Presidency of the Croatian Parliament held its first session on February 4, 2016. With 4 votes in favour and 2 votes against, it decided that the central commemoration ceremony for the victims of Bleiburg tragedy will again be held under the auspices of the Croatian Parliament. Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner (HDZ) and Deputy Speakers Ante Sanader (HDZ), Robert Podolnjak (MOST) and Ivan Tepeš (HSP AS) voted in favour, while opposition Deputy Speakers Vesna Pusić (HNS) and Milanka Opačić (SDP) voted against.
Opačić said that every year SDP goes there to lay a wreath and pay tribute to the innocent victims, but added that they could not support the decision because the ceremonies regularly turn into a glorification of the Ustasha movement.
Tepeš was sorry that the decision had not been adopted unanimously. “Every victim is a victim, and we must pay tribute to them. Bleiburg is a place to honour all innocent victims who have fallen in May 1945 in Bleiberg, Huda Jama, Tezno and elsewhere”, said Tepeš. “Unfortunately, not a single trial was held. We will be at Bleiburg in May and we will pay our respects to the innocent victims who have fallen in the immediate aftermath of the World War II”, he said.
SDP president Milanović commented on the yesterday’s decision, which annulled a decision his coalition made in 2011. “Parliamentary majority can decide what they want. Events at Bleiburg actually represent mourning for the demise of the Independent State of Croatia. We cannot vote for it. Tezno is the place where we should mourn the people who were killed. Those who mourn for Ante Pavelić go to Bleiburg. He led a group of criminals who came in 1941 and historically humiliated Croatian people. These are not my people”, said Milanović.
Tepeš said that Milanović’s comments represented an attempt to conceal communist crimes committed against innocent victims from May 1945 onwards.
Commemorations in Bleiburg we held under the auspices of the Parliament for years, before SDP-led coalition decided to change the decision in 2011. Last year, the commemorations were held under the auspices of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the Croatian member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Dragan Čović.