Croatian Ministers Salute Criminals and Dishonour the Dead

Hits: 1419

Last week was marked by the moral acrobatics of two Croatian ministers – War Veterans’ Minister Tomo Medved and Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic – who publicly endorsed two convicted Croatian war criminals, Tomislav Mercep and Mirko Norac.

A WWII Independent State of Croatia in which 700.000 Serbs were brutally killed

Croatian news site Index reported last week that Mercep, who is serving a prison sentence, spent a total of 45 days at a spa instead of in jail this year and last year. As Mercep is a Croatian war veteran, Medved said he vouched for him as worthy recipient of the spa treatment, “as I regularly do” when war veterans are serving prison time for war crimes.

“Croatia has its Homeland War [term officially used in Croatia for the 1990s war] as the foundation of a modern Croatian state, has its Croatian defenders [war veterans], of whom we are proud,” Krsticevic added, reminding reporters that the war and its veterans are sacrosanct here in Croatia.

A few days earlier, while marking the 25th anniversary of the successful Medak Pocket military operation in the Lika region, Krsticevic issued a special greeting to Norac, who was present at the ceremony in the town of Gospic.

“We have to be proud of the Medak Pocket action, as far as Mirko Norac is concerned, it was war, he was the commander of the Gospic headquarters zone, and because of what happened here, he carries his cross. I’m glad he’s here with us today,” Krsticevic said.

It is not clear when Krsticevic referred to Norac’s ‘cross’ if he was implying that Norac was innocent of the crimes or simply suggesting it was tough that he had to serve a sentence.

Medved, who publicly welcomed Norac during this year’s official ceremony to mark the anniversary of the 1995 military operation ‘Storm’, defended Krsticevic, reminding reporters of the merits of war veterans and of Norac.

“He has served his sentence, but let’s not neglect the contribution he has made. Everyone should be honoured and respected for what he did in defence of the homeland… All who have contributed to defending the homeland have their place in history,” Medved said.

While both Mercep and Norac are without doubt war veterans, their potential merits should be seen in the light of the deaths they ordered or failed to prevent.

A war criminal Tomislav Merčep

A girl in pink pyjamas

“The girl came out through the door; her hands were tied. However, snow was falling so she started to slip on the snowy ground. I picked her up in my arms and carried her… Someone told me to cover her eyes; I took a piece of linen that hung over her neck…

“After that, I turned around, and I didn’t want to watch. Then I heard multiple shots. When I turned again, I saw in Munib [Suljic’s] hand a Heckler [& Koch automatic rifle],” Sinisa Rimac, a member of a Croatian reserve police unit, told police investigators in December 1991.

Rimac and his colleague Nebojsa Hodak then picked up the lifeless body of 12-year-old Aleksandra Zec, dressed in pink pyjamas, and threw her in a pre-prepared pit in which the body of her mother Marija – killed only moments earlier – was already lying.

Hearing someone’s last breath in the pit, Igor Mikola, another unit member, fired a round at Aleksandra and Marija to make sure neither remained alive.

After burying the bodies, police officers threw some trash over the burial site to further cover their tracks, which were covered by snow where the pit have been dug on Mount Medvednica, overlooking Zagreb.

Aleksandra and Marija Zec, who were Croatian Serbs, were kidnapped from their family home in Zagreb around midnight on December 7, 1991, after witnessing the murder of the girl’s father, local businessman Mihajlo Zec.

In the botched prosecution that followed, all five policemen were acquitted. Many of the unit’s members received medals, while Rimac was even made responsible for the security of wartime Defence Minister Gojko Susak.

The unofficial name of the unit was the Mercepovci (Mercep’s Men). It got itself a notorious image in the 1990s, and the wider public became more or less familiar with its criminal deeds.

But the murder of the Zec family was not an isolated incident. It was more or less the modus operandi of the unit.

“My name is Miro Bajramovic, and I’m directly responsible for the deaths of 86 people. Knowing this fact, I fall asleep at nights and get up in the morning if I fall asleep at all,” ,” Bajramovic, another of Mercep’s men, told the weekly magazine Feral Tribune in 1997.

“I alone have killed 72 people, including nine women. We did not differentiate; we did not ask anything; for us, they were Chetniks [derogatory term for Serbs during the 1990s war] and enemies. The hardest thing was to burn the first house and kill the first man. After that, everything goes according to a pattern,” Bajramovic said.

After years on trial, in 2017 the Supreme Court sentenced Mercep to seven years in prison for not preventing or sanctioning his subordinates who killed 43 civilians, mostly Serbs, in 1991 and 1992. Although he was initially indicted for ordering the crimes, the prosecution amended the indictment as the trial was reaching its end.

‘Who hasn’t fired yet?!’

