Croatian Six – Judicial Review May Stand Tall On The Horizon Soon (40 Years On)

It was a story that captured the attention of the entire Australian nation, indeed of the world and stunned with disbelief and grief the entire Australian Croatian community. In February of 1979 six Croatian men were arrested in Sydney and nearby Lithgow on suspected activities in terrorism, i.e., alleged plan to plant bombs around Sydney, including a major water supply to the city. In 1981 they were each sentenced to 15 years of prison and always maintained their innocence of these crimes. Judicial review of this case and associated criminal convictions had been unsuccessfully applied for several times since then. Finally, though, the matter of justice for Croatian Six appears to have taken a new turn in the positive direction and a judicial review may occur soon.

In its deliberations and response to the February 2021 Sydney barrister Sebastian De Brennan and solicitor Helen Cook’s application for a review on behalf of three of the Croatian Six – Vic Brajkovic, Maks Bebic and Mile Nekic – sentenced to prison in 1981 for a conspiracy to commit bombing terrorist act, the NSW Supreme Court has in July 2022 designated Justice Robertson Wright to decide whether a judicial review should be held into the convictions of the Croatian Six indictments that are more and more appearing as trumped-up charges with planted evidence as a result of individual ASIO officers clandestine collaboration with communist Yugoslavia UDBa. The Croatian Case has frequently during the past decades been labelled as the greatest miscarriage of justice in the entire Australian history.

Justice Wright is likely to make his decision soon after examining De Brennan’s argument for a review and the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office argument against a review. Among other material there are more than 5,000 pages of the court transcript from the dawn of the 1980’s which are filled with details demanding duly close attention.

Still, this provides the best hope ever that the Croatian Six may indeed soon come out of the dark tunnel of injustice and false accusations and receive the justice they deserve.

Soon after the 2019 publishing of Sydney based Hamish McDonald’s book on the Croatian Six case, “Reasonable Doubt: Spies, Police and the Croatian Six”, barrister Sebastian De Brennan and solicitor Helen Cook, with opinion from David Buchanan SC began working pro bono on a new application to the NSW chief justice.

To remind of the case things went down with the following events. In February of 1979 Vico Virkez, a man from former Yugoslavia, walked into the police station in the mining town of Lithgow and declared to the police that he was part of a Croatian conspiracy to plant bombs around Sydney that night. He was told to go home and not say anything to anyone about what he had said to the police. Later, writes Hamish McDonald, police arrived from Sydney, arrested him and his tenant Maks Bebic, and discovered crude gelignite bombs in Virkez’s old Valiant car. With names supplied by Virkez, police also raided three homes around Sydney, in each of which they found two half-sticks of gelignite in the possession of a total of five other Croatian Australians, Joe and Ilija Kokotovic, Anton Zvirotic, Vjekoslav “Vic” Brajkovic and Mile Nekic. Taken to the old Central Investigation Branch at the back of Central Court, the five confessed to the bomb plot, as had Bebic in Lithgow.

That was the police version, anyway, and along with Virkez’s account it was enough for a jury to convict the six men of conspiracy in a terror-bombing plan, and for Justice Victor Maxwell to sentence each of them to fifteen years’ jail in early 1981. Those decisions were upheld on appeal the following year. All served their time with maximum remissions for good behaviour and were out of prison by the end of the 1980s. Their jailing didn’t improve the Croatian community’s already blackened image at which Yugoslav communists, led by Serbs, worked very hard to achieve with lies and fabrications, writes McDonald.

Virkez, the informer, returned back to Yugoslavia soon after giving his statement evidence in Sydney court, and, given the case attracted a great deal of public interest in Australia, ABC Four Corners reporter Chris Masters travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina and tracked him down in 1991. There, on camera, Virkez revealed that he was a Serb (not a Croat as he told the police in Australia), Vitomir Misimovic. He stated unequivocally that his evidence of the bomb plot against the Croatian Six had been false, that he had been coached in what to say in court by NSW police.

The Six Croats, Max Bebic, Vic Brajkovic, Tony Zvirotic, brothers Joe Kokotovic and Ilija Kokotovic and Mile Nekic were released from prison early, after serving a total of about 10 years with custody pre and during trial counted around the time of Chris Master’s investigations that early on pointed to possible interference with justice and on account of their good behaviour.

