Croatia: Communist Crimes – Two Criminals Down Many Yet To Fall

Zdravko Mustac (L) Josip Perkovic (R) Sentenced to life imprisonment in relation to communist crimes of complicity in murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Djurekovic

Zdravko Mustac (L) Josip Perkovic (R)
Sentenced to life imprisonment
in relation to communist crimes of complicity in murder
of Croatian dissident
Stjepan Djurekovic


Croatia’s former Social Democrat (formerly known as League of Communists) government led by Zoran Milanovic as PM, as well as president Ivo Josipovic, had tried their utmost to avoid the extradition to Germany of former communist Yugoslavia secret police/UDBA operators, Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac. They even passed a law in July 2013 (known as Lex Perkovic) three days before Croatia joined the EU, that prevented the extradition of Croatian citizens to other countries for crimes committed before 2002, hence ensuring no crime committed under the sheet of communist purges during the time of former Yugoslavia would be brought before the court regardless of the fact that in a civilised world murder has no statute of limitations. After Croatia’s courts had in 2014 ruled that Perkovic and Mustac could be extradited to Germany, extradition soon followed and the former head of Yugoslavia’s secret service, Zdravko Mustac, and a one-time subordinate, Josip Perkovic faced trial over accusations regarding the 1983 killing of a Croatian dissident in Bavaria, Stjepan Djurekovic for the first time in Munich in October 2014.
The German court in Munich had Wednesday 3 August 2016 found guilty of complicity in murder and sentenced the two former top Yugoslavian spies (spy chief Zdravko Mustac, 74, and ex-agent Josip Perkovic, 71) to life imprisonment for the 1983 murder of the Croatian national Stjepan Djurekovic, who was opposed to Yugoslav communist regime, in the then West Germany.

Stjepan Djurekovic

Stjepan Djurekovic

The court finds that the accused Zdravko M. had asked the accused Josip P. to plan and prepare for the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic,” the court said in a statement, Deutsche Welle reports. The state prosecution had in its final words last week turned the crime of assisting in murder into participating or complicity in murder with intent, which carries a life sentence under German laws.

Djurekovic was one of 22 Croatians murdered on orders from Belgrade (Serbia/Yugoslav capital) in Germany between 1970 and 1989. Most of those cases remain untried. This time around, prosecutors successfully argued that the spies had sought to silence Djurekovic who had information about alleged illegal business dealings by the son of a leading Yugoslav politician. Djurekovic was killed (shot and bludgeoned with a meat clever) in a garage that was used as a print office in the Bavarian town of Wolfratshausen. He was shot multiple times and hit with a cleaver by three still unidentified people.

The prime motive was to kill a regime critic, a separatist,” Manfred Dauster, the presiding judge, told the court on Wednesday. “Djurekovic

Judge Manfred Dauster

Judge Manfred Dauster

was to be muzzled – politically, but also physically.”


The finding was based on the fact that at the time, 1983, Zdravko Mustac was the chief of the Croatian arm of Yugoslav State Security Service

(more commonly known as State Security Administration/UDBA) while Josip Perkovic was in the position of head of Zagreb UDBA Section II (in charge of the department dealing with Croatian émigrés abroad) and was the immediate superior of the spy Krunoslav Prates (convicted 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment for participating the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic) – Judge Manfred Dauster explained.


The defense had sought acquittal, citing a lack of evidence. Attorneys for Perkovic and Mustac plan to appeal the verdict to Germany’s federal high court. Should the sentences stick, Perkovic and Mustac could apply to serve them back home and if appeal does not succeed and life sentence stays then in Croatia that would translate to 40 years prison.
A reaction to this finding by Zoran Milanovic, leader of Social Democrats who is running as PM hopeful in the coming September elections, included “I am shocked by that court judgment … if it’s true (they committed those crimes) then they have received the most lenient of sentences … I regret this decision was not made in Croatia.”

What a repulsive, odious, low-life of a politician.


It was he, Zoran Milanovic, who headed to moves in 2013 in refusing to act on EU arrest warrants, who headed the government that introduced the law against extradition in 2013, it was he, Zoran Milanovic, who fought tooth and nail not to help the trial against Perkovic and Mustac get off the ground in Germany or anywhere else for that matter. It was, it is he, Zoran Milanovic, who leads all blockades against the processing of communist crimes.


