Croatian Veterans Vie For Register Of Aggressors

Croatian veterans Djuro Glogoski (in wheelchair) and Josip Klemm (pushing the wheelchair) head to meet with Croatia's Prime Minister for the first time since the veterans' protest commenced more than 200 days ago Photo: Index/Hina June 2015

Croatian veterans Djuro Glogoski (in wheelchair)
and Josip Klemm (pushing the wheelchair)
head to meet with Croatia’s Prime Minister
for the first time since the
veterans’ protest commenced more than 200 days ago
Photo: Index/Hina
June 2015


Last week, the Croatian veterans renewed their request for the government to create and publish a Register of Aggressors (against Croatia in early 1990’s) just as Veterans Register was created and published a couple of years ago. There are mixed feelings about this among Croats and those leaning towards nostalgia for communism and former Yugoslavia, or those who stand against lustration and processing of communist crimes, would have us believe that a Register of Aggressors places people suspected of war crimes (or those who aggressively rebelled against Croatian independence) into lifelong “suffering” linked to their name being on the list etc. Well, I would think that if a court clears a suspect of all charges then his/her name comes off the list. And if a person had been found guilty, then he/she deserve for their name to remain on that list, just like a criminal record of serious crimes remains.


Victims from Serb aggression against Croatia - overwhelmingly too many!

Victims from Serb aggression against Croatia –
overwhelmingly too many!

The Croatian veterans would reportedly have Croatia’s rebel Serbs, including those who have been given amnesty by the late president Franjo Tudjman, on that list. One could safely say that the amnesty could have well prevented many a thorough investigation into criminal behaviour during the rebellion against Croatian independence and that there are those who did commit war crimes on the amnesty list from late 1990’s.
According to the General Forgiveness Act passed in Croatia in 1996, soldiers who participated in the military actions against Croatia cannot be criminally prosecuted, except if they had committed war crimes. In other words, one cannot be prosecuted for the act of taking part in war operations but can for acts of looting, rape, killing of civilians and other war crimes.
It’s rather amusing to watch the opponents to the Register of Aggressors, who have spent more than two decades wrongfully bad-mouthing and rubbishing Croatia’s first president, Franjo Tudjman, and now find themselves spinning accolades of praise for him for showing what they say great statesmanship in extending amnesty to rebel Serbs for their rebellion,

Franjo Tudjman, in late 1990’s, made some political concessions and compromises within the then international political currents, that were in the business of carving “justice” in Croatia and former Yugoslav territory, and extended amnesty from prosecution for rebellion against Croatia to thousands of Serbs who were active in the aggression against Croatia and many among them could have been rapists and killers. Such efforts (amnesty) were made, I understand, to achieve some peace, steps towards reconciliation … But they have not worked apart from adding to the excuses Serbs continue using in denying their aggression against Croatia (and Bosnia and Herzegovina)!
Those who support the Register of Aggressors claim that such a register would assist in information, evidence and fact gathering regarding any war crimes as well as assist with putting in motion court proceedings for them. They claim that it is both absurd and unfair to publish the Veterans’ Register and not the Aggressors’ one! Indeed, I would totally agree! After all Croatia would have no need to have the veterans proposing the Registry of the Aggressors were it not because of the aggressors who placed Croatia in the position to defend itself and its people from aggression.
Those against the register claim that its existence could result in people taking the law into their own hands, especially in smaller places, towns… Some who are against the register fear that the criteria for confirming the names to be included in the register may not be tight or objective enough. E.G., could two neighbours join forces and accuse someone of having been an aggressor just as people used to be accused as “elements against the state” in the former communist Yugoslavia.


Those against the Register may also argue that the very inclusion of a person’s name on the Register of Aggressors automatically labels him/her as “guilty until proven innocent”, which, of course, if that were the case, would be contrary to the Constitution. Those supporting the Register may argue that the inclusion of a person’s name in the Register of Aggressors does not and must not signify any guilt of any crime but is a list that compliments the records of Homeland War army, military or paramilitary operatives, i.e. the Aggressors were also military, paramilitary or army operatives just as those whose names are on the Veterans’ Register are.