After the interview with Virkez featured on the ABC’s Four Corners, two defence lawyers from the original trial, David Buchanan and Ian McClintock, applied to the NSW attorney-general for the convictions to be reviewed. Three years after the broadcast, attorney-general John Hannaford (1992-1995) decided against a review on the advice of two senior state government lawyers, Keith Mason and Rod Howie — advice still not public because of claimed legal privilege.

In 2012, Australian Commonwealth Attorney General Nicola Roxon refused to meet with a group of Australian Croats, known as Justice4Six, who had repeatedly asked her to launch an investigation into the knowledge and actions of the Australian Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Commonwealth Police related to the Croatian Six case. Her department responded that it would be “inappropriate” for the Attorney-General’s office to conduct a separate investigation, as an application for a review of the conviction was before the New South Wales Supreme Court from 1982.

The Australian Justice4Six group made the request for an investigation after an investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald, headed by Hamish McDonald, produced new material, which pointed to the truth of the claims that the whole thing was set up by the UDBA, the former Yugoslav intelligence service, then that information about UDBA’s involvement in the whole case had been covered up. New material that would indicate a need to review the convictions against the Croatian Six also emerged at this time, as noted by McDonald, from scholars like John Schindler of the US Naval War College about the murderous war waged on the Croatian diaspora by Yugoslavia’s security service, the UDBa, and Virkez’s withdrawal of evidence.

David Buchanan, joined by a younger lawyer, Sebastian De Brennan, put a fresh application for a judicial review to NSW chief justice Tom Bathurst, appointed after the Coalition had taken government in New South Wales the previous year. Bathurst asked an acting justice, Graham Barr, to assess whether a review was warranted. His assessment, relying on police evidence, saw no cause to prod into convictions.

In November 2016, though, another opening emerged. Military historians John Blaxland and Rhys Crawley published the third volume of the Official History of ASIO, covering 1975–89, the final years of the cold war. In a book vetted by the organisation and based on free access to its archives, they wrote that Virkez had been working as an informant to a suspected UDBa officer in the Yugoslavian consulate-general in Sydney, that ASIO regarded many of the alleged Croatian bombings as “false-flag” operations by the UDBa, and that ASIO had failed to note the seriousness of Yugoslav intelligence activity here. The result, they concluded, was the “wrongful conviction” of the Croatian Six, wrote Hamish McDonald.

In January 2018, certain files from the Commonwealth of Australia National Archives had been opened for the public including files on Vico Virkez. They show that he had been working with a communist Yugoslavia UDBa handler in the Yugoslav Sydney consulate for six months before the arrests.

After the arrests in 1979, ASIO quickly concluded Virkez was the man working with the UDBa officer and circulated this information around state police forces through an intelligence channel. The reaction at NSW police headquarters was dismay. Assistant commissioner Roy Whitelaw contacted ASIO to say that if the men’s defence team became aware of this information, “it could blow a hole right through the police case,” writes Hamish McDonald and continues: Under its chief at the time, Harvey Barnett, ASIO tried to tone down its assessment of Virkez from “agent” to mere “informant.” Barnett wrote in the file that this reduced the likelihood of ASIO’s being accused of having been party to a miscarriage of justice. Bob Hawke government’s attorneys-general, Gareth Evans and Lionel Bowen, then signed off on moves to prevent Ian Cunliffe, by then secretary of the Australian Law Reform Commission, from raising his misgivings regarding the suppression of evidence about Virkez, writes Hamish McDonald and continues:

As Whitelaw correctly saw, this blew a big hole in the case against the Croatian Six — not just the information itself but the act of hiding it. As the counsel for the NSW Crown, Reg Blanch QC, admitted in 1986, during the brief and forlorn attempt by the Croatian Six to appeal to the High Court, it was “almost automatic” that a miscarriage of justice would be created by failure to convey relevant evidence to the defence.