Up until now, the need, the will and the ways to process and punish the horrific crimes committed for and on behalf of the communist regime of former Yugoslavia (including Croatia) had not truly or substantially found their effective expression. Many attempts have been sabotaged and alleged perpetrators and accomplices protected by those who call themselves antifascists (former communists, nostalgics for Yugoslavia). Those who pursued justice for victims of communist crimes were and still are branded fascists, revisionists, Nazis, Ustashas… To demonstrate the depravity of former communists’ sense of justice one can only revisit the 2014 trial against late Josip Boljkovac (friend of former president Stjepan Mesic, who is currently trying to resurrect himself into politics by being included on Social Democrats’ election ticket) relating to the murder in 1945 after WWII had ended of 21 innocent people where the Croatian court found that Josip Boljkovac was not really to blame (even if there were strong indications of his complicity in some body of evidence before the court) for their murder (or bear any responsibility) but that the real culprit was the communists system. How a system without people can murder people is only clear to former communists, it seems.


Many say the past should be left behind and we should all work towards the future but that stance in itself is cruel and unjust. It is a stance, without doubt, taken by those who have a great deal to lose and to admit. The only way to a better future is, in fact, to confront the past and punish all crimes against human life committed. The judgment brought down by the German court last week against Perkovic and Mustac puts names to the communist crimes perpetrated and this surely must serve as motivation and assistance in efforts to process as many communist crimes as possible. While national reconciliation is necessary, it would be a gross mistake to believe that collective amnesia and impunity will do any good. It will not because crime does not pay, in the end truth will out.


Seen as an absolute nightmare for 45 years after WWII by majority of Croatian émigrés, especially, and by most of those in Croatia in the HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union who were the driving force in the 1990’s creation of the modern independent state of Croatia, the baleful UDBA (communist secret service) managed to sneak through the recent war of Croatia’s secession (1991 – 1995) and survived the regime change/secession from Yugoslavia. It rallied behind the first president of Croatia Franjo Tudjman, in order to avoid “lustration”, with most of its senior executives becoming cogs in the new machinery of the new Croatian state, when they should have been lustrated or taken away from those positions. Ministries, the Parliament, media, big business, administrations, diplomacy — rare are public fields where these former “agents/suradnici” (aka “snitches”) don’t hold major positions. I guess such a mix was unavoidable in the beginnings, at times of war, but not for a moment longer.
If at last lustration does not occur in Croatia and new governments continue to be run by non-repentant old communists and their younger “liberal” offspring, the reticence or blatant refusal to pursue prosecution of communist crimes is bound to continue and the price to be paid is surely to be a form of eternal political unrest and intolerance.


UDBABorn in 1946 as part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Yugoslav communist secret service, the UDBA, was conceived as a counter-intelligence agency and a political police, the latter being by far its most important task. The UDBA consisted of four major sectors (“internal enemy,” “hostile emigration,” “foreign espionage,” “high tech espionage”). It employed hundreds of agents, analysts, and agents (“suradnici”), as well as thousands of snitches, i.e. informants (“informatori”). Founded as a dense conspiratorial network, it operated in various regional centres in ex- Yugoslavia, being active in all towns and villages in each constituent ex-Yugoslav republic. Unlike the traditional modus operandi of many other communist countries, local UDBA centres in ex-Yugoslavia enjoyed a large degree of autonomy with each local centre supervising the agents in its respective area. However, the 2nd Section was also in charge of hiring its own quota of undercover agents abroad.
The operatives of the 2nd Section were generally groomed for their prime targets: infiltration of Yugoslav and especially Croat émigrés abroad. As regards the Croatian emigration, the UDBA carried out at least 68 to 69 homicides, 5 abductions whose victims were later executed, 23 attempted murders (with several cases of severely injured victims), 4 abductions whose victims survived and 2 attempted kidnappings.
The 2nd Section in charge of émigrés, whom UDBA labelled as “hostile emigrants”, was particularly violent, as it didn’t hesitate to resort to “offensive” or “special” operations, i.e., assassinations. By bribing and manipulating common criminals (threatening them, or promising them impunity), by fabricating false documents and exerting the most infamous blackmails, it induced naive citizens in ex-Yugoslavia into suicidal plots, or framed them with offences they had never committed. In short, the 2nd Section run by Josip Perkovic – was quite simply an organised communist crime agency.

Efficient in its criminal plots, the UDBA did succeed in undermining the emigrants’ reputation by defaming them as “terrorists” in their host countries. For example, a famous case took place in Australia where, as a result of UDBA media manipulation, six young Croats (the “Croatian Six”) landed behind the bars for 15 years (see Hamish McDonald, “Framed: the untold story about the Croatian Six”, The Sydney Morning Herald of February 11th, 2012).


