8 May 1998
In the eyes of the whole world the rash and thoughtless transfer of World War II war criminal Dinko Sakic to Zagreb can only be seen as an outrageous miscarriage of justice. The search for justice for some of the worst crimes of genocide ever committed is not well served by hastily extraditing this admitted Croatian mass murderer to a locale where the conditions necessary for a fair trial cannot be met. Croatia has ruled out prosecuting Sakic for the crime of genocide. Thus, sending Sakic to Croatia amounts to nothing less than an amnesty for the crimes of genocide he committed at the death camp “Jasenovac” in the Nazi state of Croatia, 1941-1945.
We hold the United States and Argentina equally guilty with Croatia for this criminal action. It is incumbent upon all governments to ensure that international laws, prior claims for extradition, and requests for extradition for crimes which supersede others in gravity are upheld so that justice is sought to the fullest degree. The actions of Croatia, the United States and Argentina violate these principles on three counts:
(1) By going to Croatia Sakic escapes prosecution for crimes of genocide;
(2) Yugoslavia’s request for extradition dates back to 1945-1946 and was illegally ignored at that time;
(3) the United States did not uphold the Moscow Declaration of 1943 to which it was a signatory by not returning Sakic to Yugoslavia after World War II and continues to violate that legal agreement to this day.
When one of the worst, most psychotic war criminals of all time is allowed to escape justice, this act signals to the world that the United States government is not acting in good faith in regard to the prosecution of war crimes, and that Serbs, who accounted for the largest number of Dinko Sakic’s victims, can expect no justice from the United States government or from the Hague Tribunal for War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia in this matter.
We call upon the United States government and Croatia to hold Dinko Sakic for extradition to another country, preferably though not exclusively Yugoslavia or Israel, where the conditions necessary for a fair trial that seeks prosecution for the crimes of genocide obtain. It is up to the United States and Croatia to prove to the people of Yugoslavia and the victims of the Holocaust worldwide that they are worthy of cooperation in the prosecution of war criminals. By these recent actions they have proven the opposite.
- Barry Lituchy, for the JRI