15. mart 2023 17:42
Dacic: Attempt of rehabilitating Stepinac at EP inconceivable
BELGRADE - Serbian FM Ivica Dacic said on Wednesday it was inconceivable the European Parliament was to host a conference aimed at revisionism and another attempt of historical rehabilitation of Croatia's Roman Catholic Archbishop Alojzij Stepinac.
In a written statement to Tanjug, Dacic noted that Stepinac had played a significant role in the WWII-era Independent State of Croatia.
"Many members of his clergy were actively involved in crimes and mass killings and cooperated with the Ustasha Nazis until the very end of their rule. Immediately after the proclamation of the Independent State of Croatia, Stepinac issued an epistle requesting that the clergy unreservedly heed a call to take part in the elevated task of defending and advancing the Independent State of Croatia. In a letter to Pope Pius XII, he himself boasted that 250,000 Orthodox Christians were converted to Catholicism in the Independent State of Croatia," Dacic said.
All documents known to date confirm that Stepinac knew enough about the crimes in the Independent State of Croatia and that he was also indirectly involved in them, Dacic said.
"His actions during WWII can in no way be called martyrly or saintly. He was obliged to stand with the disenfranchised and persecuted in the Independent State of Croatia, which he never did. On the contrary, he found excuses for Ustasha crimes and the Ustasha 'final solution' Stepinac is, in fact, the originator of Croatian clero-Nazism. That is why Ustasha leader Pavelic decorated him with the Order of the Star in 1944," Dacic added.
He noted that close to one million non-Croats - mostly Serbs, but also Jews and Romani - had been killed in the Independent State of Croatia between April 1941 and May 1945.
"The Jasenovac camp is the biggest execution site in Europe outside of Nazi camps in occupied Poland. Stepinac was actively pursuing a policy of converting the Orthodox population as a way for it to survive," Dacic said.
One thing is quite certain - the path to reconciliation in the Western Balkans and to better understanding and strengthening of good-neighbourly relations, also based on European values, law and justice, does not lead through Stepinac, Dacic said.
He said Serbia "very much regrets" the intent of a Croatian MEP to organise a pro-Stepinac conference in the EP on March 21.