A question should also be asked: should the amnesty given in 1996 now be revoked?


Sound reason would say – yes! It’s causing grief and unrest incessantly – there is a difference between forgiveness and justice. Justice must come and forgiveness may or may not – it is the prerogative of the victim to forgive or not! Absolutely! We can urge and encourage a victim to forgive his/her aggressor, killer, rapist… but we cannot force the victim to forgive against his/her will. It is human to forgive but it is also human not to! The aggressor, killer, rapist…should ask for forgiveness if forgiveness is to be given but Croatian rebel Serbs have not asked for it and continue denying their rebellion as wrong even if it did cost almost insurmountable devastation.
Some journalists and politicians in Croatia think that an Aggressors Register is an absurdity because the rebel Serbs from 1990’s cannot pose any threat to Croatia any longer!
Croatian Serbs have still, after hundreds of years, not accepted Croatia as their home but in many ways gravitate toward Belgrade. But let’s say such observations may be seen biased so, let’s look at the Public Report for 2015 (PDF version here) issued a couple of days ago by the Croatian Security & Intelligence Agency (SOA): according to this report Croatia still has serious security issues with the Serbian Chetnik movement that commits its activities towards achieving a Greater Serbia. These ideals were the ones that murdered and ethnically cleansed non-Serbs frantically in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990’s war of Serb aggression. Every single follower or supporter of such a movement must stay on a “watch list” and Aggressors’ Register is one of those, as far as I’m concerned.

Croatian Security Intelligence Agency Report 2014_Page_01

The SOA Public Report 2015 in Chapter 11 on Extremism says: “ Organisations and followers of Chetnik movements continue to be active in the states around us but also wider. In this, there are contacts maintained with the like-minded people in the Republic of Croatia as well as with other organisations and individuals with Greater Serbia ideological platforms.”
Here, one could say, is a very credible, valid and legitimate foundation for the creation of the Register of Aggressors!


“…You have no right to forget your past, because the nation that forgets has no future. However, you should not remember it for revenge, but for peace…”, is one of the strong messages given by Pope Francis in Sarajevo on June 6.
Funny thing about this is that some Croatian journalists wrongly think that Aggressors’ Register should not be created because it suggests revenge and lingering of urges for revenge.


Well, no – even Pope Francis knows that to achieve complete peace the wrongdoers must be held to account, justice has due process and that indeed often involves punishment, which is not the same as revenge.
So next time, someone writes that rebel Serbs of 1990’s no longer pose a threat to Croatia, turn a deaf  ear and a blind eye to that – and support the Register of Aggressors! Support the Croatian veterans in this! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. U Hrvatskoj službeno nema nijednog lažnog branitelja, a protiv samo 15 osoba vodi se kazneni postupak zbog sumnje da su nezakonito stekli status hrvatskih branitelja! Samo jedna osoba do danas je izgubila status hrvatskog ratnog vojnog invalida! Podaci su to do kojih smo došli istražujući jesu li točne procjene ministra branitelja Predraga Matića o čak 150.000 lažnih branitelja. HRVATSKA JE SPREMNA ZA NOVOG MINISTRA BRANITELJA.

    • Translation of comment by Croatian Center for Renewable Energy Sources: Officially, there are no false veterans in Croatia and criminal proceedings against 15 persons for unlawfully gaining the veteran’s status are in progress! To date only one person has lost their status of Croatian war military invalid! These are figures we have come across so far in our investigations into the truth of the veteran’s affairs minister’s, Predrag Matic’s, estimate that there are 150,000 false veterans. CROATIA IS READY FOR A NEW VETERANS’ AFFAIRS MINISTER.