This cover-up was detailed in Hamish McDonald’s book on the affair, Reasonable Doubt: Spies, Police and the Croatian Six. Soon after its 2019 publishing, barrister Sebastian De Brennan and solicitor Helen Cook, with opinion from David Buchanan SC — began working pro bono on a new application to the NSW chief justice. This application is the basis upon which NSW Supreme Court has now, last month, given Justice Robertson Wright the task of advising the relevant authorities as to whether a judicial review on the Croatian Six case should be pursued. Finally, a glimpse of real hope for justice. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Patriotic Talk Is Cheap Without Active Decommunisation

In the history of every nation, including the Croatian one, there are events and happenings, be they tragic, be they joyful and victorious, which are deeply and indelibly engraved in the common national memory and which deeply define the sense of belonging and pride and the nation of people and their common purpose, national identity, and self-awareness. One of such events for the Croatian nation took place in August 1995. Operation Storm happened with unity and determination akin to a mighty force of love for freedom, lasted from the 4th to the 7th of August 1995 and was the final military move to free Croatia from the brutal and genocidal Great Serbian aggressors!

Many of the 550,000 Croats forcefully exiled by the aggressors from the 1991 beginning of the Croatian Homeland War, ethnically cleansed from their ancestral homes could finally start returning to their homes, even if these were violently and wantonly destroyed. For the Great Serbian occupiers and aggressors, it is a sad event, from which, it seems, they have unfortunately not learned any lessons. That’s why during Croatia’s celebrations of these victorious events in the defence of Croatia from brutal aggression Croatian Serbs associated with the aggression against Croatia, even those that are regretfully in coalition with the government choose not to attend celebrations but rather continue fabricating victim stories and alleging war crimes against Croats where there were none. The International criminal tribunal in the Hague had ruled that Serbs committed genocide in several parts of Croatia during their aggression against Croatia and nothing of the sort can be said, or claimed, for Croatian national strategy and policy, while Serbian policy and strategy was destruction and murder of Croats, much like what we are seeing these days is happening in Ukraine with the Russian aggressor. Faced with Serb aggression Croats were forced to defend their lives and preserve themselves.

With all this in mind one simply finds it an atrocity committed against Croatian people to have a government that chooses to embrace a coalition with Serb minority parliamentary group of representatives who were and are with those rebel Serbs that committed mass murders, rapes, torture and wanton destruction of Croats and their homes. If one were to be in a governing coalition with any Serbs in Croatia it would be with those Croatian Serbs that fought alongside with Croats to defend Croatia from Serb aggression not with those who deny the aggression and constantly work on equating the victim with the aggressor.

This government coalition with the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) in Croatia, headed by the deplorable Greater Serbia proponent Milorad Pupovac, is a travesty of natural justice and a continuation of torturing the Croatian people who defended Croatia. It certainly provides the Serb aggressor with permission to continue its anti-Croat propaganda and denial of its brutal aggression of 1990’s. It does absolutely nothing for any reconciliation in my opinion, but rather keeps the fire of bitterness and fear flickering along. Hence, I was pleasantly surprised to hear, I believe for the first time in his mandate, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic with determined resolve calling a spade a spade when it comes to Serb aggression in his speech at the official celebrations in Knin on 5th August, of Croatian victory. While previously he largely circumvented articulating in public the pressing issue for the Croatian people this time he clearly and unequivocally called Serbia and Serbs aggressors against Croatia and Croats! Given his persistent coalition with Serbs whose immediate family members were active in the brutal aggression against Croatia in 1990’s though, one must take this speech as an attempt to score political points rather than a genuine siding with the perils and sufferings of Croatian war veterans and other as a result of the Serb aggression.

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in town of Knin 5 August 2022 Photo: Pixsell

“Croats were not in charge of their own destiny for almost 900 years but lived in their territory under various foreign rulers and alien regimes until, at a time of tectonic changes in Europe, owing to the vision of President Tuđman and the courage of Croatian defenders and the unity of the entire Croatian people, we won the right to freedom and the right to our own state,” Plenkovic said in Knin, at the central event marking Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and War Veterans Day and the 27th anniversary of Operation Storm.

Of course, most of Croatians including myself would not use the word “won” as Prime Minster Plenkovic did, we would use the actual word that reflects the truth and that word is “defended” as in “we defended (amidst Serb aggression) our right to freedom and the right to our own state and won the war in which our enemy tried mercilessly to take that right away from us”!

Croatia will not tolerate questioning the character of the Homeland War as a just and legitimate war and it will not allow indictments against its war heroes, he said.

“There have been attempts lately again to malign Croatia with false and futile accusations about the expulsion of Croatian Serbs in 1995 even though it is well known that the leadership of rebel Serbs had forced them, in collaboration with Belgrade, to leave Croatia, as confirmed and proven with documents at the Hague war crimes tribunal by indicted Serb who repented their actions,” Plenkovic said.

