posted by julia on 2005/12/31 01:16

[ Croatia ]

"It is Dangerous to Tackle Taboos in Croatia" writes Vesna Peric Zimonjic on the website of the Inter Press Service. She refers to the threats received by journalists of the Croatian state TV HRT after an episode of the popular talk show "Latinica" on 12 December 2005, "The Legacy of Tudjman", in which the commentators criticised the policy of the first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman (1991- 1999), founder of the HDZ and leader of Croatia's secession from the SFRY. The show tackled "taboos" like war crimes committed by Croats in the region of Zadar and in Osijek, Gotovina's arrest, discrimination of Serbs in Croatia. Denis Latin, in charge of the "Latinica" show, received more than 200 telephone threats and was put under special police protection. Meanwhile, HDZ asked for a change of the editorial board of HRT, and HRT is considering sacking D. Latin (cf. article by D. Hedl in the Osservatorio sui Balkani, 20.12.2005, in Italian or French).

In November 2005, the famous Croatian author Predrag Matvejevic had been sentenced to five

months in prison because he had written an article for Jutarnji list where he accused other writers to have

created a climate of hate through their nationalistic stance. The judgement caused uproar

in Croatia and internationally, and the Croatian Justice Minister promised to change the law

which foresees imprisonement for libel and damage of reputation, and to replace prison

sentences by fines.

If not accused by the Croatian authorities, authors still run the - much greater - risk of

becoming victims of individual extremists. Drago Hedl, an editor of the weekly Feral Tribune and a correspondent for RFE/RL,

received an anonymous death threat in his mailbox in Osijek on 7 December 2005. D. Hedl is

the author of numerous investigative articles on the torture and killing of Serbian civilians

by Croats in Osijek and Vukovar during the 1991-1995 war. It is not the first time D. Hadl

receives a death threat, and the Feral Tribune is still being tried for D. Hedl's first

article on war crimes committed by Croatians. In an impressive article published

on the Transitions Online webpage only a day after the death

threat, he says that, although Croatia does not deny officially any more that Croats have committed war crimes, it is

still a difficult topic to write on, and even when the facts are known, only little is done

by the authorities to prosecute Croatian war criminals:

Serbs have been subject to speedy trials before Croatian courts for war crimes

committed in Croatia and face the maximum sentence based on far less evidence than in cases

against Croats. Croats also benefit from the Law on General Amnesty, even in cases of

multiple murders. It can therefore be said that today it is no more a secret for anyone that

the Croats also committed war crimes, but that little is being done to punish them. (D. Hedl

in "Transitions Online", 8.12.2005)


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