      REPLY: Matic is such a repulsive personality, he should have never been a minister in the first place. Let’s hope voters have learned a lesson

      • Stevie10703 says:

        I know this could be for another article that you will post as the elections near, but I am not mistaken in Croatia you vote for a part and the party head becomes the Prime Minister and then he or she chooses who will be members of the Sabor from his party? Am I correct on that? If that is the case, then this is exactly why our government is dysfunctional because you’re doing nothing more than putting in the Prime Ministers people in a position of power. Now, who a Prime Minister puts in his cabinet is up to him but, those people should be put to a vote and questioned by the members of the Sabor you go on from there. I know a Parliamentary system is different from the way we do things here in the US with a representative form of government, remember the US isn’t a Democracy its a Constitutional Republic. But, anyway, wouldn’t it be smarter if each “opcina” in Croatia votes for a member to represent them in the Sabor and then whichever party has the most members in the sabor, the head of that Party should be the Prime Minister. IMO if each opcina is able to elect a representative to the sabor you will see a better and more functional government than what we see now. I believe this is what Ruza Tomisic was pushing and no one seems to be for it.

        As for War criminals, not for nothing, but how sad is it that you have Serbian war criminals walking free in Croatia? How sad is it that they and some of their children have positions of power like being police officers? For example, the son of a Serbian war criminal is a policeman in Vukovar who beat a veteran so badly that he caved in his skull all because that veteran tried to take off plaque that had both Croatian and Serbian writing. After beating him that same policeman didn’t allow anyone to come over to help the Croatia veteran and now this veteran is an invalid. This police officer? Well, no charges were brought out against him and he was moved to Osijek or Vinkovci to work (not sure which). These are things that should never happen.

        At the same time, Serbia not only elects war criminals to high positions (President and Prime Minister) but, they openly say Vukovar is a Serbian city. Yet, our politicians kiss their backsides. This is all backwards and insane.

      • You said it, Stevie: much is backwards and insane. On the issue of parliament (Sabor) yes the leader of p[arty elected into Sabor becomes the prime minister and he/she chooses from elected members of parliamentary the ministers for government cabinet. Were each “Opcina” or Municipal council to have a representative given the number of local councils in Croatia it would be huge but certainly I would think an overhaul of the system would be great including reviewing President’s powers and increasing those.

  2. Ethnic cleansing is heinous and yet is perpetrated continually throughout this world and ignored righteously. For every action there is a consequence. Anymore, we do nothing.

    • Yes, Helena, lots of rhetoric and hitting fist against chest vowing to not permit a repeat – and yet, repeat of horror is what we keep seeing 🙁

  3. Ina, I have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award.

  4. Until rapists, killers, looters and Chetnik/greater Serbia proponents stop walking free in Croatia, amnesty needs to revoked, investigations and trials started up and a register created! Nothing less than that will go towards reaching justice for victims and cleaning up the rotten, infested mess that’s hung around since the 1990s. It’s a bloody shame that Croatia gave in to the then political landscape and outside pressure, because as we see today with terrorism, you cannot negotiate peace and play nice with people set on destroying every trace of your existence. It is very amusing to see the leftists praising Tudjman though. Just shows they have no moral stance or any sort of consistency, they’ll say and do anything, even if it contradicts past actions, to validate their ideology.

    • Firmer hand needed, Kat and I so agree amnesty should not have been given. Rebellion against democratic vote (94% for freedom) was what started the killings.

  5. After reading this thorough and interesting post I’d say that the Register of Aggressors would be a good tool when it comes to provide information and so on with regard to war crimes and its consequent court proceedings for war criminal

    I think you are right when you mention the arguments as to why
    the amnesty given in 1996 should be revoked
    particularly when you state that “Justice must come and forgiveness may or may not – it is the prerogative of the victim to forgive or not!”..

    Great post dear Ina!… I thank you for sharing!… All my best wishes. Aquileana :star:

  6. Your Last paragraph says it all Ina.. While I do not condone ‘revenge’ like you say, those perpetrators of crimes against humanity must be brought to justice.. Or where is it going to stop if we allow those who commit such acts to get away with their crimes.. And I agree with the Register of Aggressors ..

    Thank you for sharing.. Sue

    • I truly hope the veterans succeed – I truly believe we need reminders of every single person who was guilty of crimes and has not as yet faced justice. Only in justice can there be true peace…Hugs, Sue

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