President of Croatia vs Amnesty International

Some time ago I have indirectly informed Amnesty International of the fact that neither the President Ivo Josipović nor the State Attorney General Mladen Bajić have not done anything to help the development of the Milan Levar murder case, although a year ago they promised to do so to his widow Vesna Levar in the presence of the reporter Drago Pilsel as a witness.

I sincerely hope somebody will recommend me for the award that the President Ivo Josipović assigns for exceptional achievements in the field of human rights, and that the President will accept the recommendation, upon which I shall publicly denounce it. Of course I am being cynical when I say that I hope somebody will nominate me for the award and that the President will accept the nomination. I am, however, being utterly serious when I say that I would refuse such an award from Josipović, even though there may be a one-in-a-thousand possibility for something like that to happen. I have started thinking about drawing up a will containing, among other points, an obligation on the part of my family to publicly denounce Josipović, using the explanation I will outline here, in case there is a slightest prospect that he awards me posthumously.

In an interview for Media Service held on 28 December 2012 the President was asked to comment on the requests placed before the newly formed government of the Republic of Croatia by theAmnesty International to investigate the role of Šeks and Domazet in the Croatian War of Independence, to which he replied:

“Well, the Amnesty International may insist as much as they wish, but they are writing to the wrong addresses. It would be appalling if the government investigated anything; the government has nothing to do with that. Investigation is the duty of the State Attorney’s Office which should decide whether or not there are grounds for prosecuting anyone.”

The President is not in this instance protecting either the Government or the independence of the judiciary. His statement, disparaging the work of Amnesty International, and voicing his defense of Vladimir Šeks and the State Attorney General Mladen Bajić, is only a continuation of his undue involvement in the functioning of the judiciary.

Some time ago I have indirectly informed Amnesty International of the fact that neither the President Ivo Josipović nor the State Attorney General Mladen Bajić have not done anything to help the development of the Milan Levar murder case, although a year ago they promised to do so to his widow Vesna Levar in the presence of the reporter Drago Pilsel as a witness. Mladen Bajić lied to Vesna Levar and Drago Pilsel when he said that he would transfer the case from the court in Gospić directly to his own office in Zagreb, that he would be personally in charge of the investigation and that it would be a priority investigation. Ernest Marinković, a reporter from Novosti, recently discovered that the case is still being held at the District Attorney’s Office in Karlovac, that is, at its branch office in Gospić.

I have discovered that three months ago Gospić Attorney Pavo Rukavina, who held the same position during the period of ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Gospić and had not done anything to prevent it, just like Mladen Bajić in Split (see the Lora case), summoned a formal hearing about the circumstances of Milan Levar’s murder of a person who spent the years between 1993 and 2004 as an asylum seeker in Germany and thus could not have had any direct knowledge about his friend’s death. The same Attorney Pavo Rukavina charged and imprisoned this ‘witness’ alongside Milan Levar, claiming that they blew up the house of the retired Croatian Army Colonel Nikola Rendulić. When I testified about the circumstances involving Milan Levar’s death in Gospić in 2006 and mentioned the witness who had to leave for Germany and ask for an asylum, the same Attorney told me that Zdenko Ropac had no reason to ask for a German asylum and that he was in no danger in Croatia. Yes, just like Milan Levar, I bitterly replied to Pavo Rukavina.

Zdenko Ropac was the best friend of Milan Levar. Here he is in the photo from 2003, when he was still in asylum in Germany near Stuttgart. On the left side of Ropac is journalist Slavica Lukić, and on the right side I am.

It should also be noted that neither the police nor DORH (or Mladen Bajić personally) have ever taken an official statement from the widow Vesna Levar concerning the circumstances involving her husband’s death, although they are legally required to do so. Mladen Bajić has only unofficially spoken to Vesna Levar about the accuracy of my testimony, which I sent him by e-mail six months prior to being summoned to give an official statement at the Gospić Attorney’s Office. Upon discovering that the information given by me and that given by Vesna Levar is the same, that is to say, that we both suspect the same person as the one who was informing the organizers of the assassination about the movements of the late Levar, Mladen Bajić ‘solemnly’ promised to take over the case himself and to call me to testify again. A few weeks later he even told Drago Pilsel that he had personally questioned M.M., the person whom me and Vesna Levar suspect of betraying Levar, or significantly contributing to his assassination. Had Mladen Bajić taken an official statement from Vesna Levar, he would have had to arrest Milan Mrla immediately for being involved in Milan Levar’s murder, which would have triggered the raising of indictments against most of the individuals involved in the murder of which Amnesty International regularly reminds every Croatian government and Chief State Prosecutor Mladen Bajić on every occasion.

