Finally But Poor Justice For Croatian Civilians Horrendously Tortured By Yugoslav Army In Morinj, Montenegro, 1991-1992

Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992  Photo:

Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992 Photo:

For the people of Dubrovnik (Croatia), Morinj is a symbol of horrendous sufferings endured by the Dubrovnik’s residents who ended up in Morinj (near Kotor, Montenegro) concentration camp. From the total of 440 Croats from Dubrovnik who suffered torture at the hands of Serb and Montenegrin camps 300 of them endured the horrors of Morinj camp; some 200 of these suffered abuse of unimaginably cruel proportions.  In Morinj camp most were tortured in the most horrible and insufferable ways, many are to this day suffering chronic Post Traumatic Disorder as one of the nightmarish consequences of utterly horrific tortures and trauma.
Pobjeda news portal (Montenegro) reports that four out of six men originally indicted and now retried on charges of war crimes (against Croatian civilian population between October 1991 and August 1992) and relating to concentration camp Morinj have been convicted Wednesday 31 July to a total of 12 years imprisonment. They are Ivo Menzalin (4 years), Boro Gligic and Spiro Lucic (3 years) and Ivo Gojnic (2 years).  While the defence for these four men has announced that it will appeal the judgment, the special prosecutor Lidija Vukcevic said in the Podgorica supreme court that their guilt for the war crimes had been proven beyond any doubt.

The summary of the horror story behind these horrible crimes perpetrated in Morinj concentration camp against Croats from Dubrovnik goes like this:

In 1991, as part of Serbia’s war against Croatia, Yugoslav Army units led by Montenegrin officers and full of Montenegrin reservists ravaged many of the villages in the southernmost tip of Croatian Dalmatia and shelled the historic port and World Heritage city of Dubrovnik, causing millions of euros in damage and hundreds of civilian deaths. Throughout the duration of the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro remained in a federal state with Serbia until 2003.

In 1997, Montenegro expressed regret for its part in the wars and the consequent atrocities. However, the process of coming to terms with the past has been selective and superficial.

“Rat za mir” (“war for peace”), was the cynical slogan under which Montenegrin politicians backed the Yugoslav Army’s campaign in southern Croatia.

Croat prisoners in Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992 Photo:

Croat prisoners in Morinj concentration camp 1991/1992

In 2004-05, the ICTY in The Hague found former Montenegrin admiral Miodrag Jokic and General Pavle Strugar guilty of war crimes and sentenced each of them to eight years’ imprisonment. Attacks on Dubrovnik’s civilians bore a special place in the verdicts.

The Morinj camp war crimes prosecution began in 1998 in Montenegro’s Podgorica city, adjourned several times and retried (with same verdicts both times) … a profile of criminal justice process akin to circumstances where denial of crimes and profound lack of will by Montenegrin authorities and politicians to get stuck into the business of delivering justice where justice must be done had littered and undermined any path for reconciliation. Whether this latest verdict will in fact contribute to some semblance of healing for the victims remains to be seen. The chances for that, though, seem very slim as a significant number of Montenegrin politicians look the other way, barely acknowledging that horrible crimes were perpetrated even though an “apology” for the same war crimes had trickled through albeit with muffled resolve some years ago. Perhaps it is due to this pathetic attitude towards crimes that the sentences received by the four men for Morinj concentration camp are so obscenely inadequate. I pray for the health of those victims whose horrific times spent in Morinj must be revisiting them right now as intensified nightmares and horrendous flashbacks – all because justice has betrayed them. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


Croatia: Dubrovnik Summer Festival 2013 – Verdi and Wagner’s Meeting Place!

No doubt about it: for a person on the trail of cultural uplifting, musical extravaganza, basking in the splendour and achievements in performing and fine arts … Croatia is the place to lower your anchors in during summer months, in particular. The festival atmosphere filled with enthusiasm has been building up via thrilling crescendos for decades now – despite the horrible war of the 1990’s Croatia endured.

It’s Dubrovnik’s turn to crank up the entertainment volume for the coming month.

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is an annual celebration of music, dance, opera, and theatre. This year, from July 10 to August 25, the city will once again become a big stage that’s guaranteed to offer the best performances and exhibitions of talented artists and performers from Croatia and worldwide – for the 64th time!

During 47 festival days, more than 2000 artists from all over the world will take part in more than 130 theatrical, musical, operatic, ballet and folklore events in around twenty Dubrovnik site-specific venues.

This year’s theatre program includes three premieres, two repeat plays, one remake play and five guest performances. The premiere theatre program will open in the City Hall with a Bobo Jelčić and Nataša Rajković project Allons enfants, featuring – apart from the actors’ team – the residents of Dubrovnik, and portraying in a humorous way the city’s present-day moment.

