Thursday, July 28, 2016

Croatia: Court annuls conviction of Ustasha collaborator

Via Jerusalem Post:
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has expressed outrage over the recent annulment of the 1946 conviction of Croatian Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac, for treason and collaboration with the Nazi-aligned Ustasha regime.

“As the leading Catholic priest in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), Stepinac’s responsibility was to speak out on behalf of the innocent victims of the Ustasha, not to lend spiritual support to their murderers,” said the Wiesenthal Center’s top Nazi-hunter, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. “The genocidal campaign waged by the Ustasha against Serbs, their active participation in Holocaust crimes against Jews, and the murder of Roma and anti-fascist Croatians carried out in their network of concentration camps are among the most heinous crimes of World War II. No person who supported that regime should have their conviction annulled.”

The Zagreb County Court Judge Ivan Turudic overturned the verdict last week, saying it had violated the right to a fair trial, the prohibition of forced labor, and the rule of law.

Zuroff was dismissive of accounts that Stepinac later condemned Ustasha atrocities against Jews and Serbs.

“Bottom line is, he was [NDH leader] Ante Pavelić’s priest – that says it all, and it’s totally unforgivable,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “He openly supported the regime which committed mass murder, and afforded them spiritual comfort and support.”

Zuroff said the stance Stepinac took was of “huge significance,” and that for this reason, the annulment of the verdict is cause for celebration for nationalist and ultra-rightwing Croatians.

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