HOS commander

True Croatian Anti-Fascists: How 1990s Veterans' Unit Frames Its Radicalism

5:00pm - 6:30pm / Tuesday 19th November 2019 / Venue: Seminar Room 4 Rendall Building
Type: Lecture / Category: Department / Series: Europe and the World Centre
  • Admission: Admission is free. Please register here.
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How do war veterans see their war efforts and frame their ideology in post-conflict societies?

Sven Milekić will address the legacy of Croatia’s 1990s war, following the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. Milekić will demonstrate how a group of veterans of a 1990s far-right paramilitary deny their evident, and at times proclaimed, sympathy for WWII fascist Ustaša movement.

Veterans of the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) not only flirted with Ustaša nostalgia in the 1990s – in what they saw as the need “to galvanise the nation to defend itself” – but continued to downplay WWII crimes and offend families of victims.

While already known for their fierce anti-communism – therefore fitting the current Croatian political mainstream – HOS veterans go so far in claiming to be anti-fascist as well. Their historical revisionism of Ustaša and unit’s past has entered the mainstream, dominating media and political discussions. HOS veterans once again proved how Croatia’s 1990s war (the Homeland War) serves as a central historical event through which all prior and later events are interpreted.

Speaker Biography

Sven Milekić worked as a reporter and later coordinator of the Balkan Transitional Justice project in Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN). Based in Zagreb as a reporter he wrote about investigation and trials from the 1990s wars, victims’ rights, politics of memory and historical revisionism.

He was a coordinator of the Transitional Justice Programme in Youth Initiative for Human Rights which advocates victims’ rights, changes in memorialisation processes and tackles judicial impunity for crimes committed during the 1990s wars.

A recipient of the Irish Research Council’s Andrew Grene Post-Conflict Reconciliation Scholarship, he is currently working on PhD. thesis “Defenders of the Homeland: How Croatian Veterans of the War of the 1990s Kept the Dominant War Narrative Alive“.

Refreshments will be served on arrival.