The Main Committee of the national association of disabled Homeland War veterans, which goes by the acronym HVIDRA, on Friday condemned statements by Croatian Serb leader Milorad Pupovac and called on Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic to state publicly if those statements constituted a criminal offence and if by making them Pupovac had violated Croatian laws, noting that Pupovac's SDSS party was not desirable in Croatia and was not a relevant representative of all Serbs in the country.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the news conference Pupovac held on Wednesday to clarify his earlier statement in which he likened present-day Croatia with the World War II Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia (NDH), HVIDRA Main Committee chair Josip Perisa said that none of the disabled war veterans considered Pupovac's latest statements as an apology.
Commenting on his recent interview that caused public outrage, Pupovac said on Wednesday that no one needs to ask him "not to compare present-day Croatia to the undemocratic NDH and its criminal Ustasha ideology because I know the difference very well, that's why I've been politically active for three decades."
Perisa today called on Justice Minister Bosnjakovic to state if Pupovac's latest statement constituted a criminal offence and if he violated Croatian laws.
He also called on the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor to say if the statement contained elements of a criminal offence, and added that if so, war veterans could ask President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic to strip Pupovac of a high state decoration he received in 2001.
Perisa believes that Pupovac used his news conference to "lecture others" about what he finds insulting in Croatia.
"He is hurt by the Ustasha letter U, he is hurt by 'For the homeland ready', that hurts his feelings very much," Perisa said, adding that the families of 1,800 missing Croatian defenders were hurt by not knowing about their fate and that 36,000 disabled veterans were hurt by their wounds.
War veterans want to defuse tensions and ethnic minorities should be a part of every government but "they are not happy if the Serb minority does not respect Croatian laws and forgets what 30 years ago 'Pupovac's brothers and others' did," said Perisa, noting that 10,000 Serbs fought in Croatian forces in the Homeland War and that 2,000 were wounded.
Asked if they would ask Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to sever the coalition with the SDSS, Perisa said that the decision was up to Plenkovic but that their demand still stood.
Asked to explain what they meant by saying that the SDSS was not a desirable party in Croatia, Perisa said that the party supported Pupovac's statements, which, he said, HVIDRA considered unconstitutional.