Croatian Ministers Salute Criminals and Dishonour the Dead

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.

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

READ MORE!
On Veterans’ Day, Remember the Lies That Filled Military Cemeteries
Politicians will be heartily applauded for saluting American’s soldiers today. But if citizens had better memories, elected officials would instead be fleeing tar and feathers. Politicians have a long record of betraying the veterans they valorize. Veterans Day 2018 has been dominated by the confab of political leaders in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. American media coverage fixated on President Trump’s cancellation of one of his two visits to U.S. military cemeteries. In his speech yesterday at a U.S. military cemetery in France, Trump declared that it is “our duty … ...
READ MORE
Politics is Above Common Sense in Latvia
The painful issue of using Russian language in Latvia appears on the agenda once again. Ethnic Russians “knock at the doors” of international organisation trying to defend their rights to speak and get education in their native language. Their hope for understanding in Latvia is melting every day. It has become known that Russian Community in Latvia sent a letter to Council of Europe about violation of human rights. The message addressed to Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland also calls for a request from the Venice Commission to amend the two Latvian language laws which were adopted by the Saeima in spring. The ...
READ MORE
Understanding Genocide and our Remembrance as Greeks
Last week Pontian Greeks throughout the world justifiably recognized a tragic day in their history that has come to be known as the Pontian Genocide. I wrote about the anniversary, obscure to most people around me who are not well-versed in Greek history and even had to repeatedly change my auto-correct on my computer, which insisted on changing the word Pontian to pontiac. This anniversary was followed by another recognition of yet another genocide of Greeks— officially commemorated on April 6 and recalling the tragic events targeting the Greeks of Eastern Thrace— the region known today as European Turkey or the lands ...
READ MORE
The U.S. War Crimes against North Korea: Sinchon Massacre by the U.S. Military Exposed
SINCHON COUNTY, North Korea–Over the past few years the Korean people have been able to expose the truth about a number of atrocities by Washington’s military forces during the 1950–53 Korean War. Many others, however, remain covered up and receive virtually no mention outside the Korean peninsula. One such massacre took place in Sinchon, a city located in what is today North Korea. During the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists leadership delegation’s visit to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK), we toured the Sinchon Museum, which documents what north Koreans consider the worst atrocity to have taken place in ...
READ MORE
Can You Imagine? Readers on Еx-Yugoslavia
Recommended alternative reading list on the Yugoslav studies not used by mainstream corporative Western mass-media and top Western universities dealing with global security, world politics and international relations. Reading proposed readers below you can complete picture on the Yugoslav studies out of the official Western approach. March Pogrom 2004 Book and Photo Evidence KOSOVSKA GOLGOTA Intervju 1988 20 Principal Misconceptions on Kosovo Issue The Srebrenica Massacre Evidence Context Politics Edward S Herman Phillip Corwin Kosovo Murky Reality Lista Diane Budisavljevic 1941 Do 1945 by Владислав Б. Сотировић/Vladislav B. Sotirović Josip Broz Tito Bez Maske! by Владислав Б. Сотировић/Vladislav B. Sotirović Hayden Mass Killings and Images of Genocide in ...
READ MORE
German Interests in the War Against Yugoslavia
Churchill once said that in war the truth is so precious it has to be surrounded with a bodyguard of lies. In Germany over the last two months one clearly saw the fabrication of such a bodyguard. Even as air attacks proceeded against civilian targets—destroying factories, electricity works, refineries, bridges, streets, railway lines and apartment blocks— German government representatives spoke of a ” humanitarian action ” . Despite the fact that the NATO attacks unleashed the massive wave of refugees and reduced towns and villages in Kosovo to ruins , it has been maintained to the very end that the aim ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: Home to Many ISIS Recruits
For all the attention paid to the emergence of homegrown Islamist terrorists in Belgium, France and other European countries, one of the continent’s biggest radicalization problems is taking place on its fringes. Kosovo, the tiny Muslim-majority Balkan nation of just 1.8 million, has produced more foreign fighters per capita than any other Western nation since ISIS declared its now-defunct caliphate in 2014. Some 413 Kosovo citizens, including women and children, have joined that group and other Islamist extremist factions since the war in Syria began in 2012. As it attempts to join the European Union, Kosovo has been under pressure to stamp ...