“You aren’t going to kill us, you aren’t going to shoot us,” an elderly Serb women shouted as they were taken to the execution site near Gospic in October 1991.

Mirko Norac told his men that everyone would be given someone to kill. To set an example, he takes out his pistol and shots an elderly woman in the head. He then tries to kill a younger prisoner, but his pistol seizes up and fails to fire three times, and he gives up.

“Fire! Fire! Who hasn’t fired yet?!” he screams to his subordinates, wanting them all as accomplices in the murder of at least 50 Serb civilians.

Less than two years after these killings, in the same region, Gospic, Norac was involved in another huge crime. During the ‘Medak Pocket’ operation, aimed at pushing back Croatian Serb forces from Gospic, the Croatian Army took control of a few villages, capturing some Serb soldiers and elderly villagers.

During and after the operation, some of the Croatian soldiers showed unprecedented brutality, killing 22 civilians and two prisoners of war, some through torture. The atrocities included putting salt on wounds and soldiers doing target practice with knives using an elderly man who was still alive.

So what happened in 1991 was not an isolated incident; this was also more of less Norac’s modus operandi.

In 2004, Norac was found guilty of the crimes committed in 1991 and sentenced to 12 years in prison. For the crimes committed during the ‘Medak Pocket’ operation, he got six years in 2009.

In the end, he was given a joint 15-year-long sentence. After serving only ten years, Norac was given early release in 2011, despite never expressing remorse.

A war criminal Mirko Norac

After prison, profit

Although legally there are no obstacles to sending a war criminal to a medical spa or welcoming a war criminal who “carries his cross”, there are moral issues.

Mercep apparently had a doctor’s prescription for a medical spa treatment, along with his legally-guaranteed veteran’s privileges, but it does look as though he has been getting a better deal than some of his wartime comrades.

While one can live with the fact that war veterans have advantages in receiving medical services, there are many war veterans who struggle to secure a place in a spa for treatment they need.

I am not advocating that prisoners should be kept in solitary confinement, without access to proper medical treatment, or be subjected to torture or made to do forced labour. However, they should not have more privileges than an ordinary citizen who has been waiting for medical treatment for months.

If the status of a war veteran is so sacred, then what about Aleksandar Antic, a Croatian soldier killed in Pakracka Poljana in 1991 by Mercep’s unit, whose body was never recovered? Why isn’t Medved thinking of him and his family?

Meanwhile Norac, as well as the damage he has done, has also cost the state financially; Croatia had to pay tens of thousands of euros in compensation to the families of his victims.

Although the state has tried to force him to pay part of the compensation, Norac should have no complaint about the way the state has treated him.

Upon his release from prison, he got a pension of some 1,350 euros a month – some five times more than an average pension at the time.

Additionally, state companies and institutions have become some of Norac’s biggest clients, buying services from his security company. His company’s income jumped 200 per cent in 2017 compared to the year before.

While justice has evaded Aleksandra Zec and nothing can bring back the dead in Gospic, both Norac and Mercep have been treated rather well.

If their health allows them, the two men will enjoy long lives that will not end like those of their victims. With their pensions, houses and companies, they will have an everyday standard of living that is better than average Croatian citizens.

Therefore, besides their privileges, which are completely in line with legal norms in Croatia, the state shouldn’t offer Norac and Mercep anything more – especially not the respect they have been granted by ministers in recent days, which they clearly do not deserve.

EuroCroatia today: Split, September 14th, 2018.

The inscription on the car from Serbia: “Kill the Serb”. A photo by the car’s owner


Originally published on 2018-09-14

About the author: Sven Milekic is the outgoing Zagreb correspondent for BIRN’s Balkan Transitional Justice project. This article is written in a personal capacity.

Source: Balkan Insight

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

EuroCroatia today: Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović with a flag of a Nazi-fascist WWII Independent State of Croatia