At the same time when I indirectly informed Amnesty International about this, I started receiving threats from the people whom I suspect to be involved in Levar’s murder. I sent a message to President Josipović, through the people who can reach him directly, to personally ensure that Mladen Bajić does what he promised to him, to Drago Pilsel and to Vesna Levar, because as a result of his obvious refusal to act I am once again receiving threats and feeling my family and myself are in danger. Two weeks have passed since I sent the message through Josipović’s friends, but I have received no reply. I gave him a message that I shall hold him morally responsible for getting involved in the Levar case for reasons of personal gain, since back in 2009 I persuaded Vesna Levar and her son Leon, at the request of Drago Pilsel who was a member of Josipović’s election campaign staff at the time, to express their support to Josipović when he comes to Gospić to win supporters for his Presidential elections, which they did, and everything was recorded by the press. Josipović thus presented himself as a person who stands for the most vulnerable and achieved an unprecedented success for somebody who not only is not a member of HDZ, but is being seen with ‘those Levars’.

On a rainy day under a Ličanka Brewery sunshade at the Gospić market Josipović met the townspeople of whom more than 200 supported his nomination for the election. Vesna Levar, the widow of the late Milan Levar also came to express her support.Text and photo:

Josipović has, therefore, illegally interfered in the ‘independent’ functioning of the judiciary for purely egotistic reasons, feeling a certain responsibility towards Vesna Levar, or wishing to mitigate her discontent and actually help Bajić get rid of that “annoying Amnesty International that for no reason rummages through the case that cannot be solved, so now even the President and the State Attorney have done their utmost to try to do everything that is possible to be done.” So if he broke the law a year ago, allegedly for altruistic or righteous reasons, why hasn’t he done that again when I asked him so via the intermediaries?! Why does he now criticize Amnesty International when they ask from the new government to make additional efforts to take to court Vladimir Šeks and Davor Domazet Lošo and remind us that in Croatia witnesses are being killed?!

As those close to the new government assure me, the President has asked the Prime Minister Zoran Milanović and other members of the winning coalition to “spare” Mladen Bajić for at least another year.

– The President asked us not to request that Bajić be removed from the Parliament, not to support the replacement request announced by Ruža Tomašić, and to allow him to continue working for at least one year because he works very well, while a replacement request or our rejection of his annual report might be held against us as evidence of bearing him a grudge for exempting Sanader and HDZ for a number of years, and for not taking any action against Jadranka Kosor. Such conduct on our part would contravene the pre-election promise of the current Minister of the Interior Ranko Ostojić to closely cooperate with Bajić, it would leave an impression that we are politicising the judiciary, that we are trying to replace him with somebody who better suits our interests, and it might make Zoran Milanović, the fiercest critic of Bajić in the Parliament, seem a more arrogant and revengeful political figure than he appears at the moment – two members of Parliament from the winning coalition recounted their recent conversation with President Josipović.

However, they did not want to tell me how they replied to the President, or what stance the Prime Minister Milanović takes towards Bajić after everything that has come out in the public about his conduct towards Index and the Kamensko scandal and the witnesses to his dishonourable conduct in the case of Lora – Mario BarišićIvica Bačić and Tonči Majić.

Without being cynical, I think that Croatian government, if it wants to make Croatia part of the EU quickly and without obstructions, will have to find a way of getting rid of Mladen Bajić very soon and disregard the pressure imposed by the President in relation to Bajić’s protection. Vesna Pusić, the Minister of Foreign Affairs whose brother Zoran has recently been decorated by Josipović, will be particularly exposed to criticism of the international community.

Drago Hedl expressed his thanks in the name of those who received the awards, saying that Croatia has significantly progressed in terms of human rights protection, to which President Josipović also considerably contributed. “Not so long ago human rights were being broken in the interest of alleged higher purposes. Unfortunately, in the 1990s, and sometimes in this very space”, Hedl pointed out, thanking the President for not accepting such “higher purposes” that imply infringement of human rights and for considering the insistence on human rights issue as the most important democratic aim that should take precedence over all other issues.(from left to right: Zoran Pusić, GOLJP, President Ivo Josipović, Ivana Milas, Nansen Dialogue Center Osijek and Drago Hedl, EPH reporter)Text and photo: UPRH

In the above mentioned interview to Media Service in which he criticized Amnesty International, Josipović also briefly commented on the case of Davor Blažević Tigar, the recent Head of the Special Security Board at the Ministry for the Interior, who was replaced by Ranko Ostojić when the press discovered that he had been in touch with Ivo Sanader, who is charged with several offences and released pending trial. He criticized the President for having decorated that same person, Tigar.

