No Holds Barred Attacks Against Croatian Government Majority HDZ Leader

Ana Saric-Karamarko and Tomislav Karamako Photo:

Ana Saric-Karamarko and Tomislav Karamako

“They” – opposition politicians of the communist breed largely embedded in the Social Democrat parliamentary opposition in Croatia, self-professed antifascists who know bugger all about being or practicing true antifascism as well as much of the twisted left oriented media in Croatia – are still intent on destroying the coalition government mainly by staging scandals and false crises. The political arena where political combatants get at each other armed with a vicious killer instinct is, of course, nothing new for a parliamentary system of governments where the number of votes gets to be “King”. However, when the path of destruction against a political party targets its leader using blatant denial of due process then any democratic society must take a pause and take a hard look at itself. Be concerned. Very concerned.


Latest ammunition used in Croatia to try and destroy HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union that holds majority seats in the coalition government) is that of denial of due process to its president, Tomislav Karamarko. That is, the matter of possible Karamarko’s conflict of interests in relation to his wife’s previous dealings with Hungarian MOL company I referred to in my last article, has escalated to ugly media and by the opposition pressures for HDZ and its coalition partner MOST to issue statements regarding the matter, ahead of findings by the appropriate independent official body dealing with the matter.


All in all: pressure that translates into denial of due process. Ruling on the matter must occur first and then comments and statements follow naturally and as a matter of due process also.


I was most disappointed in an article by a well-known, often respected, Croatian journalist for Vecernji List, Davor Ivankovic, a couple of days ago in which he appears as if he has joined the liberal/communist/social democrat opposition in mounting no holds barred attacks against Karamarko as the person who must go from his position of party leadership and government leadership team!


Suddenly Tomislav Karamarko, leader of HDZ, the First Deputy Prime Minister, is to blamed for everything, even for an alleged dysfunctional government over which he does not even preside!


Ivankovic, in his article, talks of the planned vote of no confidence being tabled at the Parliament by the Social Democrats against Tomislav Karamarko on basis of alleged conflicts of interests to do with his wife’s private business. “…If MOST (HDZ’s coalition partner in government) holds the numbers for a quorum when the voting is on regarding Karamarko, it’s enough for them to abstain from voting, and, therefore, SDP (Social Democrats) would not collect enough votes. That would give the new HDZ leadership (HDZ general assembly coming up this coming week/before Parliament votes on no confidence) enough time to search for a new leader. Karamarko is, so to say, already in ‘free-fall’, and it’s clear that every new quake around him will start the motion of replacing him within the party. It’s thought that no one would even let a tear drop for him after 3 or 4 months…” writes Ivankovic.

There is not a mention, not a single mention of any unfairness against Karamarko in Ivankovic’s article; there’s no criticism of the Social Democrats for causing what he calls a “quake” around Karamarko when the official independent body has not even delivered its findings against allegations of conflict of interests! I have, therefore, started to wonder if Davor Ivankovic has crossed the lines of journalistic balance and joined the real destroyers: those who are purposefully and neglectfully straying away from foundations of democracy – entitlement to a due process. This surely cannot be a healthy occurrence for a society hungry for justice for victims of the Homeland War and of communist crimes to endure.


Regardless of how one feels about Tomislav Karamarko, his absence from the leadership of HDZ would signal major changes within the party that most likely would not spell political survival as Ivankovic suggests it would. It needs to be remembered that the public faith in HDZ has since May 2012 been praise-worthily and significantly restored under Karamarko’s leadership. Karamarko’s leadership gave a new lease of life to conservative or centre-right politics in Croatia; the politics that were responsible for the Homeland War victory and Croatian independence but also the politics suffering almost insurmountable unproven allegations of theft, fraud, corruption…



There is a number of people in HDZ who have arrayed themselves in opposition to Karamarko, even if they may or do not show it. A keen eye could see for a while now that appetites have been running whet for the leadership chair as well as on skinning HDZ of its popularity among the people. There has been little if any efforts from those currently eyeing a chair at the HDZ leadership table in asserting to the public that HDZ is not as “sick” as the opposition and media are making it look. The limp, lukewarm comments on major scandals by those running close to Karamarko in HDZ may not in fact be what Ivankovic calls “mentality in HDZ where no one dares to go against the chief for if you do, you lose your head,” but in fact responses that go with ambitions to be that leader once the latter falls; to be a new Karamarko to HDZ (?). In any case, there’s much to be said for loyalty to the leader in a political party – it is the superglue of political survival and unity and is a desirable quality everywhere.


Davor Ivankovic’s article suggests that HDZ is dying, but Karamarko doesn’t know it (and he should! He should step away! – he suggests). That HDZ is sick. And then Ivankovic would like us to think anything that speeds up Karamarko’s demise is to the good, because then it (HDZ) can reinvent itself and return as something healthy. No way Karamarko has caused all that alleged sickness in HDZ – the political party that only a few months ago won 59 seats in Parliament under his leadership, enough to form a coalition government!


I have problems with the approach of attacking HDZ’s leader, Karamarko, which in turn dictate the results of opinion polls and nation’s mood for dealing with real issues such as economic reform. Real issues and electoral promises always get left behind when the society is bombarded daily with scandals around personal issues of politicians or unproven allegations. This approach presumes the events of the coming years can be perfectly predicted because one can mount scandals that shape a government or party leadership and it undermines the legitimacy of the Parliament and executive.


The approach suggests opinion polls are more important than the Parliament, than the actual good Karamarko (or any member of parliament) does as a parliamentary representative.


