By Igor Kršinar
After Janez Zemljarič, the former chief of Slovenian communist secrete police Udba, also Silvo Gorenc, the chief of Yugoslav Udba from 1972 to 1974, filed a criminal complaint against me and two photographers for defamation in some articles in the weekly magazine Reporter in January this year. Like Zemljarič he also felt dishonoured because of some articles about the Udba murders of some Croatian emigrants. According to the Slovenian Penal Code defamation in press media is punishable by fine or by imprisonment up to six months.
When I wrote the story on the murder of the Croatian emigrant Nikica Martinović in Klagenfurt in Austria in 1975, at the time Janez Zemljarič was the chief of the Slovenian Udba, I also mentioned another case revealed by the researcher Roman Leljak. According to the document he found in the Slovenian State Archive, the Slovenian Udba in 1972 had organised a kidnapping of the Croatian student Stjepan Crnogorac in Salzburg in Austria where he had lived and studied. The Udba agents illegally transported him across the Austrian-Yugoslav border to Ljubljana where he was interrogated by Slovenian and Yugoslav Udba officers. After the interrogation he disappeared without traces, it is presumed that he was murdered and buried somewhere in Slovenia. During the interrogation the Slovenian participant Boris Mužič who was then the deputy chief of the Slovenian branch of Udba sent two letters to the then Yugoslav Udba chief Silvo Gorenc in which he informed him about this operation. He asked him for some documents about the arrested Crnogorac and the money for their collaborators in this secret operation who were actually the kidnappers of this young Croatian.
Since my text was basing on those documents Gorenc felt dishonoured although my story was written around two months after some other media had written about it following Leljak’s press conference. Gorenc also felt dishonoured because I asked myself in the text how it was possible that Croatia did not prosecute the murderers of its citizens since the Germans demanded the extradition of those Croatians suspected organising the murders of their own countrymen in Germany. I concluded that sooner or later this would happen and for people like Zemljarič, Gorenc and their collaborators Slovenia will become a prison. I also mentioned other crimes committed by Udba when Gorenc was at its helm, for example the assassination of the Croatian family Ševo in Italy in 1972 including nine years old girl who was also among the victims. This writing was also considered as defamation by the then Yugoslav Udba chief.
Gorenc was also dishonoured by citing the book The Red Horizons written by the former chief of the Romanian secret police Ion Pacepa. In this book he wrote about his memories of his service under the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. He also described Ceausescu’s meeting with the Yugoslav dictator Tito when the latter asked him for a favour, the help on the kidnapping of his opponent Vladimir Dapčević. As a trade-off Tito promised that Silvo Gorenc and then Yugoslav interior minister Luka Banović would murder anybody on Ceausescu’s choice in the West. I wrote also that Gorenc denied the deal because the kidnapping happened in 1975 when he was no longer in charge of the Udba. But I also added that according to the persons attending this meeting the deal was made before his withdrawal from the Udba.
The first article has the title Call Zemljarič for Murder and the second An Angel between the Executioners. Like Zemljarič also Gorenc has felt dishonoured because of the published photomontage on the front page of the magazine, thus he blamed the photographers Primož Lavre and Pavel Perc for doing this. On this photomontage Zemljarič is standing with his Udba companion Gorenc both armed with guns and there is also Milan Kučan, the former chief of Slovenia’s Communist Party, above them as an angel. In fact the photographers have nothing to do with this photomontage, Lavre is even not the author of the published photographs. The photograph of Gorenc was bought from Perc who actually couldn’t know about this photomontage in Reporter.
After these articles two books were published a few weeks ago in which the story of the kidnapping and the murder of Stjepan Crnogorac is additionally described. Roman Leljak has presented the book Udba and Igor Omerza has presented his new book Call U (Udba) for murder. They both write about Silvo Gorenc’s responsibility for this crime. Since nobody of the former Udba chiefs were prosecuted in Slovenia there will be an opportunity for some issues when the trial for defamation in court starts.