He said Serbian indictments against Croatian pilots and Serbia’s expanding its jurisdiction to other countries were unacceptable.

The more so as it comes from a country which launched aggression against Croatia and is still not showing true readiness to acknowledge its responsibility “for the criminal enterprise of the Milosevic regime,” said Plenkovic.

Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic at Victory, Operation Storm, War Veterans, and Homeland Thanksgiving Day Ceremony in Knin, 5th August said that Croatia had a difficult journey and did not get anything for free.

Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic in town of Knin 5 August 2022 Photo: Pixsell

“I have wondered many times why we come here to this same place every year, and every year we always have something same, but also something new to say. What is it that is so powerful and how long will it draw us and guide us – is it a human aspiration and the fear of being forgotten, the dread of vanity that awaits us all when we are forgotten? Is it the messages that need to be sent persistently from this spot, sometimes seemingly in vain? But they are not in vain,” the President of the Republic of Croatia and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanovic said and continued:

“In the multitude of proverbs that people came up with, including those thought up by lawyers, those of the lawyers stick out for their emptiness and lack of content, particularly the following: ‘One who proves too much proves nothing, one who proves nothing keeps silent, one who keeps silent is defending himself with silence, and one who is defending himself with silence ends up getting hurt’,” said the President of the Republic, adding that this does not presume guilt because Croatia has nothing to be ashamed of. “Croatia had a difficult journey and did not get anything for free, but at a high price, with high interest. We were aware that in the end this country was important only to us, that we were the only ones to really care about it and that everyone else was just an observer, which of course does not mean they were enemies”.

Speaking of the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and negotiations that took place in the last 30 years, President Milanovic repeated that it is necessary to constantly reiterate that Croatia is a guarantor and signatory of the Dayton Agreement. “But that is not enough. The people who gave their lives and health for Croatia expected more – they expected our country to also be an instrument to achieve our goals and just aspirations and to use it whenever necessary. Now it is necessary,” President Milanovic underscored.

“The Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not only disenfranchised, they are insulted, and the people who led this country are also insulted, while Croatia is portrayed as the originator of a joint criminal enterprise. This is being done by the same people who received the highest decorations from Croatia for cooperation during the war. That was forgotten. Croatia must oppose that,” he said, adding that Croatia is not a passive observer, but an active member of the international community that did not join the EU and NATO to be a beneficiary of European funds, but “to use the instruments available to us for our own interest, including to defy those who want to devalue us.”

Talk is cheap when appropriate actions do not follow in support of what one says. As to Croatian Prime Minister and President’s cheap talk or lip service regarding Operation Storm and Homeland War Victory in general is concerned, the talk will cease to appear cheap once both the Prime Minister and the President shake off completely from their ingrained identity and mindset their loyalty to communist Yugoslavia ideals, once the government’s institutions fund Croatian truth contents in arts and sciences, movies and documentaries (instead of funding pro-communist era ones), once the laws of the country prohibit communist insignia and symbols, once they define the modern Croatia with the victory in the Homeland War and discard once and for all the ludicrous and false idea that communists gave Croatia liberty and independence in May 1945. Nothing could be further from the truth as the communists forced Croatia to stay in Yugoslavia, not be independent, be undermined and oppressed by its Serb leaders and the same is permitted to this day! Cease the government coalition with Croatian Serbs and other pro-communist Yugoslavia ethnic minorities who entered the parliament on account of a couple of hundred votes from ethnic minority communities. Change the laws so that ethnic minorities in Croatia receive the benefits and rights on an equal footing away from having a seat in parliament for there are Serbs in Croatia who are also considered minority but sided in Homeland War with Croats; same goes for the Roma or Italian minorities in Croatia, etc. Decommunise Croatia and patriotic talk will cease to be cheap. Ina  Vukic       

Sabre-Rattling in Bosnia and Herzegovina

July 2022, Protesters gather outside the Office of the High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Photo: David I. Klein)

For a couple of years now a political crisis looming in Bosnia and Herzegovina has escalated during the past two months towards a crisis worse than the one during the 1992-1995 war that saw 100,000 people killed, that saw genocide committed by Serb aggressor, that saw Bosnian Muslims import Islamic Mujahideen forces in the process of slaughtering Bosnian Croats as if their slaughter by the Serbs was not enough. The Croat population in Bosnia and Herzegovina has reduced drastically since 1995 and is now threatened to become an ethnic minority in cantons or areas across the country instead of remaining one of three Constitutional peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina nationally. The Electoral laws have permitted Muslims to elect Croat representatives and, contrary to Serb and Muslim population Croats have for years been denied the exclusive right to elect their own representatives into the parliament and other assemblies that carry on the governing within the country.