READ MORE
Recognize the Genocide that Happened—And the One Now Beginning
The United States, Europe, and their partners must officially recognize the Mountainous Karabagh Republic within its constitutional frontiers. Stepanakert, Mountainous Karabagh — I no longer know what to do on April 24—or where to go. This is the day Armenians across the globe commemorate the genocide in 1915 that destroyed the Armenian people and its homeland of thousands of years. Those killing fields, the homes of my grandparents, are located in historic western Armenia—now eastern Turkey. But a century later, this very region has erupted in all-out war. Turkish forces are on the offensive again, this time, Armenians having been eliminated, against ...
READ MORE
Where do Matters Stand? Does the U.S. Intend to Wage War on Russia?
On the eve of World War II the United States was still mired in the Great Depression and found itself facing war on two fronts with Japan and Germany. However bleak the outlook, it was nothing compared to the outlook today. Has anyone in Washington, the presstitute Western media, the EU, or NATO ever considered the consequences of constant military and propaganda provocations against Russia? Is there anyone in any responsible position anywhere in the Western world who has enough sense to ask: “What if the Russians believe us? What if we convince Russia that we are going to attack her?”The ...
READ MORE
Yalta, 1945: The Impact on Yugoslavia
What was the impact of the 1945 Yalta Conference on Yugoslavia? The key result of the conference for Yugoslavia was that it endorsed and ratified the 1944 agreement between Josip Broz Tito and Ivan Subasic. The end result was that the American, British, and Soviet governments installed a dictatorship in Yugoslavia. The Allied task was the illusory and chimerical objective of uniting the prewar, monarchist Yugoslav Government-in-Exile based in London headed by Peter II Karadjordjevich with Tito’s de facto anti-monarchist, Soviet-style, Communist government in Belgrade. This was the major issue that was discussed at plenary meetings and foreign ministers sessions at ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy of Terror
Kosovo is Clinton Country: a 10-foot-high statue of Bill overlooks “Bill Clinton Boulevard” in the capital city of Pristina. Hillary is also memorialized in what has become the crime capital of Europe: right off the street named for her husband is a store named “Hillary,” featuring women’s clothing modeled after the putative Democratic party nominee for President. Pantsuits figure prominently. As Vice puts it: “While former President Bill Clinton has had a boulevard named after him, it’s without a doubt that his wife’s the real star out here.” Why is that? As Gail Sheehy pointed out in her biography of Hillary, ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump – A Super Zionist?
What could cause Russia to invade Israel At the time, Israel’s Prime Minister had flown to Washington, and was making a desperate bid to get Obama’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Only a few weeks earlier a discovery had been made that would serve to increase tensions on the question of sovereignty over the Golan – huge oil deposits were found on the Golan Heights, and verified by an Israeli company. Yet, weeks later, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel having failed to secure Obamas support. It wasnt long before the United Nations – including Russia – condemned Israels “occupation” of the ...
READ MORE
The Bosnian Muslim Government Reformed the WWII Nazi SS Division Handzar in 1992-1995
Marko Attila Hoare rejects and suppresses this factual image of Bosnian history in favor of a fantasy or delusional image from a television comedy. The real Heinrich Himmler (Heimlich Bimmler) reviewing the real or “historical” Bosnian Muslim Nazi SS Division Handzar, 1943. Did the Bosnian Muslim Army and Government reform or recreate the infamous Nazi SS Division Handzar or not? Based on Martko Attila Hoare’s response to my article, Hoare now concedes that, indeed, there was a formation in the Bosnian Muslim Army termed the “Handzar Division”. Let me reiterate that. Hoare admitted that the Bosnian Muslim Government did indeed reform the ...
READ MORE
The Bosnian Serb “Death Camp” Fabrication
Serbian emergency shelters for Bosnian refugees sold to the public as a concentration camp to win public support for international intervention.  In August 1992, millions of people were shocked to see photographs of a supposed Bosnian Serb death camp. But the death camp story was a lie. The ITN crew had filmed from inside a fenced-in storage area. By shooting through the fence ITN created footage that gave the impression that the Bosnian men were imprisoned. With a little editing, this footage was turned into pictures that gave the impression of a death camp – media manipulation. The death camps were in ...
