The public condemnation of that crime is unanimous and loud. Suspected murderers have already been apprehended and condemned, even before being indicted and found guilty of the crime. Ivan Bulj, the chief suspect for this cruel crime, has been taken into custody. His political party (HKDU) has immediately expelled him from its ranks. With unanimous decision, he was expelled from the Alka Knightly Association. Attorneys, demagogically, refuse to represent him, as if they only defend innocents in court.
At the same time, in the same region, people accused of committing equally horrendous crimes are celebrated as heroes. The Dalmatian county has proclaimed Generals Ademi, Gotovina and Norac for its honorable citizens; Ademi and Gotovina have been indicted by the Hague Tribunal for war crimes, while Norac is currently being tried for crimes committed in Gospic more than ten years ago. At the trial of the Gospic group, last week we could hear that Mira Kalanj, one of the victims, was most likely raped before being murdered. In the recently shown documentary film about the collection camp for Serbs and other citizens despised by Tudman's dogs of war, which functioned during 1991 at Zagreb Fairgrounds, we could hear that Marina Nuic, according to the testimony of her mother, was raped nineteen times before being murdered. Are those murders and sexual violence, until this day unpunished and unprosecuted, any less horrendous than the recent murder of Andjela Beslic?
Individuals linked with war crimes enjoy the full support of the public. Attorneys compete for the privilege of defending them. All over Croatia citizens organize support groups for them. Bulj was swiftly ejected from the same knightly association that proclaimed General Norac for its president. Even the parties that claim to be democratic, pro-European, and sincere supporters of the rule of law, do not have the guts to publicly take a stand against the official support for the individuals indicted for war crimes. In such an atmosphere, it is almost "normal" that judge Ika Saric, who resides over the trial against the Gospic group, has frequently been receiving threats, and that there has been no public reaction to that.
Patriotic babblers will, naturally, be horrified by my audacity to compare this and that, now and then, peacetime and wartime crimes, and to place Mira Kalanj next to Andjela Beslic. But both cases are cases of murder and rape, violence against innocent victims. But, I do not intend to dissect here hypocrisy of those who condemn one crime while celebrating the other.
The goal is to above all point out possible links between these crimes. The links are not automatic, but the community that is incapable of prosecuting and punishing crimes against members of minorities, invites an extension of the circle of violence. All of us know of the model by which the spiral of crime spreads out - first Jews, then non-Arians, then Germans opposing fascism... The society gets used to disappearances and executions and popular psyche slowly absorbs certain, durable and long lasting messages. Monstrous crimes take place in all states. But those states that are concerned about the health of the nation try to discourage all crimes by sanctioning them.