Boris Bakal’s project Father Courage, inspired by Bertolt Brecht, develops in several parallel images, taking place in five locations at the same time.

Fort Lovrjenac Dubrovnik Croatia

Fort Lovrjenac Dubrovnik Croatia

Staged at Fort Lovrjenac by Tomi Janežić, with Alen Liverić in the role of Socrates, Plato’s mono-drama the Trial of Socrates deals with the questions of conformism and the courage of individuals to think for themselves, the questions of authority and young people, home and exile, the death penalty and death itself.

The legendary Vojnović’s and Juvančić’sEquinox – the winner of five Croatian Theatre Awards, premiered in 2004 at the 55th Dubrovnik Summer Festival – returns after five years. The repeat performances include Stulli’s Kate Kapuralica, directed by Dario Harjaček, and Euripides’ Medea, directed by Tomaž Pandur.

The Festival will play host to Croatia’s Best Play in 2012, I. Š. Kuči’s Unterstadt, directed by Zlatko Sviben and performed by the Croatian National Theatre of Osijek; the Histrion Theatre Company and the mono-drama My Case; the Croatian National Theatre of Šibenik and the adaptation of Molière’s The Miser; and the Marin Držić Theatre with The Brothers Karamazov, directed by Dejan Projkovski. Croatia’s first clown play for grown-ups The Nightingale, directed by Lee Delong and performed by the Triko Circus Theatre, promises the festival audience plenty of laughter.

This year’s program also includes performances of the Triko Circus Theatre with a number of street-theatre shows. Entitled Kaleidoscope, this is a work-in-progress project in three seven-day phases. The themes and structure of the shows will change on a daily basis, from «on the move» performances on stilts to street spectacles in the new circus style.

The Slovene National Theatre of Maribor will present their acclaimed production of Prokofiev ballet Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Valentina Turcu. Within the Festival’s OFF Programme, the Croatian Writers’ Association, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and Mani Gotovac in the role of project leader have created the program To Love and Cherish You. Named after a verse by Luko Paljetak, the project will present five renowned writers who, each in his own way, talk about love; each presentation being a small festival premiere.

Comprising around 40 screenings, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s Film Program is more extensive than ever. It will take place at the Jadran and Slavica open-air cinemas. Zlatko Vidačković, Artistic Director of the Pula Film Festival, has made a selection of the finest films from the world’s most prestigious festivals, including the Pula Film Festival; the screenings will be attended by film artists. The program entitled Filmokaz consists of films based on Oscar Wilde plays.

Linđo Folk Ensemble  Photo:DLJI

Linđo Folk Ensemble Photo:DLJI

The performances of Linđo Folklore Ensemble and art exhibitions at the Sponza Palace continue to be part of the Festival’s OFF Programme. This year they will include Duško Šibl’sTwo Backward Glances and Jagoda Buić’s Carta canta 2”.

60th Dubrovnik Summer Festival opening

60th Dubrovnik Summer Festival opening

Dubrovnik Croatia

Dubrovnik Croatia

Onofrio's Fountain Dubrovnik  Photo: wikimedia

Onofrio’s Fountain Dubrovnik Photo: wikimedia

“The Festival’s music program will mark the 200th anniversary of the births of Verdi and Wagner with a gala opera program entitled 1913 – Verdi vs. Wagner (featuring the Symphony Orchestra of the Zagreb University Academy of Music, numerous soloists, the conductor Ira Levin and the stage director Giancarlo del Monaco) and the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with the programme 1913 – Stravinsky vs. Ravel (featuring the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir conducted by Mladen Tarbuk).

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, a great fan of Dubrovnik, will be marked by a Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra Concert featuring the Russian pianist Natalia Trull, while the 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy will be marked by the recital of the famous Italian cellist Enrico Dindo.  The entire music program is dedicated to the years 1813 and 1913, which determined the forthcoming musical trends, and which will be contrasted with contemporary first performances of the works by Croatian composers Klobučar and Seletković.

The recitals will include the pianist Gergely Bogányi, the famous pianist Elena Bashkirova, and the violinist Lana Trotovšek. The mezzo-soprano Dubravka Mušović Šeparović accompanied by Đorđe Stanetti on the piano will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Croatian opera diva Milka Trnina.

The Cantus Ensemble will appear featuring renowned soloists under the baton of Berislav Šipuš; Petrit Çeku will appear as a member of the Elogio Trio; while the renowned Peter Finger will play with Damir Halilić-Hal. Brahms’ The Beautiful Magelone will be performed by the bass-baritone Krešimir Stražanac, the reciter Urša Raukar and Mihály Zeke on the piano.