READ MORE
From a Sunday to a Monday in August, the Sixth Day
The genesis of the world, the myth of creation speaks of seven days.1 Six days of divine labour whereon the seventh the lord of the universe rested. No one, not even the angelic general staff of the combined heavenly hosts, could fathom what led the Creator to engage in this feat.2 But tradition has established that man — here the gendered reference is intended — as being created in the image of the Creator — aka “God” — should also rest on the seventh day. Depending on the sect into which one was born and bred, this may be called ...
READ MORE
General Ratko Mladić and the Pandora’s Box of the Bosnian War (1992-1995)
General Ratko Mladic’s arrest and his extradition to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia satisfied the prerequisites for Serbia’s membership in the European Union. As expected, the western media have tagged the defendant as the “Butcher of Bosnia” and piled on as many charges against him as possible, thereby masking NATO’s role in Yugoslavia. But there can be no reconciliation without truth, which, as Slobodan Despot observes, is far more complex than the Manichean account given. Ratko Mladić did not serve his country well by hiding from justice for all these years, but his late capture may allow a ...
READ MORE
Oliver Stone’s American History: “We’re not under Threat. We are the Threat”
As he launches his new TV series offering a critical view of US overseas exploits, the film director tells MEE he didn’t always see it that way. American controversies are Oliver Stone’s forte. The Hollywood movie director has turned his cameras on the assassination of John F Kennedy, the Vietnam War and the 9/11 attacks. But, when researching his television series, The Untold History of the United States, it was American exploits in the Middle East that left him with the most lasting impression, he told Middle East Eye on Wednesday. “When I studied the untold history, one thing that really hit me hard was ...
READ MORE
Europe’s Forgotten ‘Hitler’ Killed over 10 Million Africans
Most people have no idea of who is pictured above, but you should. The sight of this man should cause a similar revulsion to that of seeing Mussolini, Mao, Stalin or Hitler, as he committed an African genocide that resulted in the killing of over 10 million people in the Congo. His name is King Leopold II of Belgium. Most of the people never learned about him in school, and have also most likely never heard about him in the media either. This is because he’s not included in the popular narrative of oppression (which includes things like U.S. slavery and the ...
READ MORE
Remember the Golan Heights?
During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces had surprised Israel and were fast approaching the edge of the steep Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 war. It seemed as if Syrian armor and infantry would retake Golan, then pour down into Israeli Galilee. Soviet recon satellites observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho missiles out of protective caves and onto their launch pads. At the same time, Israel was seen loading nuclear bombs on their US-supplied F-4 fighter-bombers at Tel Nof airbase. Believing Israel was about to use nuclear weapons against Syria and Egypt, Moscow put huge pressure on both ...
READ MORE
Zionism is Racism
Hardly any knowledgeable person doubts that Zionist ideology is the purest form of racism. Zionism is Jewish disguised racism as a raison d’etat. Israel comes right after the U. S., as far as racism is concerned. That is why the U. S. donates to this racist regime $ 3.8 bn per year in order to keep this occupation regime going. Should anybody doubt the racism of the Israeli leadership, read the following article.[1] Racism among the Israeli leadership is legendary. It started out with the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, saying: “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it ...
READ MORE
On Veterans’ Day, Remember the Lies That Filled Military Cemeteries
Politics is Above Common Sense in Latvia
Understanding Genocide and our Remembrance as Greeks
The U.S. War Crimes against North Korea: Sinchon Massacre by the U.S. Military Exposed
Can You Imagine? Readers on Еx-Yugoslavia
German Interests in the War Against Yugoslavia
Kosovo: Home to Many ISIS Recruits
Recognize the Genocide that Happened—And the One Now Beginning
Where do Matters Stand? Does the U.S. Intend to Wage War on Russia?
Yalta, 1945: The Impact on Yugoslavia
Kosovo: Hillary Clinton’s Legacy of Terror
Donald Trump – A Super Zionist?
The Bosnian Muslim Government Reformed the WWII Nazi SS Division Handzar in 1992-1995
The Bosnian Serb “Death Camp” Fabrication
From a Sunday to a Monday in August, the Sixth Day
General Ratko Mladić and the Pandora’s Box of the Bosnian War (1992-1995)
Oliver Stone’s American History: “We’re not under Threat. We are the Threat”
Europe’s Forgotten ‘Hitler’ Killed over 10 Million Africans
Remember the Golan Heights?
Zionism is Racism
Policraticus

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