Subject: CroatGov Released Killer of Reihl-Kin in Albright's Face

Jun 14, 1997

From: (Michael Sells) Newsgroups: soc.culture.croatia,soc.culture.europe,soc.culture.bosna-herzgvna, soc.culture.usa,alt.politics.usa.misc,alt.president.clinton

Date: Sun, 08 Jun 1997 18:33:22 -0500

Organization: Bryn Mawr and Haverford College NetNews

So much for Madeleine Albright's courageous attempt to persuade the Croatian government live up to its sworn Dayton agreements, and stop its march toward a society of "ethnic" (i.e. religious) purity. Ante Cugalj, symbol of extremist Croat religious nationalism, has just been released, only a week after Albright's trip to Croatia.

Last week, Cugalj, a militant of Croat President Franjo Tudjman's HDZ party who is associated with Gojko Susak--the most militant member of Tudjman's inner circle--was released from prison before he could serve any significant amount of his 20 year sentence for assassinating the Croat police official Josip Reihl-Kir. It is very likely that a release, without serving sentence, of a criminal as notorious as Cugalj, had the approval of Tudjman and his friend, Gojko Susak.

Reihl-Kir is recognized as a courageous official who continually resisted attempts by Serb militias to provoke atrocities and counter atrocities in Slavonia, in the crucial period of 1991 leading to the tragedy of "ethnic cleansing."

According to Allen and Little, The Death of Yugoslavia (pp. 140-144), Reihl-Kir continually persuaded Croats and Serbs to take down barricades and successfully kept the situation from exploding. Then Gojko Susak led an expedition, against Reihl-Kir's advice, on the Serb-held town of Borovo-Selo, firing into the town indiscriminatedly and giving Serb radicals a perfect causa belli. Not satisfied, Susak's militants then led a group of Croat police into a Serb ambush in Borovo Selo, with 12 Croats killed. The killings radicalized Croat public opinion, and were used by the Tudjman-Susak forces to demonize all Serbs. The resultant violence devastated Slavonia, and led to incalculable human loss, among Serbs and Croats alike--culminated at Vukovar.

In the meantime, Susak's extremists decided to liquidate Reihl-Kir. Reihl-Kir knew his life was in danger, and appealed to the Croatian Police Minister, Josip Boljkovac,to transfer him out of the area. Boljkovac ridiculed his request and Reihl-Kir was assassinated shortly thereafter.

There is a fine tribute to Reihl-Kir our the Community of Bosnia WEB page, just press the icon on heroes of peace in Bosnia:

Michael Sells