Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today criticized the failure of Croatia to prosecute the Ustashe governor of the city of Dubrovnik, who played an important role in the persecution of the city’s Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies, who died several days ago unprosecuted in Buenos Aires. Ivo Rojnica, who assumed control of the city of Dubrovnik upon the creation of the “Independent State of Croatia” (NDH) in spring 1941, began the implementation of a policy of repression and persecution against the city´s minorities, which culminated in the murder of many Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies during World War II. After the war, he escaped together with numerous members of the Ustashe fascist movement which ruled Croatia to Argentina, where he lived until his demise late last week.
In a statement issued in Jerusalem by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who headed the Center´s efforts to facilitate Rojnica´s prosecution in Croatia, the Center laid the primary blame for the fact that Rojnica was never punished for his crimes on the Croatin judiciary which has been investigating his case for numerous years but never indicted him or asked for his extradition. “The ultimate responsibility to bring Ustashe criminals to justice is that of Croatia. The fact that Rojnica died unprosecuted in Buenos Aires can be primarily attributed to a lack of political will in Zagreb, which might well be a product of Rojnica´s prominent role in the Croatian emigre community and his substantial wealth,” said Zuroff. “At least our efforts exposed his wartime role as an Ustashe criminal and helped prevent his appointment as Croatian ambassador to Argentina,” he added.