Croatia: Communist Crimes – Two Criminals Down Many Yet To Fall

Zdravko Mustac (L) Josip Perkovic (R) Sentenced to life imprisonment in relation to communist crimes of complicity in murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Djurekovic

Zdravko Mustac (L) Josip Perkovic (R)
Sentenced to life imprisonment
in relation to communist crimes of complicity in murder
of Croatian dissident
Stjepan Djurekovic


Croatia’s former Social Democrat (formerly known as League of Communists) government led by Zoran Milanovic as PM, as well as president Ivo Josipovic, had tried their utmost to avoid the extradition to Germany of former communist Yugoslavia secret police/UDBA operators, Josip Perkovic and Zdravko Mustac. They even passed a law in July 2013 (known as Lex Perkovic) three days before Croatia joined the EU, that prevented the extradition of Croatian citizens to other countries for crimes committed before 2002, hence ensuring no crime committed under the sheet of communist purges during the time of former Yugoslavia would be brought before the court regardless of the fact that in a civilised world murder has no statute of limitations. After Croatia’s courts had in 2014 ruled that Perkovic and Mustac could be extradited to Germany, extradition soon followed and the former head of Yugoslavia’s secret service, Zdravko Mustac, and a one-time subordinate, Josip Perkovic faced trial over accusations regarding the 1983 killing of a Croatian dissident in Bavaria, Stjepan Djurekovic for the first time in Munich in October 2014.
The German court in Munich had Wednesday 3 August 2016 found guilty of complicity in murder and sentenced the two former top Yugoslavian spies (spy chief Zdravko Mustac, 74, and ex-agent Josip Perkovic, 71) to life imprisonment for the 1983 murder of the Croatian national Stjepan Djurekovic, who was opposed to Yugoslav communist regime, in the then West Germany.

Stjepan Djurekovic

Stjepan Djurekovic

The court finds that the accused Zdravko M. had asked the accused Josip P. to plan and prepare for the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic,” the court said in a statement, Deutsche Welle reports. The state prosecution had in its final words last week turned the crime of assisting in murder into participating or complicity in murder with intent, which carries a life sentence under German laws.

Djurekovic was one of 22 Croatians murdered on orders from Belgrade (Serbia/Yugoslav capital) in Germany between 1970 and 1989. Most of those cases remain untried. This time around, prosecutors successfully argued that the spies had sought to silence Djurekovic who had information about alleged illegal business dealings by the son of a leading Yugoslav politician. Djurekovic was killed (shot and bludgeoned with a meat clever) in a garage that was used as a print office in the Bavarian town of Wolfratshausen. He was shot multiple times and hit with a cleaver by three still unidentified people.

The prime motive was to kill a regime critic, a separatist,” Manfred Dauster, the presiding judge, told the court on Wednesday. “Djurekovic

Judge Manfred Dauster

Judge Manfred Dauster

was to be muzzled – politically, but also physically.”


The finding was based on the fact that at the time, 1983, Zdravko Mustac was the chief of the Croatian arm of Yugoslav State Security Service

(more commonly known as State Security Administration/UDBA) while Josip Perkovic was in the position of head of Zagreb UDBA Section II (in charge of the department dealing with Croatian émigrés abroad) and was the immediate superior of the spy Krunoslav Prates (convicted 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment for participating the murder of Stjepan Djurekovic) – Judge Manfred Dauster explained.


The defense had sought acquittal, citing a lack of evidence. Attorneys for Perkovic and Mustac plan to appeal the verdict to Germany’s federal high court. Should the sentences stick, Perkovic and Mustac could apply to serve them back home and if appeal does not succeed and life sentence stays then in Croatia that would translate to 40 years prison.
A reaction to this finding by Zoran Milanovic, leader of Social Democrats who is running as PM hopeful in the coming September elections, included “I am shocked by that court judgment … if it’s true (they committed those crimes) then they have received the most lenient of sentences … I regret this decision was not made in Croatia.”

What a repulsive, odious, low-life of a politician.


