A source close to the HDZ leadership said “Milanović’s initiative unnecessarily divides society and brings unrest among generals and war veterans” as well as “double criteria” towards participants in the Homeland War and the veterans.
The source said a pardon had not been requested for even one veteran for his contribution to Croatia’s defence, yet was now being requested for persons proven to have ordered crimes committed by the former Yugoslav secret police.
The source said the argument that Perković and Mustač should be released from prison because of their contribution to the creation of the Croatian state was not convincing because they were sentenced for crimes which had nothing to do with that.
On the contrary, the source said, those crimes were committed in the name of the services of the former Yugoslavia, “which negated Croatia’s freedom and of which Croatia became independent in 1991.”
The source said they agreed with Justice Minister Ivan Malenica’s statement that Milanović would have a lot to explain if he decided that Perković and Mustač should be the only persons pardoned in his term.
That would be a precedent, the source said, adding that the two “are in the very early stage” of serving their sentences, that they were “sentenced for the gravest crimes” and that the verdict, which found them responsible for the murder of a Croatian dissident in Germany in 1983, was not disputed by anyone, even the generals in a letter requesting that they be pardoned.
HDZ official Mario Kapulica said the argument that without Perković there would have been neither Croatia nor its first president Franjo Tuđman was not new.
He said the initiative to have Perković and Mustač pardoned was “legally questionable and, at least for now, politically totally unclear,” and that it was “probably” encouraged by Milanović.
Perković and Mustač, former Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence officials, were sentenced by a German court in August 2016 to life for assisting in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković in Germany in July 1983. Last week, their attorney Anto Nobilo announced pardon motions.