Another Croatian Maliciously Convicted By Yugoslav Communist Regime – Rehabilitated

Filip Lukas
B: 26 April 1871
D: 26 June 1958

Zagreb county court on Thursday 20 July 2017 published its decision to quash the verdicts that communist Yugoslav “people’s” courts handed down on 21 November 1945 convicting and pronouncing death-by-firing-squad sentence to academic Filip Lukas, in absentia, over his close ties with the WWII Independent Croatia movement. Wise and careful, Prof. Lukas fled Croatia just before the communist Partisans entered Zagreb and lived in Rome, Italy, to his death in 1958.

The communist Yugoslav courts convicted and sentenced him to death because of his academic and publishing works, which makes his case very revealing example of the maliciousness and depravity the Yugoslav “antifascists” operated during WWII and after it. His only “crime” was that he headed the Croatian Matica (Matrix) organisation (mainly promoting Croatian culture and connecting Croatian communities throughout the world) from 1928 to 1945 and for being chief editor of “Our Homeland” journal. His case had been hidden from the Croatian public until about 2008 when researchers found documents relating to it buried in State archives in Zagreb.

The court in Zagreb on Thursday 20 July decided in favour of the conservative Christian NGO ‘In the Name of the Family’, which filed in January 2017 the request for the review of the case and for Lukas’s rehabilitation. The NGO’s attorney Kresimir Planinic had said at the time that “we want to expose the way in which the communist totalitarian regime functioned and in which many Croats suffered and perished… We want to correct the injustice and help remember our Croatian historical greats from who we can learn a great deal for both today’s and future Croatian opportunities.”

“It has been established that Filip Lukas was convicted for politically criminal actions, of verbal political offense, which was a result of the obvious abuse of the political power exercised in the criminal proceedings by the then communist authorities that violated internationally recognised principles of juridical states, such as the principle of lawfulness and the principle of applying a more lenient law,” said the Zagreb court decision from Thursday 20 July 2017. The court explained that at Lukas’s trial, the Yugoslav courts used a law that was passed in 1945, although he was tried for alleged acts dating from the 1941-44 period. The 1945 law provided for courts to prosecute alleged crimes committed before it came into force, but only if the sanctions are more lenient than in the law in force at the time of the crimes. The court also, among other errors made in the Yugoslav courts at the time of Lukas’ conviction in 1945, pointed out that there was no death sentence in the previous law (the law prior to 1945) for the crimes of which Lukas was convicted, so the 1945 law was incorrectly applied in his case.

Zagreb county court in July last year also annulled a verdict convicting Croatian WWII-era Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, arguing that he did not get a fair trial under the Yugoslav Communist regime.

Today’s “antifascists” (pro-Yugoslav communism lot) will try and justify Luka’s 1945 communist court conviction by saying that Lukas supported the WWII Independent State of Croatia regime headed by Ante Pavelic and the Ustashe. It appears they hold the Orwellian neologism – thoughtcrime – as something that should perhaps be practiced today; thought, speech and actions control – just like their communist predecessors practiced years before George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” came into being! Beliefs contrary to the communist norms were indeed a crime in post-WWII Yugoslavia as Lukas’ case evidences.

“Our Homeland” Journal
Croatia 1943

For libertarians, the idea that courts can weigh the thought, belief, or emotional affect behind an act is chilling. Hate itself counts for nothing in criminal law. Violence counts for a lot. Hate paired with violence, under hate crimes laws, counts for even more. Like the neutrino, hate has no mass, but it changes things. In a free society it should be axiomatic that only action, never thought, can be subject to punishment. Lukas was never a man of violent acts nor of incitement to violent acts and certainly 1945 his indictment did not list any.

It needs to be said that, during the times of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia hatred for Croatian self-determination in Serbia saw Serbia’s politicians publicly call for the murder of Croatia’s leader Stjepan Radic and his Croatian parliamentary colleagues from the Croatian Peasant Party – and in 1928 Punisa Racic did just that while the parliament was in session in Belgrade. Post-WWII Yugoslav communist totalitarian regime continued with the same practices. Not aligning in thought and belief with the communist regime was a crime, regardless of whether such thoughts or beliefs were displayed during or after WWII.

While Croatia’s criminal law today provides for hate speech sanctions if such speech is practiced with a clear aim of spreading racial, religious, gender, national, ethnic hatred, or hatred based on skin colour or sexual orientation, or other characteristics, or with the aim to disdain, publicly promotes thoughts of racial superiority, ethnic or religious superiority … it is there to be adhered to by all, for obvious reasons that engage a civil society into respecting freedoms of thought and speech, without casualties. The lesson “antifascist” reactions during the past few days to the rehabilitation of Filip Lukas teach are those that point to the sad reality that, regardless of the fact that the Zagreb court delivered a just annulment of the 1945 Lukas verdict, today’s communist mindset present in Croatia must be eradicated. Bit by bit, if it cannot be achieved with speed. Court cases that prod into the past communist judicial injustice, like Lukas and Stepinac ones, go a fair way toward achieving this.

There is much that we can do, through individual, collective, and governmental action, to heal the wounds of an unjust and hateful past. A self-confident, mature democracy (which Croatia is yet to become with our help) that trusts its own capacity for public debate can afford to leave the policing of mind and tongue to the North Koreans, but not to the recycled communists in Croatia who wrongfully call themselves antifascists and who keep throwing spanners into democratic and just anti-communist works that are essential if Croatia is truly to become a full democracy. Ina Vukic


  1. It’s good that he managed to live out his life, but sad that he couldn’t return to his native country.

  2. yayyyyyyyyyy!!!

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