Christian Schmidt, the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina overseeing implementation of the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the devastating war, said on several occasions in the past few months that leaders of the country’s Bosnian Serb-dominated entity (Republika Srpska/ Serbian Republic) have systematically challenged Dayton Agreement provisions and intensified their activities aimed at usurping powers granted to the federal government. While the Dayton Accords successfully ended the massacres, this arrangement currently exacerbates problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Namely, the creation of the ‘Republika Srpska’ and the tripartite presidency essentially rewarded Bosnian Serb leaders of the Bosnian War with unimpeachable influence over the new Bosnian state. The clear ethnic divisions inherent in Bosnia’s two entities as well as its ethnically segregated presidencies enables its leaders to pit their ethnic groups against each other for political gain and Croats being in lesser numbers in the Federation are systematically being oppressed and quashed by Bosniak/Muslim powers.

High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, German diplomat Christian Schmidt, Schmidt is the eighth international administrator in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the end of the 1992-1995 war. EPA-EFE/FEHIM DEMIR

The U.S.-brokered Dayton peace agreement (1995) established two separate entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina — one run by Bosnia’s Serbs (Republika Srpaska) and another – Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina – dominated by the Bosniaks (Muslims) but also consisting of Croats where both Muslims and Croats were to have equal status and power. The two entities are bound together by joint central institutions, and all-important decisions must be backed by both. But when Muslims elect Croat representatives to the parliament and assemblies the issue has been that such representatives have not fully acted in the interests of Croats.

Schmidt said in his May 2022 report to the U.N. Security Council that the actions by the Bosnian Serb entity, known as Republika Srpska, “not only erode the fundamentals of the agreement, but directly threaten to undo more than 25 years of progress in building up Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state firmly on the path towards European Union integration.”

In July 2021, the UN Security Council rejected a resolution put forward by Russia, which has close ties to the Bosnian Serbs, and Moscow’s ally China that would have stripped the powers of the international High Representative immediately and eliminated the position entirely in one year.

The High Representative’s powers have come under criticism from Bosnian Serbs for not offering the possibility of appealing his decisions, which have immediate effect. The Office of the High Representative has dismissed dozens of officials, including judges, civil servants, and members of parliament, since its inception, and overturned other actions.

Schmidt said Republika Srpska’s government and National Assembly have sought to chip away at state institutions by creating parallel bodies in the Bosnian Serb entity. At the same time, he said, representatives from Republika Srpska elected or appointed to the National Assembly and state institutions either don’t participate in decision-making or block decisions not in the interests of Bosnian Serbs.

“This has the effect of impeding the state’s ability to function and exercise its constitutional responsibilities,” Schmidt said.

He pointed to “non-existent” legislative output, stalled reforms required to advance toward EU membership, international agreements on hold, and the failure to adopt a state-level budget for the second year in a row.

On April 16, 2022, Schmidt suspended a law adopted by Republika Srpska that would have enabled the Bosnian Serbs to take over state-owned property on their territory, calling it unconstitutional. Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said in an interview that action by Schmidt couldn’t stop the law from taking effect.

Another contentious issue has been the lack of agreement between Bosniaks and Croats in the federation on electoral reforms, which Schmidt said has prompted Croat parties to cast doubt on the holding of the 2022 general elections (due 2nd October, that decide the makeup of Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, national, entity and cantonal governments), including by withholding financing for the elections.

Bosnian Croats have for years now claimed debilitating discrimination and demanded that the voting system be changed to make sure that Bosnian Croats alone choose Croat representatives. Bosniak officials have denied the claims and talks on the election reform have been stuck and shape the critical stage of the political crisis currently stifling the country.