Robert Zagajski In pursuit of truth about his father's death

Robert Zagajski
In pursuit of truth about
his father’s death

Today, the malodorous UDBA ghosts and other Yugoslavian cloak and dagger circles are still haunting Croatia (and other former Yugoslav states, although, to a seemingly lesser degree Serbia, which was the heart of communist crimes plots operations). Twenty-five years after Croatia’s independence scores of former UDBA hit men of the former Yugoslav regime have not yet been properly and absolutely held to account, nor have they ever atoned for their crimes. There are also several hundreds of mass graves and pits across Croatia filled with bones and remains of innocent victims of communist crimes, for which no one has yet been held responsible, not even the communist regime by name. As to murders committed by UDBA agents and operatives such as the one for which the court in Germany has prescribed a life sentence the hopes for justice burn loud. Robert Zagajski, for instance, was 17 when his father was killed on the orders of the Yugoslav secret service in 1983 – the judgment against Perkovic and Mustac has given him the greatest hope so far that his father Djuro’s brutal death will cease to be an enigma and that someone will be made to answer for it. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)



  1. Valentin P says:

    From facebook: One of our big big big mistakes was allowing people like Perkovic positions in government back in 1990. I understand the reasons, I just had a bad feeling about it back then and knew it would bite us in the bum. It’s one thing to unite as a nation but another thing to allow a murderer like Perkovic especially in such a high position of the secret service. This just set the mood for distrust among citizens. Now everyone is calling for lustration which I feel should have happened back then. Is it too late? Time will tell I guess.

  2. Yep, tip of the iceberg

  3. As far as touting HDZ and Pres. Tudjman as being the “driving force” for the creation of the modern state of Croatia, I beg to differ. It was through the will of the people of Croatia, and their efforts that the modern state of Croatia was created. Communist ideology was collapsing world-wide, bare-handed Germans were literally chipping away at the Berlin Wall, and in Croatia the time was also ripe. With a voter turnout of 83% , 93% of voters chose independence via the referendum of 1991. That was the “driving force” within Croatia, as it was the driving force in other countries of the former Eastern Bloc. The Croatian people struggled for 45 years under communist tyranny and it was the Croatian people who ultimately fought a war of independence to secure a better life for future generations of Croatians. Political parties and their respective politicians have proven to be less than useless and at times even detrimental to Croatian national interests.

    Za Dom Spremni!

    • True Velebit – it was the people of Croatia who created independent Croatia but they rallied around HDZ mostly, which at that time in 1989/1991/1992 was more like a people’s movement than a political party and people did need leaders and leaders drove much and people joined the movement, HDZ was by far the largest and Tudjman was the one who covered much of the diaspora prior to seek support for independence move of course there were other parties as well who led their members and supporters…of course the bringing down of Berlin Wall and the worldwide atmosphere it created for politics helped too – but someone needed to bring the 93% to elections so to speak, to organise, to come up with the plan etc etc people rallied behind the leaders in support

  4. I agree Ina, that in those early days HDZ was viewed by the majority of Croatians as more of a people’s movement rather than a political party, and that movement’s goal was a free,democratic and independent Croatian state. Indeed, at times it seemed that the movement was leading and that the policy makers/politicians were struggling to meet the demands and expectations of the public. For example, I believe it would have been tantamount to political suicide for Tudjman or any “nationalist” politician at the time to have stopped short of the goal of full secession and opt for a loose confederative system as Tudjman initially did consider; until Milosevic and the Serbs made that impossible. Had Milosevic not pressed for war, and had Tudjman pursued confederation, we can only speculate what the political ramifications would have been for himself ,HDZ or the country.
    Leaders are human beings and as such are fallible, politicians are no exception. Lets not idiolize them, they rarely deserve it.

    Za Dom Spremni!

    • Thanks for reply Velebit, I believe it was late 1993 when HDZ turned into a political party rather than movement. I guess in the beginning all sorts of variations were sought but aren’t we blessed that at the end of the day 94% said Nope, secede all the way 🙂

    • therealamericro says:


      I would say that it is pretty self-evident that Tudman calculated that the Serbs would never agree to a confederation, so for public (read: UN, ECC and US) consumption, that idea was floated.

      It was never serious, it was never taken seriously – in fact it was called a fig leaf for Tudman and his “nationalist” agenda.

      And for Milosevic to maintain his own mass movement, it was an impossibility that he could never agree to because it would be giving in to the “Ustase”.

      In terms of not idolizing politicians, I agree, just look at the drooling Tito cultists and Pavelic cultists.