It was he, Zoran Milanovic, who headed to moves in 2013 in refusing to act on EU arrest warrants, who headed the government that introduced the law against extradition in 2013, it was he, Zoran Milanovic, who fought tooth and nail not to help the trial against Perkovic and Mustac get off the ground in Germany or anywhere else for that matter. It was, it is he, Zoran Milanovic, who leads all blockades against the processing of communist crimes.


Up until now, the need, the will and the ways to process and punish the horrific crimes committed for and on behalf of the communist regime of former Yugoslavia (including Croatia) had not truly or substantially found their effective expression. Many attempts have been sabotaged and alleged perpetrators and accomplices protected by those who call themselves antifascists (former communists, nostalgics for Yugoslavia). Those who pursued justice for victims of communist crimes were and still are branded fascists, revisionists, Nazis, Ustashas… To demonstrate the depravity of former communists’ sense of justice one can only revisit the 2014 trial against late Josip Boljkovac (friend of former president Stjepan Mesic, who is currently trying to resurrect himself into politics by being included on Social Democrats’ election ticket) relating to the murder in 1945 after WWII had ended of 21 innocent people where the Croatian court found that Josip Boljkovac was not really to blame (even if there were strong indications of his complicity in some body of evidence before the court) for their murder (or bear any responsibility) but that the real culprit was the communists system. How a system without people can murder people is only clear to former communists, it seems.


Many say the past should be left behind and we should all work towards the future but that stance in itself is cruel and unjust. It is a stance, without doubt, taken by those who have a great deal to lose and to admit. The only way to a better future is, in fact, to confront the past and punish all crimes against human life committed. The judgment brought down by the German court last week against Perkovic and Mustac puts names to the communist crimes perpetrated and this surely must serve as motivation and assistance in efforts to process as many communist crimes as possible. While national reconciliation is necessary, it would be a gross mistake to believe that collective amnesia and impunity will do any good. It will not because crime does not pay, in the end truth will out.


Seen as an absolute nightmare for 45 years after WWII by majority of Croatian émigrés, especially, and by most of those in Croatia in the HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union who were the driving force in the 1990’s creation of the modern independent state of Croatia, the baleful UDBA (communist secret service) managed to sneak through the recent war of Croatia’s secession (1991 – 1995) and survived the regime change/secession from Yugoslavia. It rallied behind the first president of Croatia Franjo Tudjman, in order to avoid “lustration”, with most of its senior executives becoming cogs in the new machinery of the new Croatian state, when they should have been lustrated or taken away from those positions. Ministries, the Parliament, media, big business, administrations, diplomacy — rare are public fields where these former “agents/suradnici” (aka “snitches”) don’t hold major positions. I guess such a mix was unavoidable in the beginnings, at times of war, but not for a moment longer.
If at last lustration does not occur in Croatia and new governments continue to be run by non-repentant old communists and their younger “liberal” offspring, the reticence or blatant refusal to pursue prosecution of communist crimes is bound to continue and the price to be paid is surely to be a form of eternal political unrest and intolerance.


UDBABorn in 1946 as part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Yugoslav communist secret service, the UDBA, was conceived as a counter-intelligence agency and a political police, the latter being by far its most important task. The UDBA consisted of four major sectors (“internal enemy,” “hostile emigration,” “foreign espionage,” “high tech espionage”). It employed hundreds of agents, analysts, and agents (“suradnici”), as well as thousands of snitches, i.e. informants (“informatori”). Founded as a dense conspiratorial network, it operated in various regional centres in ex- Yugoslavia, being active in all towns and villages in each constituent ex-Yugoslav republic. Unlike the traditional modus operandi of many other communist countries, local UDBA centres in ex-Yugoslavia enjoyed a large degree of autonomy with each local centre supervising the agents in its respective area. However, the 2nd Section was also in charge of hiring its own quota of undercover agents abroad.
The operatives of the 2nd Section were generally groomed for their prime targets: infiltration of Yugoslav and especially Croat émigrés abroad. As regards the Croatian emigration, the UDBA carried out at least 68 to 69 homicides, 5 abductions whose victims were later executed, 23 attempted murders (with several cases of severely injured victims), 4 abductions whose victims survived and 2 attempted kidnappings.
The 2nd Section in charge of émigrés, whom UDBA labelled as “hostile emigrants”, was particularly violent, as it didn’t hesitate to resort to “offensive” or “special” operations, i.e., assassinations. By bribing and manipulating common criminals (threatening them, or promising them impunity), by fabricating false documents and exerting the most infamous blackmails, it induced naive citizens in ex-Yugoslavia into suicidal plots, or framed them with offences they had never committed. In short, the 2nd Section run by Josip Perkovic – was quite simply an organised communist crime agency.

