Zlatko Hasanbegović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

The Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) said on Tuesday that accusations against Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic presented by some nongovernmental organisations and the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) were groundless, and the HHO elaborated that Hasanbegovic was right when he said that anti-fascism was not mentioned in Croatia's Constitution.

The HHO says in a press release that the term "anti-Fascism" is not in the Croatian Constitution.

As for the historical foundations cited in the Constitution, the HHO recalls that the document reads that the millennial national identity of the Croatian nation and the continuity of its statehood manifested itself, among other things, "in laying the foundations of state sovereignty during the Second World War, through decisions of the Anti-Fascist Council of the National Liberation of Croatia (1943), to oppose the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia (1941), and subsequently in the Constitution of the People's Republic of Croatia (1947), and several subsequent constitutions of the Socialist Republic of Croatia (1963-1990)."

"At the historic turning-point marked by the rejection of the communist system and changes in the international order in Europe, the Croatian nation reaffirmed, in the first democratic elections (1990), by its freely expressed will, its millennial statehood and its resolution to establish the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign state," reads the Constitution.

Thus, the HHO points out that in the democratic elections, the Croatian people rejected the Communist system and Yugoslavia which "are now being concealed behind the term 'anti-Fascism'," the HHO writes, explaining that in the European context "anti-fascism" is a part of the notion of anti-totalitarianism which is equally distanced from Fascism and Communism.

In the Croatian case, the term "anti-Fascism" marks the historical experience of eradication of political, civil and human rights, and the regime (in this case Yugoslav Communist regime) responsible for such crimes is criminal, the HHO said, accusing those who justified Communist crimes of paving the way for new crimes.

The HHO insists that Croatian anti-Fascists-Communists, who were "Stalin's proxies", conducted the armed and ideological struggle against the idea of Croatian state and persecuted and executed advocates of the idea of the Croatian state.

"Therefore, the glorification of mass killings and of the mass killer, Dictator (Josip Broz) Tito, who killed half a million people from 1945 to 1951, cannot be a civilisational value and cannot be called anti-Fascism," the HHO said in the press release in which it countered criticism of vociferous opponents of the new Culture Minister.

The HND also dismissed as "a notorious lie" claims that Hasanbegovic, born in Zagreb in 1973, was a member of the Croatian Liberation Movement of Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic.

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