My Marija Avramovic – Zagreb
In protest over the recent welcoming at the airport of the convicted war criminal Dario Kordic with ovations and euphoria, human rights activists of the House of Human Rights, the Antifascist League and Platform 112 on Tuesday night organized in front of the Zagreb Cathedral a standout to commemorate the 116 victims of the war crimes committed in Ahmici in 1993.
Eugen Jakovcic from the House of Human Rights noted that people forget that Kordic was not released because he was innocent, but because he was convicted and served two thirds of his sentence. “The Hague tribunal hasn’t had any doubt that he planned and instigated the crime in Ahmici”, said Jakovcic.
“In a civil, humanly and Christian manner, it is unacceptable that such a person is celebrated and knighted. We think that an entirely wrong message is sent to the world. One that does not contribute to coexistence and peace in the region and directly offend the families of those killed, who feel bad, just because of the fact that Kordic was released from the prison in Austria”, Jakovcic said.
Activists protested against the war criminal Kordic, who was greeted as a hero, but also because of the bishop Kosic who was waiting for Kordic at the Zagreb airport. Organizers of this silent commemoration consider it unacceptable that Kordic was greeted with a standing ovation as the ‘knight’ and ‘moral vertical’, in the presence of the Catholic clergy, including Sisak’s bishop Kosic who led a prayer of thanksgiving for Kordic’s return.
At this peaceful protest, activists among who were many public figures like the MP for Croatian People Party (HNS) Goran Beus Richembergh, held 116 banners with the names of victims of crime in Ahmici.
Boris Azdajic, commander of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) for Old Town Sarajevo, who attended the event, circled slowly around every activist and bowed to every name which was written on these banners. “Those who give even a few minutes on the air to the convicted criminals are not normal. There were some things that were in my power that I did not do as I should have and that is why I’m here today”, said Azdajic.
In front of the cathedral also gathered those who don’t agree with the criticism of civil activists. Protest and homage to the victims was hampered by thirty people carrying banners on which the names of Croatian victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina were written. Those who defended Kordic reminded of the crimes committed against Croats in Trusina village, which occurred the same day as the crime in Ahmici, also held banners with slogans like “Christ was convicted as a criminal too”, “down with communism”. Despite the apparent tensions and conflicts, no violence or serious incidents occured.
“We’re talking about the piety of all the victims, but no one mentions the 1600 Croatian civilian casualties, crimes committed in the Krizancevo village and central Bosnia”, said Zoran Milicic, chairman of the city committee for defenders of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and representative in the city council.