Croatian president criticised for pardoning war criminal

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic [EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT]

Croatian President Zoran Milanović has responded to the strong public backlash he has received for pardoning convicted war criminal Branimir Glavaš who was sentenced for crimes against Serbs in Osijek during the Homeland War. 

“Glavaš himself has asked for that. Why? In formal terms, he is the same as me, not a convicted man,” said President Milanović after his decision to invalidate former President Ivo Josipović’s decision on stripping general Glavaš of war medals was met with criticism. 

“I am also interested in the fate of people who were thrown in the River Drava [flowing through Osijek],” Milanović said on Thursday, referring to war victims thrown in that river. “I am not a judge, I am the president of the Republic, and I must treat everyone equally. Had he not asked me [to restore his decorations], I would not have been engaged in this case at all,” the president explained. 

Filip Glavaš, a lawyer and Branimir Glavaš’ son, told Hina recently that the reasons, such as the final convictions, for stripping his father of war decorations had not existed for some time and that in 2019 they had asked then-president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to return the decorations to his father – a request she ignored. 

The Supreme Court quashed the trial verdict on 28 July 2016 and requested the Zagreb County Court to hold a new trial in this case.

Milanović elaborated that Josipović had made the decision on stripping Glavaš of the medals based on the law and the fact that he had a final verdict at the time. In Croatia, many believe that the president made the move because Glavaš supported him in the presidential campaign. (Željko Trkanjec |

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