. All sectors of society are being infected by cunning manipulation. While there are official avenues that deal with some infections but there are neither repercussions nor sanctions for the attacks against personal integrity…Initially they attacked the values of the Homeland war, then they distanced the émigrés, who were prepared to return to Croatia, then Croatian national institutions, who had been torn apart by carefully assembled affairs, what wasn’t torn apart was “blackened”, then the family, and to top it all up they want to compromise the Catholic church with lies, that is, Christianity which has held the Croatian people together in these regions for thirteen centuries.

 State attorney in the media. The State attorney, who selectively lets certain cases slip through his fingers, eroding the democratic achievements of our country and turning into a power to whom one must bow, has entered into the brace with the media. Constant stigmatisation and criminalisation that appears every day in the media space creates a picture that there is nothing good in the Croatian society. But it’s not going to be like that, because if it was like that the Croatian society would have perished a long time ago. There are positive events in Croatia, scientific successes and achievements, economic breakthroughs, but they have no space in the media given that the media has given itself the task to show to both the domestic and the international public how impossible Croatia is.  There are those in this trail who are already saying that “we’re not in the position to hold, create, shape and lead the country”. What is the message – we need to be returned to the Balkan dungeon or melt within the European Union.

 There is no free press in Croatia. Newspapers are a strictly closed and controlled space which has the task of creating a certain type of thinking and behaving, greedy for consumption and ideologically coloured, to always hate their own, prefer and admire the foreign. German scientist K. Buecher, asserted in the last century that “from being organisations that report news, newspapers have turned into carriers and leaders of public opinion, into battle instrument for party politics”. Croatian newspapers had never stopped being that – they are today the most obvious instrument for party politics, national values and national interests are strangers to them.

 Appeal regarding Croatian media November 2011 in Croatian language

Having considered all of the above I wonder: is apprehended bias something we are witnessing in Boljkovac’s case?  Are such thoughts justified in the face of overwhelming and often vicious attempts by antifascists to cut at its knees the process of justice for victims of communist crimes?

With above descriptions of State attorney’s behaviour and procedural favouritism when it comes to criminal cases is one not justified to live in apprehension, fear injustice, until such a day when the war crimes of Boljkovac/not Boljkovac are actually addressed with due process?

Will the ghost of Tito conquer, yet again, and victims of communist mass murders remain without justice?

When communism fell in Eastern Europe in 1989 it did so at the consternation of the leftists. That is, the leftists who still thought socialism could work given the right leaders.

Indeed communism would not have survived 70 years were it not for the facilitating academia, blind faith in communism, religion and journalism. Lloyd Billingsley, 1985 in “The Generation That Knew Not Josef: A Critique of Marxism and the Religious Left” talks about these.

The current situation in Croatian media as put in the above Appeal to the Croatian public supports the apprehension that processing communist crimes is a political matter and not a matter for justice and justice only.

I look forward to discovering who, if not Boljkovac, had murdered the innocent Croatians in 1945 Boljkovac was arrested for at beginning of November and walks free for at the end of it, due to a procedural matter allegedly bungled in the criminal investigation against him.

I wait in uneasy anticipation to see what bag of “goodies” the defence attorney Ante Nobilo has come up with this time! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A., M.A. Ps. (Syd)

Related posts by Ina Vukic: http://inavukic.com/2011/11/18/and-justice-for-all/




  1. […] Further to my post yesterday: If not Josip Boljkovac – who then? […]

  2. […] months after the Constitutional Court terminated the investigation of war crimes allegedly perpetrated by Josip Boljkovac in 1945 the Croatian State Prosecutor in Zagreb has January 27 re-opened the […]

  3. […] months after the Constitutional Court terminated the investigation of war crimes allegedly perpetrated by Josip Boljkovac in 1945 the Croatian State Prosecutor in Zagreb has January 27 re-opened the […]

  4. […] I watched an exclusive Croatian TVPLUS interview with Josip Boljkovac (alleged communist war crimes perpetrator/WWII) and dr Vladimir Geiger, from Croatian history […]

  5. […] make things worse it was the same Anto Nobilo who firmly stated in November 2011 that he knows who committed the murders his client Boljkovac was charged with and he now has the gall to be happy with the court’s finding that the “communist system” […]

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