READ MORE!
President Obama’s Farewell Speech
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
The Biggest Threat to World Peace is NATO
On November 8th, Britain’s Daily Mail bannered “NATO tells Europe to prepare for ‘rapid deployment’:” and sub-headed “Defence chiefs say roads, bridges and rail links must be improved in case tanks and heavy vehicles need to be quickly mobilised” (to invade Russia, but the newspaper’s slant was instead that this must be done purely defensively: “In October, NATO accused Russia of misleading them, saying that Moscow had deliberately violated international rules of military drills”).The article continued:Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the infrastructure update across Europe as NATO is set to overhaul its command structure for the first time since ...
READ MORE
Zbigniew Brzezinski – War Criminal Supreme
Brzezinski’s death at 89 years of age has generated a load of propaganda and disinformation, all of which serves one interest group or another or the myths that people find satisfying. I am not an expert on Brzezinski, and this is not an apology for him. He was a Cold Warrior, as essentially was everyone in Washington during the Soviet era.For 12 years Brzezinski was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where I occupied the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy. When I was elected to that chair, CSIS was a part of Georgetown University. ...
READ MORE
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013 A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea Introduction Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea. It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty. I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013. I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
READ MORE
Post-Maidan Ukrainian Anti-Semitism: Tragic “Blowback” Resulting from U.S. Interventionist Foreign Policy?
The foreign policy of the United States in the post-Cold War era, driven by a doctrine of Exceptionalism and managed by a neoconservative strategy, has been responsible for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Nato’s war on Libya in 2011 and the covert war waged in Syria using Islamist proxies. It was also at the root of its involvement in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine in 2014. But the geopolitical advantage intended in each enterprise has brought the proverbial blowback.The results are plain to see. Libya is now certifiably a failed state. Accompanying the destruction of ...
READ MORE
Democracy in America is Pure Fantasy
“I’ll never live to see 9/11 justice,” says Stephen Lendman. The 9/11 attacks have changed the course of humanity, even so for sixteen years have not been minimally clarified but turned the world in a place full of fear and hate as the United States spreads its military bases all over the world, having 737 and more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet.Stephen Lendman, one of the world’s most respected analysts, speaks with Pravda Report on the consequences of those attacks, and President Trump’s denial of his promises during the presidential campaign to investigate the day that has killed more than one million people ...
READ MORE
Syrian Strikes are ‘Legal’ – But Only According to the ‘Law of the Jungle’
The full extent of the damage to international peace and security caused by the US-led Syrian strikes will take some time to become clear. But its impact on the very concept of legality in international affairs is already evident.Simply put, the most powerful county in the world and its chief satellites, the UK and France, have thrown the rule of law into the trash can. The only "law" now is the law of the jungle. There is no going back.Ironically, the attack itself was claimed by its perpetrators as enforcement of legality, not of its obliteration. For example, NATO Secretary-General ...
READ MORE
50 Shades of American Fascism
Hitler was a very good student. Those who read Mein Kampf will find therein many good words about America. More precisely, not about the whole of America, but about the numerous attempts of the American socialists to change the foundations of the American way of life.The ideas of forced sterilization and forced abortion were adopted by Hitler from the founder of feminism, American socialist Margaret Sanger. Madame Sanger even founded a special clinic to promote mass abortions of black people to reduce their number with the aim of completely eradicating blacks in America. This organization still exists–it is called Planned ...
READ MORE
What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did
On March 23rd, Gallup headlined “South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine Lead World in Suffering”, and the Ukrainian part of that can unquestionably be laid at the feet of U.S. President Barack Obama, who in February 2014 imposed upon Ukraine a very bloody coup (see it here), which he and his press misrepresented (and still misrepresent) as being (and still represent as having been) a ‘democratic revolution’, but was nothing of the sort, and actually was instead the start of the Ukrainian dictatorship and the hell that has since destroyed that country, and brought the people there into such misery, it’s now by far ...
READ MORE
What’s in a Name? Everything and Nothing
By all accounts from Greece and Macedonia, a majority in both countries will be happy that a new name for Macedonia has been agreed upon by the governments in Athens and Skopje. After years of facing Greek vetoes to join the European Union and NATO under the name “Republic of Macedonia,” the Greek government agreed to drop its opposition, so long as Macedonia change its name to “Northern Macedonia.” Northern Greeks always objected to Macedonia’s use of that name because they believed it represented a goal of Slavic and Albanian Macedonians to lay claim to the northern Greek region that ...
READ MORE
The Forgotten Postwar US-Nazi Alliance
As the Second World War advanced from its early stages, the United States was assessing which sections of the earth it would hold conquest over. American planners had to remain patient, however. A seemingly endless string of conquests for the Nazis had astonished the world – particularly those in the US – and led to Adolf Hitler being crowned as “the new Napoleon”.In the summer of 1942, under Hitler’s domineering command of the military, the Germans controlled vast swathes of Europe – from Warsaw to Oslo to Paris, and eastwards onto Athens, Kiev and Sevastopol. It was one major victory ...
READ MORE
Who will Miss Obama?
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
The US/NATO Orchestration of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine
