Croatia. In June, the Government and the UN Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia agreed that lower-level prosecutors could be tried in Croatia. In addition, Croatia pledged to hand over documents relating to high-ranking persons who were prosecuted or were under investigation by the tribunal.
However, when the court in September published charges against General Janko Bobetko, it crackled in the cooperation. According to Countryaah website, national day of Croatia is every May 30. Prime Minister Ivica Račan announced that the government did not intend to extradite Bobetko and thus defied the court and the international community for the first time. The 83-year-old Bobetko was commander during the 1991-95 war and had been charged with crimes against humanity. In his homeland, he was seen as a war hero and many feared violent protests if he were to be extradited.
In the autumn, the EU stressed that the refusal to cooperate with the UN tribunal would hamper Croatia’s ability to approach the Union. Račan admitted that any sanctions would hit Croatia very hard, but still refused to give in.
Earlier, in July, the government resigned due to serious fragmentation within the five-party coalition. But Račan immediately announced his intention to form a new government and continue his reform policy until the next regular elections in 2004.
On July 30, the new government was approved by 84 votes to 47. It, like the old one, was led by Račan’s Social Democratic SPH. The crisis arose when the social-liberal HSLS refused to ratify an agreement on co-ownership of the Krsko nuclear power plant, which was signed with neighboring Slovenia the year before. HSLS was outside the new government.
In April, Croatia reached a settlement with Yugoslavia on the border crossing of the Peninsula Prevlaka, the first since the outbreak of the war in 1991. The parties agreed that a normalization of the situation was possible which would eventually lead to the UN being able to discontinue its small peacekeeping operation there.
In July 2010, the authorities severely cracked down on a peaceful demonstration in Zagreb and arbitrarily arrested 140 participants. The demonstration was carried out by the civic movement Pravo na Grad (Right to a City) protesting the destruction of an area of the Old Town to make way for a new shopping center. Pravo na Grad has previously conducted signature collections and protests ifbm. construction works in the old town. Amnesty International objected to the arbitrary arrests of the authorities and the restriction of freedom of assembly.
Former Prime Minister Sanader was involved in the corruption of HDZ and in December 2010 Parliament therefore decided to waive his immunity. An arrest warrant was issued, but he managed to flee the country; was called through Interpol, but was arrested in Salzburg a few days later.
The corruption cases around HDZ continued through 2010, and while the government fired thousands of public servants, protests and demonstrations escalated.
In April 2011, Croatian general Ante Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years in prison by the war crimes court of ex-Yugoslavia. The verdict triggered protests on the Croatian right wing.
The corruption cases surrounding HDZ continued through 2011, and the party’s treasurer Branka Pavošević had to explain to the police about the party’s secret funds that had been used to fund the previous elections. In October, State Attorney Mladen Bajić decided to charge HDZ as a party.
In 2011, the Social Democracy initiated the formation of the Kukuriku coalition, which consisted of 4 center-left parties. The coalition won a landslide victory in the December parliamentary elections when it gained 40% of the vote and Social Democracy itself became the largest party. For the ruling party HDZ, however, the election was a disaster. Together with the coalition partners HGS and DC, it declined to 23.8%. It was the first election in which HDZ was not the largest in Parliament and was seen as a severe weakening of Croatian right-wing nationalism.