Some principles are more important than the contest for who gets to ride in the shiniest car with the flag on the bonnet. Croatian society (any democratic society) can only properly function while its members accept the laws enacted by the parliament bind them. If Karamarko has a case to answer in the conflict of interest allegations then the ruling will be brought under the relevant law enacted by the parliament. A due process that also means innocent until proven guilty is a mandatory moral fiber all politicians and media must uphold; otherwise we’re all “going to pot”. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Exclusive Interview With General Ante Gotovina

Ante Gotovina - November 2012    Photo: Filip Brala/Pixsell

General Ante Gotovina – November 2012 Photo: Filip Brala/Pixsell

An intimate confession by General Ante Gotovina given in his family home in Pakostane after his acquittal in The Hague

Authors: Jadranka Juresko-Kero, Davor Ivankovic, Goran Ogurlic

Published in Croatia’s Vecernji List 26th and 27th November 2012. (

(Translated into English by Ina Vukic)

“I believe that our destinies are written in God’s book, and so too the fact that as a young man I went into the world and became a soldier. I believe that it’s also written in there that I return as an experienced soldier and help the homeland that was under attack in the war it did not want”.

Translated and re-published on this blog with permission from Croatia’s leading daily newspaper Vecernji List

The complete interview with General Ante Gotovina can be read here

General Ante Gotovina’s wife Dunja still a victim of cruel European Union and Croatian politics

Dunja and Ante Gotovina (Photo:Pixsell/24 sata)

An article by Croatian journalist Davor Ivankovic, “SDP will reinstate Dunja Gotovina to her job” was published in Vecernji List and translated into English.

Suffice to say, I was deeply shaken by this article.

While aware that stigma as a social phenomenon can grow its own legs in society at large and often results in stigmatisation of entire families, status loss and discrimination, one expects authorities in a democratic world to reject stigma and act in protection of families against harm that is associated with stigma.

In October 2004 Dunja Gotovina, the wife of General Ante Gotovina who was still a fugitive from ICTY (the Hague) from charges of war crimes, was labelled as “the wife of public enemy No.1”. The HDZ government of Ivo Sanader (Sanader is currently in Croatian courts charged with various counts of corruption) at the time went on a rampage against General Ante Gotovina and his “accomplices”.

Dunja Gotovina, the first female colonel of the Croatian army (had worked in the office at the headquarters in Zagreb of Croatian Ministry of Defense/MOD), 41 years old at the time, was “retired” from her duties under the excuse that “they found her to have no further career prospects based on the number of years of holding her rank, or rather that she hadn’t been promoted to a higher rank, and that she was being sent to retirement given her age and after reviewing the overall personnel potential”.

The newspaper article further says that “The Croatian MOD added: ‘She has the right to sue us if she feels aggrieved in some way. However, if she had further career prospects, she wouldn’t have been served with a notice saying otherwise.’

Naturally, Dunja Gotovina immediately asked that her rights be protected, particularly because the Retirement Institute made it clear to her that she had no legal rights to a pension. She had no help from the political structures either, and to top it off, Andrija Hebrang said to her: ‘your employment in the Ministry of Defense is an obstacle to Croatia’s accession to the EU!?’” Andrija Hebrang was Minister for Health and Social Welfare at the time.

Dunja sued for wrongful termination, 7 years ago (!), and as far as any consideration to job reinstatement or compensation are concerned, the case is still “collecting dust” in the queues of  court orders enforcements. I.e., reportedly the Croatian Administrative Court ruled in Dunja’s favour in 2006 but she still hasn’t been returned to her job. There’s also the outstanding matter of compensating Dunja’s losses.

Around that time the ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte still insisted that General Gotovina was in hiding somewhere in Croatia despite being told otherwise. But she believed no one and Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, having in mind the upcoming report to the Security Council, search for Gotovina becoming an obstacle in the progression of Croatia’s negotiations for EU membership, obeyed all her demands.

The EU authorities didn’t ask Carla Del Ponte to back-off from her cruel and unfounded allegations, either! Croatian negotiations for EU accession took a severe blow, Croatia was cruelly accused by EU of failing to arrest Gotovina as Carla Del Ponte argued Croatia was hiding him.

And now the new Defense Minister Ante Kotromanovic (Social Democrats, centre-left) says that “Dunja has been a victim of politics. I am going to enforce the court’s decisions upon the conclusion of the proceedings which have been needlessly going on for seven years now”.

It is suggested that because Ante Kotromanovic was a friend to General Ante Gotovina he has now found himself in an “unpleasant – pleasant situation”.

This strikes me as muddying the waters.

What has friendship got to do with jurisprudence!

I sincerely hope that the new Minister Kotromanovic will not bring his personal friendships into his duties as minister.

A court decision is a court decision (2006 re reinstating Dunja to her job) and it must be translated into action, regardless of personal friendships or the outstanding separate issue of compensation.

Why on earth is minister Kotromanovic talking about the two matters (wrongful termination and compensation) as if executing the court orders for one dependes on the outcome of the other?

Court order for reinstatement to job was made in 2006. It would only be a natural outcome of such order that compensation for losses follow and the court then delivers a separate order as to compensation – whether negotiated or arrived at through court hearing.

To my view, and to view of any law abiding citizen Dunja Gotovina should have been reinstated to her job the minute Kotromanovic discovered the horrible injustice. If nothing else, his discretionary powers as minister would surely allow him to act immediately upon outstanding executions of court orders pertaining to his new portfolio.

It is not enough from a new minister anywhere to gobble on about the mistakes and underhanded political actions of his/her political predecessor, he/she must act to right the wrongs.

He should execute the job reinstatement court order, reinstate Dunja Gotovina to her job and deal with the compensation as a separate matter.

I truly hope minister Kotromanovic can see the difference between the two matters. Otherwise, to my opinion, he is no better than his predecessor. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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