Efficient in its criminal plots, the UDBA did succeed in undermining the emigrants’ reputation by defaming them as “terrorists” in their host countries. For example, a famous case took place in Australia where, as a result of UDBA media manipulation, six young Croats (the “Croatian Six”) landed behind the bars for 15 years (see Hamish McDonald, “Framed: the untold story about the Croatian Six”, The Sydney Morning Herald of February 11th, 2012).


Robert Zagajski In pursuit of truth about his father's death

Robert Zagajski
In pursuit of truth about
his father’s death

Today, the malodorous UDBA ghosts and other Yugoslavian cloak and dagger circles are still haunting Croatia (and other former Yugoslav states, although, to a seemingly lesser degree Serbia, which was the heart of communist crimes plots operations). Twenty-five years after Croatia’s independence scores of former UDBA hit men of the former Yugoslav regime have not yet been properly and absolutely held to account, nor have they ever atoned for their crimes. There are also several hundreds of mass graves and pits across Croatia filled with bones and remains of innocent victims of communist crimes, for which no one has yet been held responsible, not even the communist regime by name. As to murders committed by UDBA agents and operatives such as the one for which the court in Germany has prescribed a life sentence the hopes for justice burn loud. Robert Zagajski, for instance, was 17 when his father was killed on the orders of the Yugoslav secret service in 1983 – the judgment against Perkovic and Mustac has given him the greatest hope so far that his father Djuro’s brutal death will cease to be an enigma and that someone will be made to answer for it. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


Croatia: Communist System Murdered Innocent People Not Josip Boljkovac, Court Says



Josip Boljkovac Photo: Ronald Gorsic/Cropix

Josip Boljkovac
Photo: Ronald Gorsic/Cropix

The 94 year old, Josip Boljkovac, was acquitted by the Zagreb County Court on Thursday 22 May of war crimes against civilians in the aftermath of WWII.

The 94-year old Boljkovac was accused that in the early May of 1945, as head of the Karlovac branch of the then Department of National Security (OZNA), which was the Tito-led Partisans’ security service, he had ordered the arrest and execution of 21 civilians from Duga Resa.

Judge Tomislav Jurisa handed down the Judgment, acquitting Boljkovac of the war crime while, in the same breath saying that “there is no doubt that the crime was committed but that there was no written order for the execution of the crime … not a single document leads to Boljkovac … it was simply a matter of crime committed by the system …which crimes have compromised the historically-affirmative antifascist battle…” reported Croatian HRT TV News 22 May 2014. The judge emphasised that Boljkovac was probably the last member of the WWII Partisan movement who has been processed for war crimes. “The court had a difficult task and we had to make sure that the whole burden of war crimes committed by members of the Partisan movement does not fall upon Josip Boljkovac, because that would be unjustified and impermissible in a democratic and civilised country such as Croatia …”.

The judge added that while “a certain degree of doubt about whether Boljkovac ordered the killing still exists, it is not enough to pronounce someone guilty”.

Anto Nobilo Photo: Miro Soldic

Anto Nobilo
Photo: Miro Soldic

Boljkovac’s attorney, Anto Nobilo, was happy with the judgment – why wouldn’t he be, he is and was a communist, and said that “this would have never have happened (prosecution of Boljkovac) had a former minister of internal affairs (meaning current leader of the leading opposition party HDZ, Tomislav Karamarko) not set his sights on becoming the leaders of the right-winged opposition and then organised masked special policemen, with a media entourage, to arrest a 92 year old man …that minister had abused his powers for political goals…”




Tomislav Karamarko Photo: Anadolija

Tomislav Karamarko
Photo: Anadolija


Tomislav Karamarko made a brief comment on Nobilo’s statement: “It would be flippant of me to comment on what Nobilo said, the good thing about this judgment is that in fact a system has been convicted.”




