OCTOBER 24 2008 19:34h

Parliamentarians, Are You Sorry Now?

Ivo Pukanic and Nika Franjic were killed in a car explosion yesterday




Parliament rejected OrtynskiÂ’s organized crime report in 2002. Though they are not sorry, the question is if they could have saved lives.

After the public slowly started to forget the brutal murder of Ivana Hodak, a car bomb exploded in the centre of Zagreb that killed Ivo Pukanic and Niko Franjic. State officials stood up on their feet and determinedly said enough to organized crime.

However, could everything have been stopped years earlier? Could the lives of Ivana Hodak, Ivo Pukanic and Niko Franjic have been saved had there been a reaction on time, in 2002. Then the State Attorney Radovan Ortynski gave the Croatian parliament a report on the work of the State Attorney’s Office in 2001. The parliament rejected Ortynski’s report with a majority (with two withheld members from the HSLS and HNS parties, and one HDZ party against). They called it a “poorly written document”, and they resented the unclear data in the fight against economic crime.

-.--.-Ortynski then started the process against the so called criminal organizations, however, as he said himself recently, the process fell through because of poor cooperation with the police, which was led at the time by minister Sime Lucin. He said that with the arrival of the coalition cabinet “the political will disappeared” for the fight against crime.

The parliamentarians of the 4th composition of the Croatian parliament today, answered the  question, if they were sorry that they rejected the report by Radovan Ortynski which, amongst the first, decided to tell the mafia STOP.

“I am sorry, and am not sorry, that is irrelevant now” said SDP’s (Social Democratic Party) Minister of Internal Affairs at the time, Sime Lucin. He did not want to talk about Ortynski’s report too much, but said that the parliamentary majority was not happy with the work of the State Attorney at the time.

HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) tried to gain points with obstruction

“At the time we did not understand his complaints about the processes that were being led against the so called criminal organizations” said Cehok with regret. He admitted that the parliament and Cabinet have obviously been making mistakes for 15 years, and everything that has happened today are the consequences of bad politics towards the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

At the time when he was a parliamentarian for HDZ, Branimir Glavas told us that he “very much regrets that the report by the State Attorney was not supported”. Even though he admits that he is not certain if he was present at the time of voting or not, he revealed that at the time “people were wrongly aiming the politics of HDZ”

“It was then that they used obstructions to gain political points” concluded Glavas.

Rojs: Ortynski acted and was incompetent

-.--.-Former HDZ member Ljubo Cesic Rojs had a different opinion on the matter.

“I am not sorry, I did not take Ortynski seriously. As far as the report is concerned, I would not support it today” said Rojs.

As he claims, at the time there was a lack of will in DORH (State AttorneyÂ’s Office), the police and president of the Cabinet to fight organized crime, and Ortynski protected some, and hunted others. He was incompetent and acted like he would do something, said Rojs.

One of those who does not regret the way the voting went in parliament was HSLS (Croatian Social Liberal Party) member Zlatko Kramaric, who says Ortynski is to blame for his own failures.

Report as a cover for inaction

“As far as I remember, Ortynski acted unusually, he said “ask me”, instead of presenting the report” described Kramaric. He added that Ortynski remained in debt to some parliamentarians for some important information in the fight against organized crime.

HSP (Croatian Party of Rights) member Miroslav Rozic agrees with Kramaric, and says that the parliamentarians may have brought the wrong decision, but this was mostly contributed to  by OrtynskiÂ’s theatrical performance.

“I am not sorry because nothing would have changed, and that report seemed like his cover not inaction. You know what I feel sorry for? That we did not take a colleague seriously who said that every country has it mafia, but only in Croatia does the mafia have its country” said Rozic.

“Nothing special” is what the president of HSP Anto Djapic said about Ortynski’s report, and does not regret that the report did not get support from the parliament.

Kajin: Ortynski was a wrong decision, but I am sorry

-.-Bruno Pavuša-.-HSS (Croatian Peasant’s Party) member Ljubica Lalic could not remember the report by Radovan Ortynski, but says that he remembers that afterwards the public rights defender talked about what was “threatening Croatia”.

“I had the intent of placing the report by the public rights defender into the conclusions so that the Cabinet could start the fight against corruption, but it was not accepted” said Lalic.

The HSS member did not want to accused Racan’s coalition cabinet for the lack of will to fight the mafia, but stressed that the “mafia was formed much before the coalition cabinet was in power”.

IDS (Istrian Democratic Parliament) member Damir Kajin said that Ortynski himself was the reason why the parliament did not accept his report.

“I think that Ortynski was a wrong decision, and that what parliament decided was wrong.

Ortynski did not have support and he should have acted more determined” explained Kajin. He added that back then, the fight against corruption would have been easier than today.

Skare-Ozbolt: What should I say?

Vesna Skare Ozbolt is sorry that the report by Radovan Ortynski was not accepted just the same as she is sorry that her anti-mafia law was not passed in 2005.

“What should I say? If the law had been implemented, who knows how the situation in Croatia would look like” says Vesna Skare Ozbolt, the former Minister of Justice.

SDP (Social Democratic Party) member Milanka Opacic did not want to talk about the past, and said that “we could return back to 1990 and ask if what has happened today a product of those times”.

The only former parliamentarian of the time that did not want to comment their decision at the time was Zdravko Tomac, who after our question said that it makes not sense to comment on the past.