Croatia: Resurrecting Communism Cunningly Dressed Up As Antifascism

For three months now I have been in Croatia, after a three-year pause due to pandemic circumstances that prevented travel out of Australia for the most part out of that period. These three years have culminated in a reality where, in Croatia, one cannot but notice the alarming atmosphere, both cultural and political, where it’s impossible not to feel that the governing and other powers, which are of communist breed, are trying to erase the 1990’s Homeland War as the foundation of today’s independent Croatia. State funded cultural events and political ones most often try and resurrect as freedom-bearers World War Two communist partisans (who murdered and massacred hundreds of thousands of Croatian freedom-fighters and Croat civilians who rejected communism and Yugoslavia) while totally in that process ignoring the fact that the 1990’s War of defence against the Yugoslav Army and Serb aggression was gloriously victorious. These communists of Yugoslavia have “christened” themselves, undeservedly, as antifascists. The latter undoubtedly so to avoid prosecution for communist crimes and genocide (during and post WWII) against the Croatian people predominately based on political beliefs. Croatian Homeland War was victorious and sealed Croatia’s independence and secession from communist Yugoslavia and yet, compared to cultural events such as publications funded by the state such as art exhibitions, motion pictures or movies, daily or weekly press, television, etc. that promote the communist era disturbingly outnumber those that promote the Homeland War! Funding for those that promote the Homeland War and Croatian truth are mainly and overwhelmingly left to the generosity of private charitable donors and to personal sacrifices of those who stand behind such efforts as are portraying the Homeland War as the true and only fighting determinant of today’s independent Croatia. It is a fact that former communists of Yugoslavia on the main did not want this independent Croatia and did not fight for it but rather deserted the cruel and bloody 1990’s battlefields and, hence, in there may lie the motive to accentuate the World War Two battlefield and undermine the 1990’s Homeland War one?  

The former communists of Yugoslavia have perfected their abominable political trade in Croatia, giving life to something that never was: Croatian WWII independence fighters labelled as fascists and Nazis! And the Croatian tax-payer money unwittingly, without having any control over it, pays for this! The European Union and its Commission, who have long ago condemned all totalitarian regimes, including the communist one, tolerate this and permit symbols and values of communism, dressed up as some antifascism, to tear the Croatian nation apart! 

All in all, this is a terrible state for a country forged in the bloody war to be in. It is a boiling breeding ground of restless discontent and a ground from which sprout urges to justify in one way or another that the defence from the brutal communist rulers and Serbs was just and chosen by 94% of voters in April/May 1991! It is undoubtedly the result of the past twenty-three-year campaign to equate the victim and the aggressor from the Homeland War and the Serb lobby being well-oiled by Croatian tax-payer funds!

It is yet to be seen whether Croatia and its political landscape is creating the nation-wide dissent that occurred among freedom-loving Croatian people during communist Yugoslavia totalitarian regime.

We are in the month of June, and it is apt here, in line with dissent from and against communist oppression and political engineering and what it can generate among freedom-loving people to remember June 1972. On 20.06.1972 the Croatian patriotic paramilitary group called “Mountain fox” (Ambroz Andric, Adolf Andric, Pavao Vegar, Ilija Glavas, Djuro Horvat, Vejsil Keskic, Viktor Kancijanic [Kocijancic], Petar Bakula, Ludvig Pavlovic, Mirko Vlasnovic, Ilija Lovric, Filip Beslic, Stipe Ljubas, Vlado Miletic. Vinko Knez, Ivan Prlic, Nikola Antunac, Vilim Ersek, Vidak Buntic) entered the territory of communist Yugoslavia with the aim of raising a rebellion and overthrowing the constitutional and legal order of that time. The group is known as the Bugojno Group or the Phoenix Group and was organised by the Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood (HRB), a secret organisation, which was founded in 1961 in Australia, and which operated in Europe and the USA. The main goal of the HRB was the liberation of Croatia from Yugoslavia, and the idea arose after the brutal suppression of the Croatian Spring in 1971 within Yugoslavia by which political activities sought to achieve greater autonomy for Croatia within the oppressive communist Yugoslav regime, when the HRB concluded that a favourable climate had been created in Croatia for the initiation of an armed uprising. After a short preparation, HRB organised manpower, weapons and financial support to send the initial group, which had the task of starting an uprising in the areas of southern Croatia, Lika and Herzegovina. Most of the fighters and money came from Australia, while the military equipment was procured in Germany. Short final preparations were made in the camp at Garanas in Austria, along the Austrian-Yugoslav border, and Yugoslavia was entered in the area of Dravograd in Slovenia. However, after only five days, the group clashed with the Yugoslav militia, and then with the Yugoslav People’s Army and the Territorial Defence. Against the Group of 19 men were more than 30,000 members of these Yugoslav police and military formations who set out destroying the Group, to finally succeed in this on July 24, with the help of informers and the UDBA/Yugoslav Secret Services. Ten members of the group lost their lives during the conflict in different places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and eight were captured and executed without trial by shooting near Sarajevo. The only survivor was the youngest member of the group, Ludvig Pavlovic, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and later died (killed) as a Croatian defender in the 1990’s Homeland War.