Other highlights include concerts of Rufus Wainwright, one of the young generation’s greatest song-writers and this year’s Grammy winner for Best R&B Album; Robert Glasper Experiment; Matija Dedić with the double-bassist Scott Colley and the drummer Antonio Sanchez; and the programme Gypsy Swing featuring Mozes Rosenberg, Mate Matišić and Jurica Štelma on the Revelin Fort terrace. Celebrating Croatia’s joining the European Union, the Festival will open on 11 July with the Music Without Frontiers Foundation from London, the Agevent from Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte in the Art School Park, directed by Sally Burgess and performed by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Oliver Gilmour”.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival  Photo:

Dubrovnik Summer Festival Photo:

Dubrovnik Summer Festival - moments of pleasure

Dubrovnik Summer Festival – moments of pleasure

Dubrovnik Summer Festival - opera at St Blaise church

Dubrovnik Summer Festival – opera at St Blaise church

Well reputed Croatian soprano singer Lana Kos will after a successful debut in Verona perform within the Vip program of the 64th Dubrovnik Summer Festival at the program inspired by love scenes of Verdi’s and Wagner’s musical dramas,  directed by Giancarlo del Monaco and entitled 1813 – Verdi Vs Wagner, on 12th July at 21:30 in front of St. Blaise’s Church.
Imaginary meeting of two famous 19th century composers, Verdi and Wragner, who have never met during their lives, will be presented at the opera gala program „1813- Verdi vs Wagner“. Giancarlo del Monaco, one of the most prominent and the most wanted stage directors  in his generation, created the concept. Del Monaco set on scene numerous productions among which are ones in theaters in Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Madrid, München, La Scala in Milan, Montepellier, Metropolitan Opera in New York, on Festival d’Orange, in Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Venice, Washington, Vienna which he realised in corporation with the most important conductors and set designers in the opera world“.

And, as Ivan Gundulic said in 1628:

Oh you beautiful, oh you dear, sweet liberty,
the gift that Almighty God gave us,
the cause of truth and all our glory,
the only adornment of Dubrava;
Neither all the silver and gold,
nor the human lives
can match your pure beauty!

Croatia – Electoral Law Groundhog Day

croatia revolution

31.5% of Dubrovnik’s eligible voters came out to vote at the Referendum (for or against the proposed development of area Srdj [Srđ] above the city into an elite golf course and apartments) last Sunday.

Not a big turnout, but some 80% of those that did vote voted against the development. While the referendum initiators (those against the development/ “Srdj is ours” group) claim that, given such overwhelming expression against the development the local government has no choice but to commit to these results/ i.e. that people of Dubrovnik really don’t want the development going ahead.

The government, local or otherwise, will stick to the electoral/referendum legislation,
which says that 50% (of eligible voters) + 1 vote must vote in order for the voting results to be valid. And, of course, that suits the government as they have been and are on the investors’ and developers’ side.

This example serves as the latest terrible and unjust reality Croatian citizens must put up with in cases like this. That is, in the referendum for EU membership for example, 50% + 1 of all eligible voters did not have to vote for the results to be legal (any number, any turnout, is valid). But, local issues referendums must have 50% + 1 vote to be valid – despite the governments promises over the past 18 months that the latter would be changed to align with the former through legislative change.

The law had never changed!

Election results still don’t reflect a determined will of the people’s (a reasonable and acceptable size of the body of population as expressed via eligible voters) will on issues affecting their daily lives.

Furthermore, there are still no provisions for postal or electronic votes and in the case of Dubrovnik referendum people traveled to Dubrovnik from everywhere, in Croatia and Europe, last Sunday in order to vote. Just imagine – many could not afford to travel either from lack of money or from frailty. The electoral law still practices discrimination through lack of access to voting.

Revolution in Croatia

As the turnout for the return of entirely innocent Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac (November 2012) as well as the protest turnout against dual-language signs in Vukovar and Podunavlje (April 2013) demonstrated, Croatians, when they want to, can turn out in big numbers and demonstrate their unity and voice their opinions despite a hostile government and a rabid, hate-filled Yugoslav nationalist-socialist media spider web downplaying and spinning and or misrepresenting the silent Croatian majority’s opinion.

Croatia, however, does not need a violent revolution – it needs a logical revolution.

Croatia’s woes are not beholden to this government alone, nor its HDZ predecessor under the kleptocrat in Conservative drag (no pun intended), nor the wolves in sheep’s clothing that betrayed Croatia’s first, and to date, only Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, as his health and mental capacities deteriorated due to cancer, and they filled their pockets with the treasure Croatia paid for in a sea of blood and suffering by its brave citizens, police and soldiers with an entire international community against any Croatia, and Croatia under an arms embargo.