Schmidt insists the 2022 general elections will be held in October under the same rules as in 2018, even though at that time calls for electoral laws changes were loud with many believing that the election results were illegal because the electoral laws were not changed to exclusively enable the Croats to vote for their own representatives.

UN Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, recently called for Bosnian politicians to “turn the page on rhetoric and policies of division,” and instead, “focus on promoting the rights of everyone across the country, and to build an inclusive and democratic future, based on equality of all citizens.” For this to happen, the leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina need to stop being politically rewarded for stirring ethnic strife OR permit equal rights and equal representation in governments of all three Constitutional peoples as designed by the Dayton Agreement. The desire for power (especially Bosniak and Serb) has led Bosnian leaders to lean towards divisive, sectarian politics that allow them to deflect from their own failures. Creating a more inclusive political system that addresses and respects ethnic differences without being solely defined by them would perhaps be an answer.

Christian Schmidt is adamant to impose measures for the re-functioning of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) entity, which include Electoral law changes and changes to the Federation Constitution. The changes to the Constitution, for example, mean that Bosnia’s constituent nations under Dayton Agreement – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs – if their numbers in any Federation entity canton are less than 3 per cent, will no longer have representatives in the House of Peoples of the Federation parliament. This possibility has created uproars on all sides as it seriously weakens the strength of a constitutional people on national level. The political atmosphere of intolerance and sabre-rattling in Bosnia and Herzegovina is seriously escalating, while Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and President Zoran Milanovic are also at loggerheads regarding the best approach that would see Bosnian Croats receive their due powers and rights and avoid a terrible destiny of being reduced to an ethnic minority in the country or obsolete as far as governing of the country is concerned. 

In his Press Release of 28 July 2022, Christian Schmidt said that irresponsible rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina must stop: “Warmongering and inflammatory statements, such as this one by Mr. (Bekir) Izetbegovic, are dangerous and hark back to the tragic conflict in the 1990s. They spread fear amongst all citizens, add to tensions, and in no way contribute to the promotion of cooperation, stability, and reconciliation in the country. Mr. Izetbegovic, together with all political leaders, should work on finding ways to keep the youngest and the brightest in the country instead of advocating for robots to replace them,” said the High Representative.

Considering the legislative and constitutional changes Schmidt looks to impose in Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said this week:  “We hope that the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt, will take steps that will ensure at least minimal equality for Croats after the elections on 2 October.”  From where I am standing it is deeply concerning that Plenkovic talks of “minimal equality”, thus planting the idea that he would be happy with crumbs for Bosnian Croats rather than an equal slice of the power bread loaf. Quite scandalous and cowardly really. Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic has been quite clear and stronger in expressing his views. “Across (the border) they are threatening war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They threaten war. Sefik Dzaferovic (Muslim member of Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency), who was a Mujahideen hostess in 1993, the man was in the committee for welcoming Mujahideen in the security unit in Zenica, now he and his boss are threatening war, drones. That’s a bigger topic for me than anything else. They are trying to beat up the Croatian people there… What is going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina is raging and threatening and politically endangering a nation of people. The issue of national security is not Ukraine, but Bosnia and Herzegovina. The language of hatred and intolerance is rampant in the streets of Sarajevo. The High Representative is being threatened, he can blame himself for that, because he is amending the Election Law and the Federation Constitution, which does not give Croats anything, but even that is considered a bit too much. He panics under the pressure of the Mahallas and Kasabs, the pub, the street or the Berlin police …,” Milanovic told the media during this week.

Bosnian Croats appear almost as an endangered species in that political environment with inadequate voices and inadequate propping supports from outside, from official Croatia. Bosnian Croats want to ensure that only Croats can vote for the Croat presidency by creating their own electoral district, to ensure that Bosniaks/Muslims cannot use loopholes in the existing electoral law that allow them to vote for Croat representatives as they have been doing and thus endangering Croat interests and rights. On the other hand, if public claims threaded through the media that Christian Schmidt is aiming to Islamise Bosnia and Herzegovina surface with substance then it will be clear that Croats are to be more disadvantaged than ever regardless Schmidt’s new proposed legislative changes that aim to provide freedom of all Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens to return to their homes where they had lived before the 1990’s war without fear or impediment. As 2nd October draws near this sabre rattling that’s been happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina will either die down or increase in intensity to perhaps a new armed conflict with alarming consequences beyond the country’s borders. Ina Vukic 

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