Interview: Josip Boljkovac
Josip Jovic Was Killed By NATO Bullet Of The Kind We Used
by Tomo VICIC
Vecernji List, Zagreb, Croatia, March 31, 2001
"I have had enough of lies and stupidities released daily by those who are supposedly concerned about the Homeland War. Because of that, after ten years of silence, I've decided to tell the truth about the bloody Easter, as well as other dirty deeds, murders, and attempts to murder individuals!" This is how Josip Boljkovac, the first Minister of Internal Affairs [Police] of independent Croatia started our interview. He added that he was prepared to provide evidence for each one of his assertions.
VECERNJI LIST: What happened in Plitvice ten years ago?
BOLJKOVAC: With president Tudman's approval, we developed a plan for an action whose goal was to capture Plitvice. We chose Easter for the date of the action, as we knew that the rebels were not expecting that we would attack on a Catholic holiday. One direction of attack was from Saborsko, while another one came from Licko Petrovo Selo. Our units were stationed next to Tito's villa and came from the west, while the fourth direction of attack was over the bridge on the Korana river. Our contacts in Belgrade reported that Belgrade knew about our plan, but that they were only aware of the direction of attack along the main road to Slunj.
Tus Urgently Sent Helicopter for Wounded
The truck with special forces soldiers was driven by Ljubo Cesic Rojs, who was ordered to stop before the bridge. The soldiers were supposed to attack on foot. As is characteristic for Rojs, he did something foolish. As soon as we took control of the bridge (Slavko Butorac led that attack), irresponsible Rojs, after spotting our soldiers on the bridge, did not stop but continued towards Plitvice. The vehicles were stopped by an ambush with a shoulder fired rocket. Fortunately, our spy in the rebel ranks fired the rocket, and he disabled the fuse. If he hadn't done that, we would have had tens of dead soldiers.
Our policemen quickly took care of the Serb rebels. They were able to do so thanks to an organized action of the Yugoslav People's Army generals Tus, Stipetic, and Cad, at the time the commander of the Rijeka garrison, who knew about the action. In Rijeka we had a successful team led by Slavko Linic and Josip Kukuljan, and they contacted Cad. Based on his orders, armored units under command of General Ivan Stimac, today a retired Croatian Army general, created a buffer zone and thereby prevented the arrival of Serb extremists recruited in Serbia and Bosnia.
With General Tus, who was one of our moles in Belgrade, we agreed assistance by helicopters, in case there were any wounded. That is what happened. After the attack on Rojs' bus, within an hour a Yugoslav People's Army helicopter arrived and took the wounded to a hospital. We captured Plitvice and set up a police station that worked successfully until I was replaced.
Tudman and Susak Intervened for Rojs
What happened with Rojs after that?
I talked to him and initiated disciplinary procedures. After first questionings Tudman and Susak intervened and practically rewarded Rojs. I solemnly recall the first Croat policeman who fell for the homeland, Josip Jovic. Circumstances under which he died were strange, and after the autopsy it was established that he was killed by a NATO bullet, of caliber 223. I know for sure that such bullets were used by the weaponry we bought in Singapore. The weapons and ammunition arrived in two planes and were unloaded in record breaking nine minutes. A part of that weaponry went to Slovenia. From that, one can reach a conclusion, but I'd rather not be the one to do it. There are documents about those details and one only needs to find and read them.
How were you dismissed?
Milosevic did not like the people who advocated [the transformation of the former Yugoslavia into] a loose confederation, about which we had talks with the Slovenians in Otocac on Krka. In the secret talks in Karadordevo Milosevic blackmailed Tudman and demanded that all the officials who opposed the division of Bosnia-Hercegovina be dismissed. I was the first one on that list. On July 1, Police chief in Osijek Josip Reihl-Kir was murdered and I was replaced on July 2. Dismissals of police chiefs who supported a peaceful solution followed: Puljizovic in Dubrovnik, Bujas in Sibenik, Vranjes in Split, Kukuljan in Rijeka, and Stajduhar in Karlovac, and a few more. I have a written statement by Fr. Duka, regarding the meeting in villa Weiss where the decision about my dismissal was made. I have given this statement to Vecernji List. Soon after my dismissal the extremists, led by Susak, started political and literal liquidations of the "unsuitable" individuals.
You frequently mention Tomislav Mercep in your interviews?
I am going to reveal something I have been hiding for years. In Vukovar Mercep founded his own army, even though the Popular Defense Office in the town was under the direct command of the Ministry of Defense. A part of the conversation Mercep had with the Police Chief in Karlovac, Ivan Stajduhar, and the head of the criminal offences police department, Zvonimir Vnucec, clearly indicates what he did there. Mercep came to Karlovac to "assist" with executions of Serbs. To the question whether there were any Serbs left in the city, his collocutors confirmed that they were still there, but rejected any thought of liquidation. Mercep then stated that he solved such issues differently in Vukovar, where every night he sent tens of corpses to Belgrade via the Danube river. Now you know the origin of about a hundred corpses that arrived in the Danube [to Novi Sad in Serbia], about which the press has been writing a lot these days.
Mercep Saved by Manolic and Spegelj
Mercep was at one point jailed by his own soldiers because of murders of innocents. After several days that information reached Manolic and Spegelj, who sent a helicopter to Vukovar and had Mercep brought to Zagreb. Thanks to extremists, instead of ending up in jail, he became a deputy to Minister Vekic and was placed in charge of the police reservists.
Milosevic's Role in Accusations of Stipetic Regarding War Crimes
"Milosevic and his extremists in the counter-intelligence service could not forgive the participation of Tus, Stipetic and others in the Homeland War. After the Storm he in different ways tried to affect their fate through secret services. In Milosevic's mind, Stipetic was especially marked because the Serb units surrendered to him near Glina. When Stipetic became the Chief of Staff, the counter-intelligence service and Milosevic's arsenal launched the story about him as a war criminal," explains Boljkovac. "These stories were sent through secret spy canals to Croatia. The unprofessional generals of the Croatian Army, most of whom are today retired, and other trouble makers, could not be happier after receiving that information. They envied Stipetic for his success and tried to get rid of him at all cost in order to protect their positions. Once they found out about the fake interest of the Hague, planted by Milosevic, they collected documentation with which they wanted to assist the Hague Tribunal in issuing an indictment against Stipetic. But I hope that they haven't and will not be successful. Individuals from the ranks of the governing coalition of six will one day be able to talk about the Stipetic affair, but that tale will be a tale of their illusions and credulity," concludes Josip Boljkovac.
HDZ member, Secret Serbian Agent, Was Supposed To Kill Tudman
"Even though president Tudman swept me aside at Milosevic's request, I was loyal to him and regularly, through people who remained in secret services, and were loyal to me, monitored his security. Through NATO secret services, in a conversation with the then secretary Werner, I found out that an assassination attempt on president's life was being prepared. The organizer was a secret Serbian agent who worked under the codename Zlatko, but also used names Kolega [colleague] or Busola [compass]. His written reports to the counter-intelligence service are in my possession and you can inspect them," says Boljkovac and shows us documents that confirm his assertions. "Zlatko is today one of the most aggressive HDZ politicians and frequently causes trouble in the Parliament. He is a big critic of the current political situation, a man who in parallel prepared an assassination attempt on Tudman's life and tried to curry favor with him. Secret services of European countries knew all those details, and I also know the name of the man who was supposed to be the assassin. That Croatian Army officer was at the place of honor during late president's burial," claims Boljkovac.
Translated on August 16, 2001