ZAGREB, August 8, 2019 – A source at the Ministry of the Interior has shifted onto courts the blame for the failure of the police to act following the chanting of the “For the homeland ready” Ustasha salute earlier this week in Knin and Split, saying that courts do not act on police reports, the Jutarnji List daily issue of Thursday reported.
“The police are definitely not the problem, I don’t know why they are being blamed so much,” a high source at the Ministry of the Interior said on the condition of anonymity, after asked by the daily about the fact that two police departments said after celebrations of the Operation Storm anniversary in Knin and a concert by pop singer Marko Perković Thompson in Split that they would not press charges against the singer or against former members of HOS units for chanting in public the “For the homeland ready” salute, used in the World War II Independent State of Croatia (NDH).
The salute was chanted at Thompson’s concert in Split last Sunday by the singer and his audience (some of whom displayed Ustasha insignia), and on the following day, former HOS fighters chanted the salute at the central commemoration of the 24th anniversary of Operation Storm in Knin, the daily recalls.
Police are ceasing to press misdemeanour charges because they did not get confirmation from courts in any of the previous cases when they filed reporters over the chanting of the controversial salute, that their actions were right, the source said.
“If magistrates’ courts or judges who have studied law for five years do not want to respect the position on the salute taken by the High Magistrates’ Court and the Constitutional Court, why do you expect police officers on the ground to do so?” the source said.
As for claims that by failing to appeal against acquittals in such cases the police, too, have become responsible for such court rulings becoming final, the source said that in some cases concerning Marko Perković Thompson and former HOS fighters, police did appeal against acquittals but that the High Magistrates’ Court had still not delivered final verdicts.
Two years ago, on July 5, 2017, during celebrations of the Operation Storm anniversary in Knin, former HOS fighters, led by Marko Skejo, chanted the “For the homeland ready” salute outside a monument dedicated to the 1995 military operation in the town centre, after which they crossed the street and continued shouting the salute in a cafe.
The police filed a misdemeanour report, and a local court in May 2018 made an unusual ruling – it fined Skejo and former HOS fighters for chanting the salute in the cafe but acquitted them for chanting it outside the monument.
The source at the Ministry of the Interior claims that in June 2018 the police appealed against the acquittal. The High Magistrates’ Court has confirmed that it received the appeal in June 2018, saying that a ruling is pending.
A decision on an appeal lodged by the police against a court ruling acquitting Thompson for chanting the salute at a concert in Knin in 2015 has still not been made either, the daily said.
More news about the Ustasha revisionism can be found in the Politics section.