People excelling at their job may still make a mistake at some point. Blažević was decorated for performing his duties well, along with 117 other police officers. However, one may never know everybody personally. We used words of praise and acted in accordance with the decision of the Commission. The fact that somebody receives an award today does not mean they may not be held responsible for wrongdoing tomorrow, said Josipović.

I know for a fact that President Josipović, when he as an SDP Member of Parliament and a town councilor used to blog and post comments on the internet, read my internet blogs and that he could not have missed several of my articles warning against the inefficiency of Croatian judiciary in relation to war crimes, precisely in the case of Davor Blažević Tigar who was a witness to the killing of several prisoners of war after the operation Storm near the place of Siverić, where he found himself as the driver of Smiljan Reljić, the Head of SZUP (Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order).

I enclose just some of the links dealing with the never officially investigated activity of Davor Blažević Tigar in the war crime near Siverić for which Josipović now indirectly claims to have missed them since “one may never know everybody personally”:

The minutes of Željko Žganjer on the killings of war prisoners in Siverić (Petar Ivić, Smiljan Reljić, Davor Blažević Tigar)

Sanader’s bodyguard in the pre-trial procedure for the war crime in Siverić?

Immediately after taking over his duty as President, Josipović had a conflict with the then Minister of the Interior Tomislav Karamarko concerning Davor Blažević Tigar, and I again reminded him about the person in question:

Karamarko defends Tigar against Josipović’s security experts

Karamarko discharged former bodyguards of Račan due to Siverić war crimes investigaiton?

It is now difficult to figure out whether by awarding Davor Blažević Tigar the President Ivo Josipović was returning a favor to Ivo Sanader, or to Tomislav Karamarko, protecting Mladen Bajić or just following the wise advice of his national security advisor Saša Perković (son of Josip Perković). He certainly was not uninformed, like Jadranka Kosor was not uninformed about Ivo Sanader’s doings, although she publicly disclaimed responsibility for the corruption in Sanader’s government and the HDZ…

This is the reason why I will bequeath an obligation to my family not to receive in my name any posthumous decoration. A leader who takes advantage of the victims of human rights infringement and protects those who infringe these rights is morally more unacceptable to me than the one who has not taken a stand on human rights, let alone swore by them.

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Croatian television carried out ruthless war propaganda during September 1993, reporting on the police-military action Medak Pocket. The role of the main war reporter in this action was given to the Ministry of Defense by journalist Silvana Menđušić, who previously appeared in propaganda reports from Šibenik (falsely shelling Šibenik and interviewing the detained prisoners in the Miljevci campaign). In Medak Pocket, she was pictured next to “enemy” corpses and commanded soldiers and police officers whom she interviewed to speak. The material I bring here is not HTV’s but amateurish. It not only further reveals the role of Silvana Menđušić and HTV in the propaganda war, but also shows crimes, bodies of killed civilians, houses on fire, and those responsible for that are Mirko Norac, Frane Tomičić, Milan Čanić Bićo, General Janko Bobetko and Admiral Davor Domazet Lošo, whose prosecution is still being sought by Amnesty International.[/box]

P.S. As soon as this text is published I will forward it to the addresses of Amnesty Internationaland other international human rights organizations and international institutions concerned with the respect for human rights and the rule of law in Croatia, as well as to the address of the President’s office, so that Professor Ivo Josipović, PhD, could not again say he did not know. At the moment he is more responsible for the case of Šeks and Domazet Lošo than the newly formed government, and he is only right when he says that Amnesty International is writing to the wrong address. They should write to him and remind him that his actions will influence how quickly Croatia will be accepted in the EU.

Davor Blažević TigarDavor Domazet LošoErnest MarinkovićFrane TomičićIvica BačićIvo JosipovicJanko BobetkoMario BarišićMilan Čanić BićoMilan LevarMilan MrlaMirko NoracMladen BajicNikola RendulićPavo RukavinaRanko OstojićSasa PerkovicSilavana MenđušićSmiljan ReljićTomislav KaramarkoTonči MajićVladimir ŠeksZdenko RopacŽeljko ŽganjerZoran Milanović
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