Bugojno or Phoenix Group 1972

Looking into the mirror from today’s perspective of increasing civil as well as government opposition dissent from the Croatian political, pro-communist Yugoslavia landscape, both in intensity and number, those who know that the revolution is a process, not an event, see the reflection of an image which tells us that Bugojno is only one event in a revolutionary process, therefore only a part of the Croatian revolution for freedom and independence. From this point of view, and from the point of view of the victorious 1990’s Homeland War, the value of the Bugojno Group of 1972 cannot be written about either as a complete success or as a complete failure, but it can be seen as a humanly costly result of communist oppression and repression. Its value is highest from the vantage of courage and determination for freedom that communist oppression had generated on individual and group bases.  

All manner of corruption in Croatia remains a serious and widespread problem and is repeatedly raised as a frustrating obstacle to economic and democracy development. Given that corruption became the prevalent means of survival and advancement in communist Yugoslavia society it was not viewed as such then. Those anti-democracy traits have survived even the Homeland War!  The government has taken various actions, including highly publicised purges of corrupt officials and heads of public companies, but these so far fail to convince either domestic or international critics of the government’s sincerity. As during the communist Yugoslavia regime, the power remains “behind the counter” and not with the client or consumers of public services; this often translates into practices of seeking connections “behind the counter” or paying bribes to officials for everything and anything – from accessing reputable medical practitioner in the public health system, receiving the right information as to the process for citizenship applications and necessary documentation, to avoiding paying traffic infringements. Relevant laws and regulations are still exposed to interpretations of different officials standing behind the public service counters! 

Also, under enormous pressure and scrutiny are outspoken critics of the government from employers, the academic and intellectual communities in receipt of government funds.

This, coupled with the alarming push to wipe out the values of the 1990’s War of Independence, also known as the Homeland War, paints a bleak picture especially for those who sacrificed their life and limb for independence and democracy and for those holding the Homeland War as the carrier wall and foundation for today’s Croatia. 2024 is a mega election year for Croatia for all levels of government and power and unless the bulk of eligible voters wake up from a twenty-year sleep, which created the breeding ground for the rise of communist mental set in the corridors of power and nostalgia for communist Yugoslavia, anything can be expected – even a kind of a focused revolution that would target lustration from power the former communists and their descendants who protect them and their criminal deeds of the past. Croatia is sliding fast into an authoritarian rule heavily laced with former communist Yugoslavia values and helped by electoral engineering. The wakeup call to voters to save the independent Croatia created through the 1990’s war is becoming louder and louder. Ina Vukic

Croatia must not yield to Serbia’s intimidation

ICJ Trial Chamber 2008

Croatian online news portal Vjesnik reports Friday 27 April that Slobodan Homen from Serbia’s ministry of Justice gave a statement to Serbia’s Evening News in which he said:

We are very interested in achieving an agreement on relinquishing the cases for war crimes. Croatia has 1500 such cases against Serbs, and we only have 40 against Croatians. We are close to completing the final version of the text, and when elections are over, talks on withdrawing the lawsuit for genocide will commence”.

Talks on withdrawing reciprocal international lawsuits between Croatia and Serbia for genocide will commence as soon as elections are over in Serbia, said Homen, the secretary of Serbian ministry of justice.

The Serbian Evening News reported that Croatian and Serbian departments of Justice are currently conciliating the text of a bilateral agreement regarding relinquishment of war crimes lawsuits that are currently before the courts in Serbia and Croatia.

Homen said that initialing of such a document is the main prerequisite for agreement to end the reciprocal proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for genocide.

The main hearing for genocide in Croatia is expected to commence at the ICJ during the first half of 2013.

