However, would their fear be so intense – despite the fact that Split is the city that makes not only Serbs, but also members of the minority among Croats that insists on the need to sort out all sorts of crimes committed by Tudman’s boys, feel unwelcome - if the current authorities had made at least a miniscule progress in punishing those responsible for one of the most brutal crimes committed in the war? Would those two young people recall with less bitterness the night when members of Mercep’s unit – Sinisa Rimac, Munib SUljic, Nikola Hodak, Igor Mikola, Snjezana Zivanovic… - broke into their family home in Zagreb, murdered in front of them their father, then their mother, and finally twelve-years-old sister Aleksandra? Would all of us be at least a little bit less ashamed if all of the mentioned (sub)humans were punished, instead of living in “their” homes, “raising” their children, probably of same age as little Aleksandra, inconvenienced only once in a while when a new ridiculous trial is arranged under the headline “Pakracka Poljana case”, although the judiciary is talking about only one murder, as in the processing of other crimes purported procedural mistakes were made?
How could Dusan and Gordana Zec not be afraid of coming to Split when even I still recall a phone call by the mentioned Snjezana Zivanovic, a woman with some sort of military rank and, most likely – just like her comrade in crime Sinisa Rimac – some sort of Tudman’s decoration for “achievement in war”, during which the mentioned lady said: “I’ll kneecap both you and your child!”, after Feral published confessions of Mercep’s boys given in the first investigation, which were later discarded as irregular.
The war crime trial of Mercep’s group will never be repeated; besides, that same Mercep was never summoned to testify about crimes against Serbs in Zagreb, Suljic and those like him still shoot at journalists, and Dusan and Gordana Zec will most likely never visit Split. The city in which the trial for grave crimes committed in Lora prison – equal in its horror to the execution of the Zec family – is turning into a true metaphor of the attitude of the judiciary, lawyers, and audience in the court house with respect to war crimes committed by “our boys” against “Chetnik outlaws”, also known as citizens of Split.
Moreover, the farce from the trial of suspects charged with torture in Lora prison is expectedly turning into cynicism of arrogant defendants; “We were extremely polite with the inmates. I remember that a Red Cross representative once told me that the Croatian side brought to exchanges fashion models, while the Serbs were bringing broken men…,” certain Zvonko Abram stated, reminding one of ”academician” Nedeljko Mihanovic, who as the president of the Parliament claimed that in Jasenovac concentration camp prisoners enjoyed opera performances. At the same time, already nine witnesses – victims of torture – “cannot recall events in Lora”.
And how could they recall anything in the court room that resembles more closely a session of Condic’s headquarters than a place that is supposed to confirm the willingness of Croatia to finally punish war crimes of at least some of so many that today live peacefully and well, proud that their actions have contributed that today, for example, in Split only an extremely courageous minority [nine persons] dares to declare themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians [Serbs]? Or that they have “done everything in their power” to reduce at least one Zagreb family – the Zec family – from five to only two members who are today having trouble making ends meet abroad since it hasn’t occurred to the authorities of the state in which they had been born to give them back their property in Croatia, to apologize, to invite them to return…?
Instead, in the court room in Split, presided over by judge Lozina, an insignificant defense attorney is accusing non-governmental organizations of obstructing the trial, by allegedly convincing witnesses from Serbia to stay away, while Lozina claims that witnesses were guaranteed protection and consequently have nothing to fear. On the contrary, they should be pleased that they have a chance to visit Split and expose themselves to threats from the audience in the courtroom and provocations of attorneys defending indicted “heros”.
Besides, what can one say about the indolent statement of the president of the Supreme Court Ivica Crnic, who calmly concluded that he had personally convinced himself that witnesses from Serbia had been guaranteed all sorts of protection in case they decided to come to the Split trial. And he was convinced by the president of the County Court in Split Igor Benzon, who, knowing Lozina’s background, put him in charge of the Lora case trial; Benzon, who has thoroughly cleansed Split judiciary of non-Croat judges over the last ten years; Benzon who was a mentor of the president of the municipal court in Split, infamous Branko Saric, who literally kicked ethnic Serb colleagues out on the street. Therefore, Crnic, without reservations trusts those and such Tudman’s judges as he, of course, obeys law to the letter and publicly condemns the Prime Minister for getting involved in “the ongoing trial”.
True, with his characteristic demagoguery, Ivica Racan expressed his dissatisfaction with the trial for war crimes committed in Split, saying that he thought that “the trial discredits institutions in charge of the Lora case and reduces the likelihood that we will be able to try other cases ourselves”. And that reprimand was directed who knows where, instead of at ministers of his government, justice minister above all, who were supposed to timely secure conditions and judges who would guarantee that the trial would be regular.
On the other hand, if he was asked, Crnic would have refused to comment on the cases that “are not currently being tried”, nor were ever tried, such as Pakracka Poljana, or the murder of the Zec family, or the role of his colleague from the Constitutional Court Vice Vukojevic in crimes committed in Bosnia… Namely, judging by his recent TV appearance, in his opinion the whole problem of the inherited and polluted Tudman’s judiciary is, check this!, in the lack of funding, funding, and yet again funding. That is why this former Tudman’s minister of justice is only yet another ongoing man.
Will Crnic finally do something extraordinary, prompted by the justified request of the state prosecutor’s office to move the Lora case trial from Split to a different court because of “legalistic” outbursts in the court room?