It is beholden to the election law that was somewhat of a wartime necessity to keep the Yugoslav ultra-nationalist socialists demanding Krajina be recognised and that Croatia accept that it lost the war from getting into power that, despite his brilliant wartime leadership and strategic and tactical vision that made him the most successful statesman and geostrategist in post-WWII Europe, Tudjman failed to change before his death.

No one is perfect.

However, no one has since tried to change the law – in which Croatian citizens vote for parties and not candidates, which means that since 1990 there has been no accountability – because it is something that both the faux Conservatives and faux Socialists want to maintain.

Any discussion about changing it is immediately attacked by those in government and the opposition, as well as their paid prostitutes in Croatia’s unfree and untransparent, mostly Yugoslav ultra-nationalist socialist, media.

The ruling kleptocratic idiocrats therefore after election time simply play magical chairs and switch seats in Parliament, from Opposition to Government, and vice versa.


To date, parties, not people, have been held accountable in Croatia at election time. Therefore, the unfortunate election paradigm of voting for the lesser evil – and not, say, for the competent candidate that either delivered on promises that deserves re-election, or the candidate that has succinctly outlined a strategy that will best defend the interests of his or her constituency and above all, national interest – has been the dynamic that has shaped Croatia’s pathetic political scene and equally pitiful economic, domestic, and foreign policies.

This lesser-evil voting problem is compounded by the fact that the “former” Yugoslav Communist Party and “former” Croatian Communist Party ruling castes within HDZ, SDP, HNS and other major parties simply recycle the same incompetent kleptocratic idiocrats in different positions within the opposition or government (depending on which party Croatians vote more against).

Which brings Croatia to the absurd point that hundreds of thousands of patriots and people who suffered through the war and the disastrous economic policies of post-Tudjman Croatian governments (when Tudjman died, Croatia’s debt, after a war that in damage alone cost 27.1 billion USD, was 9 billion USD, now it is reaching 50 billion EUR) voted against Jadranka Kosor’s incompetent Sanaderesque (as in Ivo Sanader-former PM now in court for corruption and the like crimes) vision and put in an even more incompetent Zoran Milanovic government, which put Vesna Pusic – who, were she a citizen of any other country during wartime and engaged in the same activities as she did against Croatia, would most likely be convicted and sentenced for treason – in charge of Croatian foreign policy; and the high-pitched Slavko Linic (minister of finance), whose policies robbed Rijeka of its rightful place as a major shipping and ship producing hub of Central Europe’s future, and so on.

So, in essence, every election cycle is like the movie Groundhog Day – a few different bad decisions but more or less the same old, same old – in terms of Croatia’s economic, domestic and foreign policy, the same old incompetence and dilettantism with a few cosmetic changes to the bloated pig.

A One-Point Referendum on the Election Law is a Logical Revolution

When Croatia’s election law is changed to direct democracy, or at least an Irish-style election law where the candidates who received the most party-list votes are the ones who get into Parliament, voters will finally be able to hold its politicians and leaders accountable for their actions.

The only way to actually bring about any change whatsoever in Croatia, is to start a signature campaign to hold a referendum on Croatia’s election laws and allow for citizens to vote for candidates, and not parties.

The failure in the previous nation-wide referendum was that there were simply too many points, and people would reject one point and then not sign the referendum because that point did not fit their belief system.

However, if Croatia had a logical election law that provided for direct democracy, political parties would be beholden to voters and single-item issues such as genetically modified foods and some of the other issues the referendum-initiators were hoping people would support would be items of discussion in Sabor (Parliament), or county, or city governments – as voters would hold their representatives accountable if the issues they actually cared about were not represented or pushed by their representatives in government.

Most referendum issues would be obsolete, for in a election system that inherently forces accountability onto politicians, much of the referendum issues would sooner or later become issues if their constituents demanded them. They would finally see the light of day in discussions in local and county government and in Croatia’s Sabor.

A referendum on a single item, Croatia’s Election Law, would end this ongoing criminal highway robbery of Croatian taxpayers and their and their children’s futures by the circus freak show of incompetents in Croatia’s Sabor, where most of the circus freaks spend less time in than they do in the Sabor Cantina, drinking, babbling nonsense and wasting time on the taxpayers dime.

Without a change to Croatia’s Election Law, Groundhog Day will be relived government after government, and Croatia’s hard-fought freedom and independence will slowly be withered away due to blatant treason, which we have grown used to since Stjepan Mesic’s questionable first election, and incompetence.

Its time to start this revolution – today!

[Thank you to the readers and commentators on this Blog whose sharp observation skills, superior verbal fluency, healthy critical minds, unconditional love for Croatia, knowledge of Croatia’s history, current issues and political system and its practices who have contributed significantly to this particular post “Croatia – Electoral Law Groundhog Day”. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)]

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