The State Attorney will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.

Thus this is a legal scandal because the [victorious] Partisans were the liberators …” Nobilo was also found to comment.

So, as far as Anto Nobilo and the communists/antifascists are concerned one does not prosecute old people, especially if they came from “liberating” forces that Partisans refer to themselves as being!

Oh my goodness, the Nazi hunters, including Simon Wiesenthal Centre, are bound to die in shame for having kept friendly company with Anto Nobilo – a lawyer who evidently promotes the type of justice where old people should not face the courts and answer for their crimes; many old people have been hunted down and prosecuted for crimes relating to the Holocaust.


Andrija Artukovic 1986 extradition to communist Yugoslavia

Andrija Artukovic 1986 extradition
to communist Yugoslavia

If we turn the clock back a few decades we realise that the same Ante Nobilo, a communist Yugoslavia deputy public prosecutor in Croatia, was at the helm of the prosecution for Holocaust crimes against Andrija Artukovic in 1986, who was at the time in the ripe old age of 89, suffering dementia and brought to Croatia from the USA under extradition orders. Artukovic was sentenced to death and died in prison in 1988 and his burial place, if there is one, is not to this day known as a matter of communist order of the time.

So this pathetic excuse for a lawyer, Anto Nobilo, who had made it his business in 1980’s to prosecute old people with dementia for war crimes associated with the WWII Independent State of Croatia, without any regard to their inability to defend themselves, would now like us to take pity upon his 94 year old client, Josip Boljkovac, a communist Yugoslavia operative, because he is old and ill – but does not suffer from Dementia!

To make things worse it was the same Anto Nobilo who firmly stated in November 2011 that he knows who committed the murders his client Boljkovac was charged with and he now has the gall to be happy with the court’s finding that the “communist system” murdered them! What happened to the evidence about the murderer he said he had?

A grave injustice has been served in Zagreb on Thursday to the victims of communist crimes, if not for Nobilo’s comments regarding Boljkovac’s age then surely because the testimonies of living people who testified seeing Boljkovac “in the vicinity of the 1945 murderous action and arrests of innocent people” seem to have not weighed as much in the court as “no documents presented” seem to have! It would have been just and reasonable to find that the communists have most likely destroyed any documents relevant to the orders for the execution of the murders in 1945.

The communist system was found guilty of committing the murders of innocent people and system simply does not and did not exist without people! Let’s pray that the Croatian Supreme Court will have the courage of seeing that truth and deliver a verdict, which takes into account the clandestine operations of destroying evidence that were a second skin to the communist system made up of people. Josip Boljkovac may not be found as guilty of the murders on appeal but he should, I believe, at least be found guilty of having the knowledge of the murders and, hence, being an accessory after the fact!  Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Related Post:

Croatia: Ghastly Veil of Inhumanity Marks First Monument To Civilian Victims Of Communist Regime

First Monument to Victims of  Communist Crimes in Croatia 30 December 2013 Tupale Sinac Croatia

First Monument to Victims of
Communist Crimes in Croatia
30 December 2013
Tupale Sinac Croatia

On Monday 30 December 2013, in Tupale near Sinac in Otocac area a seemingly very significant event occurred: the first monument dedicated to the civilian victims of Communist regime in Croatia (while it was part of former communist Yugoslavia).  The miserably meager grey concrete cube slabs are a far cry from the impressively grandiose monuments erected in many places across former communist Yugoslavia for victims of fascism.  Furthermore, the extreme lack of respect for the remains of the butchered civilians 1945/1946 in Tupale is evidenced by the fact that the mass grave was unearthed – dredged – in October/November 2013 using earth-moving machinery such as “bobcat”, loaded unto trucks and driven away to be deposited onto the Otocac cemetery as some unworthy, worthless rubble.