In July 1999 Croatia filed a case for genocide against Serbia. The genocide as it occurred during the Serb aggression in Croatia 1991 – 1995, Croatian War of Independence. In 2008 ICJ ruled it has jurisdiction to hear the case.

In 2010 Serbia filed a countersuit against Croatia. Croatia must file its additional reply to Serbia’s counter suit by 30 August 2012.

Serbia’s countersuit contains material on Serbian-Croatian relations with accent on World War II and the killing of Serbs in the Jasenovac camp during that war.

By extending the timeline addressed in this ICJ case to WWII Serbia seems to be looking at justifying or mitigating its main role in genocide in Croatia during 1991 – 1995. That is, telling the world: look what Croatians did to our people in 1941 – 1945!

How abhorrent!

If Serbia’s countersuit is anything to go by, then it is plainly clear that Serbia has no intentions of admitting any wrongdoing, any genocidal rampage against Croatia, ever.

Let’s hope that Croatia’s current government and the Opposition see this and that Croatia does not withdraw its genocide claim against Serbia in the ICJ. By withdrawing Croatia would give into Serbian intimidation when there is absolutely no reason for Croatia to feel guilty.

Today’s Croatia, Croatia of 1991 – 1995, cannot be answerable for events that occurred in 1941, if not for any other reason then for the fact that 1941 Croatia was not a united political entity, but split into three major opposing and antagonistic factions: pro-Fascist, pro-Communist and neutral. Serbia’s unrelenting ways of painting the whole of Croatian nation as being anti-Serb are abominable, and inherent in its countersuit at the ICJ.

This is one of the main reasons why Croatia must pursue with the genocide case against Serbia at the ICJ – to clear its name and do justice for the individual victims and to do justice to the nation of Croatia once and for all. Croatia must never forget that, as opposed to WWII events, the 1991-1995 years were about 94% of Croatian people voting to secede from communist Yugoslavia and Serbia employing genocidal aggression in order to try and stop Croatia from achieving independence. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Nope! Croatia cannot be a friend of the ICTY court!

Croatia is liberated from Serb occupation August 1995, dr Franjo Tudjman congratulates the forces

ICTY Appeal Chamber has February 8 rejected the application by the government of Republic of Croatia for Friend of the court (amicus curiae) status in the Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac appeal.

Knowing the attitude that the ICTY seemed to have saddled itself with from its beginnings – don’t trust people because all are guilty – such a rejection, albeit saddening and troublesome, comes with no real surprise. Given that the ICTY Prosecution went on a rampage against the whole of the Croatian leadership with its theory of joint criminal enterprise (i.e. that Croats drove the Serbs out of Croatia in August 1995 at the end of the liberating Operation Storm) the chance of Croatian State being approved as a Friend of the court was slim.

Brief timetable of submissions:

  •   18 October 2006, ICTY Trial Chamber refused Croatia’s application for amicus curiae status/ to intervene in the case, assist the court;
  •   This application – refused;
  • 16 December 2011 Croatia files another submission for amicus curiae status – marked confidential;
  • 30 December 2011 the Prosecution files a response to Croatia’s submission – marked confidential;
  • 3 January 2012 Croatia files a reply to the Prosecution’s response – marked confidential.

Croatia’s claim, among others, was that since the Trial Chamber had named in its April 2011 judgment against Gotovina and Markac several members of the government at the time, then the government has a right to intervene and explain its position.

Nothing wrong with that logic, as far as I can see. Indeed, if a third party is named in a court’s guilty judgment, without being heard, one would assume that third party has a right of reply – at least. But, the logic of natural justice seems to elude many sectors of the ICTY.

Of course, the Prosecution claimed that States do not have the right to intervene or file statements of interest!

The mind boggles! Why does the ICTY have a right to point the finger at States (or its top government officials as a group) then, if its case is against individuals!?

Tthe Appeals Chamber has found that allowing Croatia’s national interests to enter into the case (Croatia’s application as amicus curiae) is beyond the scope of issues on Appeal.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

The issues on Appeal are centred around joint criminal enterprise concocted by the Trial Chamber not only against Gotovina or Markac, but against government leaders of Croatian state, who represent national interests in anyone’s books, except the ICTY’s.

The contradictions in all of this are staggering. The court and the Prosecution judge Gotovina and Markac individually for a joint enterprise, which according to the court was planned and executed by a group of people it names, and yet that group has no right to defend or explain itself in the same court. No doubt in my mind: the Prosecution at the ICTY has strapped blinkers on and refuses to even acknowledge fairness, or look sideways where the full truth lies or may lie. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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