      • @therealamericro:

        So true, there is nothing as revolting as the idolatry of political leaders or political parties – no matter from which end of the political spectrum they originate. As has been evidenced in modern Croatian politics, virtually all Croatian political leaders of the last 26years have proven to be unworthy of the honor bestowed upon them by their fellow countrymen. As representatives of the people, they have failed to unburden Croatia of the vestiges of communism. They have not implemented any kind of lustration, consequently the govt., judiciary, and police are still full of communist apparatchiks/Yugonostalgics. Udba and its spies still wield their power to infiltate all segments and echelons of Croatian life. Corruption, nepotism,deceit, incompetence, profiteering, mismanagement seem to be the pervasive themes that characterize politics in Croatia today. This is not the country that our Branitelji envisioned and fought a war to achieve, and the fault can clearly be laid at the doorsteps of our political leaders. Anything worthy that we achieved as a country, was achieved soley through the struggles and sacrifices of our people. They were our standard bearers, they were our soldiers, they were our martyrs, they were our wealth. To idolize any political leader is utter foolishness because they always turn out to have feet of clay.

        Yes, the “drooling Tito cultists and the Pavelic cultists” could well be joined by the drooling Tudjman cultists as well, after all the antithesis of Pavelic’s nationalism was Tito and Tudjman’s communism.

        Za Dom Spremni!

  5. Slowly but surely justice is being served Ina.. The more I read here within your posts the more I learn about this horrific time..

    Sending Love and Blessings your way my friend xx Sue

  6. therealamericro says:


    I’d say in the past 26 years Croatia had a good leader worthy of praise – Tudman. Imperfect, for sure, but unfortunately for him and all of us, lustration was an impossibility during the war and after the war the information war surrounding the ICTY – and of course economic rebuilding – took presidence.

    Everything was set up before his death – the state was formed, territory under full control by civil, police and military; and a mere 10bn USD debt after a war that in damage cost 27bn DM (today’s EUR) and in arming cost 36bn DM. All that had to take place was another Croatian patriot being elected president and the political and cultural cleaning house could have begun unimpeded.

    Unfortunately Croatians chose – well, “chose” rather the first post-Tudman election was wholesale robbery – the Yugoslav maniac, compulsive liar, Titoist fanatic, ICTY perjuror and Croatia’s first war profiteer (Nasice Cement) Stipe Mesic. Who was unfortunately elected a second time and single handedly eviscerated Croatia’s strong and absolutely victorious intelligence and mililtary apparatus’.

    Lustration was bound to happen were a Croatian – in the national and political sense – president and government to come to power after Tudman’s passing. Electoral engineering in the first election and Croatian stupidity in the second and third presidential elections gave us what we have to day – a Jugoudbaska prcija.

    I don’t see how Pavelic’s nationalism was the antithesis to “Tito and Tudman’s communism” when Tudman broke with Tito in the 1960s, and was, according to Yugoslav ultranationalists, engaged in “nationalistic historical revisionism” in the 1960s – all through the 2000s ( to today.

    Tudman was jailed for “nationalism.” That and a key part of his national program was a synthesis of Radicism and Starcevicism as historically positive historical forces – both were derided by Tito and the Communists. Putting Tito and Tudman in the same basket is a grave error.

    As for the Tudman cultists – who are the Tudman cultists? Dr. Ante Nazor from HMCDR ( James Sadkovich (–politics/james-j-sadkovich–franjo-tudman-and-the-muslim-croat-war-of-1993*–325-kb-353.html)? Hrvatski Generalski Zbor (

    Pointing out the all of the Pavelic / Tito cultists’ lies, manipulations, misrepresentations and discrepencies which more or less mirror each other word for word is simply pointing out falsehoods, misrepresentations and fallacious reasoning, it is not “Tudman cultism.”

  7. I wish people in the US would acknowledge that Social Democracy is the brother of Communism…

    • closer than a brother I reckon, Helena – I see it as either a clone or communism itself in Croatia, they were called League of Communists at the time Croatia saw multiple parties form for purposes of having a democratic system and seceding from communism then a couple of year later they changed their name to Social Democrats and yes as for other countries too where they exist I I agree with you

  8. We’ve got someone here in the good old U.S. of A that needs to be punished for her lifetime of crimes; as bad as any communist.

    • Truth does catch up, Arlin, shame it’s often a long hard wait for it

      • In Hillary’s case (I know you knew who I was speaking of) its taking a lifetime.

      • Yeah, we have some such old commie pollies in Croatia too like two former presidents, grown hard skins and many around them who feed off them…I can understand the frustration of decent Americans who want her gone, not just gone but to answer for all wrongdoings to call it by a mild name

  9. It’s a start, I suppose.


  1. […] that strong pressure to stop any further prosecutions of communist crimes after the German court convicted August 2016 to 40 years imprisonment former Yugoslav communist secret police (UDBA) operatives Zdravko Mustac and Josip Perkovic for […]

Leave a Reply

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: