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Croatia

Yearbook 1999

Croatia. Croatia ended the year in a political vacuum since its 77-year-old cancer sick president, Franjo Tudjman, passed away in mid-December. When the president fell into a coma in November, Tudjman's ruling party of the Democratic Union, HDZ (Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica), first objected to the president being declared "permanently unsuitable" for his office. The situation was made more difficult by the fact that Tudjman had never appointed any vice president or deputy who could take over his powers when he was away or ill. The situation was further complicated by the president's announcement of general elections, which were scheduled to be held on December 22. However, his condition did not allow this. Finally, the government requested that the Supreme Court declare Tudjman "temporarily inappropriate" for his office. Certain parts of the president's powers were taken over by the constitution of Parliament's President Vlatko Pavletić. He acted quickly and announced elections until January 3, 2000, despite strong protests from the opposition.

1999 Croatia

Tudjman left behind a great political vacuum because, despite Croatia calling himself democracy, during his ten years in power he ruled the country with great power. He himself appointed all ministers and even local political leaders. His regime was characterized by extreme nationalism and corruption. When the Croatian bank Komercijalna Banka went bankrupt in the spring, it turned out that this was due, among other things. that it had transferred large sums to the president and his family.

According to Digopaul, Croatia has rightly been criticized by the Western world for his unwillingness to hand over war criminals to the Tribunal in The Hague. The country has also been criticized for its opposition to allowing the at least 200,000 Serbs who have been displaced to return home and for their repression of independent mass media.

During the year, the economy was crumbling, open unemployment was close to 20% and the currency (kuna) massively overvalued. NATO's war against Yugoslavia hit Croatia financially because tourists did not leave the Adriatic coast, including cultural treasure Dubrovnik.

Croatia received a rare international accolade since 78-year-old Croatian Dinko Sakić, at a well-known trial in Zagreb in the fall, was sentenced to the law's most severe sentence - 20 years in prison - for war crimes during World War II in the notorious Jasenovac concentration camp 10 miles east. After the end of the war, Dinko Sakić had moved to Argentina, where he was revealed after appearing on TV. It was only after international pressure that the Croatian government reluctantly requested him to be extradited. For many years, Tudjman and his followers did their utmost to blur data on the murders and atrocities against Jews, Communists, Serbs and Roma (Gypsies) committed by the Ustaša-led regime during the Second World War.

After three days of mourning, Tudjman was buried in Zagreb. Despite the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' persistent efforts to invite presidents and prime ministers from the leading countries of the Western world, not a single one, except Turkey's Head of State Süleyman Demirel, was Tudjman's personal friend. The boycott of the funeral was seen by Zagreb political analysts as a clear message to Croatian voters ahead of the impending election on how the outside world looked at Tudjman's party, the Democratic Union, HDZ.

Croatia. The year began with mass demonstrations in the capital Zagreb in protest of President Franjo Tudjman and his democratic union, Hrvatska Democratic Zajednica (HDZ). The protests concerned the poor economy, which has been badly damaged by the Croatian currency, Kuna, being unrealistically overvalued. This has led to Croatia practically no exports, but instead imports almost everything including food.

Tudjman promised in 1997 to create 50,000 new jobs, but that did not happen - 400,000 jobs have instead disappeared since he came to power in 1990. By the end of the year, 300,000 were open unemployed, and at least 150,000 of the workers were paid only sporadically.

Croatia was strongly criticized by, among other things, the European Security and Cooperation Organization OSCE for the regime's complete control over the media, in particular the state television and radio. These are favored by not having to pay taxes and fees unlike the private media.

The country was also criticized by the UN Security Council for treating the Serbs in eastern Slavonia, which was returned to Croatian rule on January 1, according to a two-year-old agreement. Since 1996, the Serbian population in the area, which then amounted to 65,000, has decreased by 75%. Serbs who left Eastern Slavonia after the Croatian takeover of the power have complained about being harassed and discriminated against by both private individuals and authorities.

The past came in race Croatia when Argentina extradited 76-year-old Dinko Sakić to face trial in a Croatian court. Sakić was commander of the Jasenovac concentration camp ten miles east of Zagreb during World War II. Croatia was then ruled by Ante Pavelić, leader of the fascist Ustašar regime, which had been established by the German occupying power. How many people were murdered in the camp have never been properly investigated, but the estimates are between 200,000 and 700,000. The victims were Jews, Serbs and Roma (Gypsies). It was at the urging of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles that Sakić was brought to trial. A representative of the center expressed dismay that Sakić was not charged with war crimes and genocide but for "crimes against civilians". However, the trial has been characterized by carelessness,

Pope John Paul II visited Croatia for the second time since independence in 1991. In connection with the visit, the Pope declared Blessed Archbishop Alojzije Stepanić, one of K's most contentious figures of the Second World War. At least initially, Stepanić gave his support to the Ustašar regime and never objected to the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Serbs, but contented himself to demand that it be done in a "humane" way. Several organizations had demanded that the Pope's bliss be postponed until Stepanić's actions during the war were investigated.

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