Although the recent lawsuit against Croatia seeking 3.5 billion dollars in compensation for crimes committed by the Ustasha regime seems to be invalid, another legal threat connected with the dark period of Croatian past has appeared. Jonathan Levy, the same lawyer who claims that the lawsuit was fraud, wrote a letter to the Croatian government seeking its help in another case and threatening a lawsuit if Croatia does not stop discriminating against victims of the Ustasha regime by paying pensions to Ustasha veterans since 1993.
Levy says that the recipients of the pensions almost certainly include Ustasha who were members of units that participated in genocide and looting of Serbs, Jews, Roma, and the execution of anti-fascist Croatians, Slovenes, and Bosnians. He also notes that the government recently established the Council for Dealing with Consequences of the Rule of Non-Democratic Regimes which is tasked with determining the legacy of the Ustasha. His office has tendered its petition to the Council seeking Croatia’s immediate assistance in obtaining an accounting of the Ustasha treasury.
Levy’s petition provides a short summary of the case.
“The Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945 and the Ustasha were supported by Germany and Italy and would not have been able to commit genocide without this military and political support. The Ustasha committed well documented acts of genocide and summary executions. The highest ranking Ustasha were protected after the fall of Zagreb in 1945 by the Vatican and elements of US intelligence agencies as anti-Communist assets. In 1946 the Ustasha treasury consisting of the proceeds of genocide was removed from Northern Italy in a 10-truck convoy commanded by Colonel Ivan Babić and deposited at the Vatican Bank in Rome. The funds were then used to help the Ustasha leaders escape justice and fund their movement in exile thus creating an ongoing legacy of anti-democratic activities. In 1993, Croatia began paying pensions to Ustasha veterans and their families totalling over $500 million to date but has done nothing tangible to aid the Ustasha victims and their families in obtaining an accounting of the Ustasha treasury.”
Levy’s office requests that Croatia ceases its illegal discrimination against Ustasha victims and their families and take positive actions to assist them in recovery and accounting of the Ustasha treasury. “By paying pensions to members of the xenophobic Ustasha organization and ignoring requests for assistance by the victims of the Ustasha genocide, the Republic of Croatia is in violation of numerous European human rights regimes and subject to legal process in several venues”, claims Levy in the letter.
The government’s has not yet commented on the petition.