“Skeletons in Croatia” news-reel from TV Otocac demonstrating the insensitive dredging of mass grave:

No wonder the surviving family members of the victims and church representatives did not attend the ceremony of the unveiling of the monument to victims of totalitarian communist regime on 30 December in Tupale! They actually boycotted it. The rushed erection of this monument and the controversial and disrespectful exhumation of victim remains that preceded, certainly do not fall within the category of the duly heartfelt and remorseful gesture towards the victims, they should have been. It all seems to be a measure designed to prove to the EU that the current Croatian government (pro and/or ex-communists) are serious about condemning all totalitarian regimes!

Croatia’s minister for veterans affairs, Predrag Matic, said at the unveiling of Tupale monument on 30 December: “We have done that which all in the democratic Croatia have tried to do as well as intended to do during the last seventy years or so. That what we have promised to the people, we have done, regardless of suspicions of many. This is a human and civilisation question. Every victim deserves a place of special piety. Just as black shafts are monuments to victims of the Homeland War so will these cubes be the monuments to victims of totalitarian regimes. We will not stop until all places of peril of the innocent are marked.”

Indeed, the place of brutal civilian extermination has been marked in Tupale, one out of many hundreds of places where communists in Croatia committed mass murders of innocent people during and after WWII. To my view, this event should have been a major event in a nation still desperately seeking justice for innocent victims of the communist regime. But, it was suffocated as much as possible, starting with the horrible and inhumane ways of exhuming the remains; a quick action to cover-up as much as possible the utterly horrid crimes committed by the communists.

One really cannot but conclude that the manner in which this mass grave in Tupale was exhumed and contents “dumped” like worthless rubble (soil, rocks and human bones mixed) into the cemetery had no intention of pursuing respectful  forensic protocol that would tell us how exactly the victims perished for whom it is said were shot for no reason!

The saddest and the most telling fact here is that if the mass grave at Tupale contained the remains of innocent victims killed by the hands of WWII Nazi-collaborators, or even innocent victims of Serb-nationals of the 1990’s war of Serb-aggression against Croatia, then the leading world media outlets would have had “a field day” – telling the world how brutal “Croat fascists” were! But the same media fails miserably at bringing to the world’s attention the large-scale genocides, during and after WWII, of hundreds of thousands of Croatian and German civilians by the Yugoslav communist strongman Josip Broz Tito and his men/women. As usual, the communist killing fields are sadly and humanly regrettably still largely consigned to historical oblivion.

The Tupale monument will perhaps unscrew the first screw of the “door” which has for decades served as a barricade preventing full communist crimes prosecution, condemnation and justice for the victims. The fact that Josip Perkovic,  former communist secret police operative and sought by Germany in relation to 1980’s murder of Croatian émigrés, has finally been arrested in Croatia pending extradition to Germany, will also assist in the efforts to finally hold former communists to account. Similarly the arrest of 93-year-old Josip Boljkovac on allegations of mass murder of innocent civilians – as a matter of communist policy and practice after WWII – will undoubtedly sharpen the world’s awareness about the genocidal communist crimes and hopefully turn the tides towards settling the accounts for all victims, not just the victims of the so-called fascism, but communism as well. I have this uneasy feeling that achieving justice and proper regard for the victims of communist crimes will still need the dedication and fighting assertiveness from the people, rather than from the pro-communist government, in Croatia, despite the government’s announcement that it will duly pursue the rights of victims of all totalitarian regimes: communist and “Ustashe”.  The victims of the WWII Ustashe regime have held centre-stage since WWII where justice and condemnation are concerned; the victims of the communist regime (who are recorded to be in much greater numbers in Croatia than the victims of the pro-Nazi Ustashi regime) have barely captured the attention of authorities and institutions that have as their reason for existence justice for all innocent victims.  In Croatia, the authorities dealing with the Tupale mass grave of communist crimes have acted shamefully and utterly disrespectfully even though they have, evidently half-heartedly, erected a monument to the victims. This leads me to believe that the Croatian government still harbours discrimination between victims of different totalitarian regimes and still hold that communism was not a criminal organisation. It was! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


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