01 Aug 17
Croatian HDZ Member ‘Threatens NGO’ over Storm Apology
The Youth Initiative for Human Rights said it was threatened by a member of the governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ because of its campaign apologising to Serb victims of the 1995 military operation ‘Storm’.
The Youth Initiative for Human Rights, a Zagreb-based NGO, complained to police on Tuesday about threatening comments it received on Facebook from Hrvoje Marusic, a member of the governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.
“You Yugoslav-Communist bastards, you should be sentenced, shot— If we were a democratic state, you would be tried for grand treason and shot. And probably they will [shoot you], soon,” Marusic wrote on the NGO’s Facebook page on Monday.
The second part of the comment was later deleted.
Until the last elections, Marusic was an HDZ representative on the city council in the coastal city of Split, as well as the head of the Croatian Employers’ Association in Split.
He admitted writing the comment.
“I wrote that if we were a state with the rule of law, they [the Youth Initiative for Human Rights] would be tried and shot. I stand behind my statement,” Marusic told BIRN.
He added that he hopes that “Croatia will become a state with the rule of law”.
His comment on Facebook came after the NGO launched a campaign last week entitled ‘Apology to the Victims of Storm’, ahead of the upcoming 22nd anniversary of the operation on August 5, when officials will celebrate Croatia’s military victory over Serb rebel forces.
The NGO has informed the police about the alleged threat.
The HDZ did not respond to BIRN’s request for a comment by the time of publication.
During Operation Storm, Croatian forces took back a large part of the country’s territory that had been under the control of rebel Croatian Serbs since 1991.
According to the Croatian Helsinki Committee, the operation resulted in the killing of over 600 mostly elderly civilians and caused more than 200,000 Serbs to leave the country.
The Croatian judiciary has so far delivered only one final judgment for war crimes over killings during and after the operation.
Former Croatian soldier Bozo Bacelic was sentenced in May this year to seven years in prison for killing two civilians and one prisoner of war in Prokljan.