Contents 1. NATO is born from the Bomb2. In the post-Cold War, NATO is renewed3. NATO demolishes the Yugoslav state4. NATO expands eastward to Russia5. US and NATO attack Afghanistan and Iraq6. NATO demolishes the Libyan state7. The US/NATO War to Demolish Syria8. Israel and the Emirates in NATO9. The US/NATO orchestration of the coup in Ukraine10. US/NATO escalation in Europe11.  Italy, the aircraft carrier on the war front12. US and NATO reject the UN treaty and deploy new nuclear weapons in Europe13. US and NATO sink the INF Treaty14. The Western American Empire plays the war card15. The US/NATO planetary war system16. Exiting the war system of NATO1. The operation conducted by the USA and ...
READ MORE
September 11, 2001: The Crimes of War Committed “In the Name of 9/11″
The following text was presented at the International Conference on “9/11 Revisited – Seeking the Truth”, Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), Kuala Lumpur, November 2012IntroductionThe tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history, a decisive watershed, a breaking point.Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society. The post September 11, 2001 era is marked by the outright criminalization of the US State, including its judicial, foreign policy, national security and intelligence apparatus.9/11 marks the onslaught of ...
READ MORE
Embracing the US-NATO War Criminals Who Destroyed Our Country
Seventeen years have passed and many people have already forgotten that the U. S. and a number of other NATO countries collectively waged one of the most destructive wars on the European continent since the end of World War II–the modern aerial bombing campaign against the Serbian people. In the tradition of the New World Order, this “intervention” wasn’t called “war.” It was argued by various Western politicians and the corporate media that the bombing campaign was directed against the late Serbian President Milošević and his “propaganda machine.”[i] In fact, the NATO bombs loaded with depleted uranium[ii] were falling on ...
READ MORE
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and American Nuclear Denial
“To Hell and Back” is a phrase that can bear a pretty heavy metaphorical load when it comes to talking about the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It’s also the title of a book by Charles Pellegrino.Pellegrino’s book is a moving and grueling close-up look at the horrors experienced by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki both on the day of the bombing and in the days and years afterward. I have the heart of a dried-up raisin but even I got a little teary in places.There are few opportunities for inspiring “triumph of the human spirit” narratives amid ...
READ MORE
Albanian Terrorists as Official NATO Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo Members
Remember watching ancient Orthodox Christian monasteries in flames in Kosovo dozen times.Old, noble constructions, spiritual and historical testimonies of past times.I also remember that majority of Orthodox Christian monasteries, churches and relics has been attacked and destroyed after NATO forces (officially: KFOR) took full control of the Serbian province.It amazed me to see how Western soldiers, under full equipment and heavy armament, often didn’t make a single move to stop Albanian violence; over 200 000 Serbs had to flee, in order to save their bare lives, bearing whole their lives in few suitcases if they were lucky enough.It turned out ...
READ MORE
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
The refusal of the United Nations to qualify the recent US airstrike against Syria as an act of aggression makes the Organization irrelevant – something Russia has been trying to prevent. It has become vulnerable to scathing criticism after demonstrating its impotence and inability to act. The continued paralysis is an eloquent example of the UN’s disengagement and lack of political will to fulfill its duty. The Organization’s image has suffered great damage. It still has a chance to rectify it by launching an investigation into what really happened in Syria. Article One of the UN Charter states that one of the purposes is ...
READ MORE
Why are We in Kosovo?
Once again, U.S. air and naval forces are preparing strikes on Serbia’s army and police for refusing to stand down in Kosovo. And, once again, Americans are deeply ambivalent about intervention.“Either we get in there with a NATO force, or we get the hell out,” said an exasperated Sen. John Warner after Yugoslav strong man Slobodan Milosevic showed two NATO generals the door.Warner advocates intervention. But Americans sense that, despite our disgust at the latest massacre and Milosevic’s thuggery, no vital U.S. interest exists there. The Serbs do not threaten NATO; they have not attacked Americans; they are fighting to ...
READ MORE
Proxy Wars: Kosovo and South Ossetia
Yada…yada…yada. The discussion on the unprovoked and planned aggression by Georgia on South Ossetia is futile and moot because Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced last week that the Russian Government would recognize the independence and freedom of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On August 25, 2008, both houses of the Russian Parliament or Duma voted unanimously to recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. On August 26, 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that the government of the Russian Federation officially recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.Save your rhetoric. Georgia has lost those areas permanently. Ossetians and ...
READ MORE
President Obama’s Farewell Speech
The Biggest Threat to World Peace is NATO
Zbigniew Brzezinski – War Criminal Supreme
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
Post-Maidan Ukrainian Anti-Semitism: Tragic “Blowback” Resulting from U.S. Interventionist Foreign Policy?
Democracy in America is Pure Fantasy
Syrian Strikes are ‘Legal’ – But Only According to the ‘Law of the Jungle’
50 Shades of American Fascism
What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did
What’s in a Name? Everything and Nothing
The Forgotten Postwar US-Nazi Alliance
Who will Miss Obama?
The US/NATO Orchestration of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine
September 11, 2001: The Crimes of War Committed “In the Name of 9/11″
Embracing the US-NATO War Criminals Who Destroyed Our Country
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and American Nuclear Denial
Albanian Terrorists as Official NATO Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo Members
UN Response to US Attack on Syria: Noble Words, Empty Deeds
Why are We in Kosovo?
Proxy Wars: Kosovo and South Ossetia

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu