As opposed to earlier years when cases of violence, intolerance and hate speech directed towards Serbs were mostly registered in the areas of refugees return, it is noticeable that from 2012 on, such cases have spread throughout Croatia. What significantly contributed to this trend, which is increasingly assuming revisi­onist right-wing features, was the socio-political context which became increasingly radicalized since the coming to power of the coalition led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Croatia’s accession to the European Union.

A new awakening of nationalist euphoria, as well as the mobili­sation of a part of the veterans’ population, began with the cu­rrent government’s decision to initiate full implementation of the Law on the use of languages and letters of national minorities in the Republic of Croatia, which stipulates the equal use of mi­nority language in communities where minorities make up more than 33 percent of population. Placement of the first bilingual plaques on state institutions in Vukovar in early 2013, caused re­sistance of the veterans’ association Headquarter for Defence of Croatian Vukovar. The Vukovar veterans’ protest, which turned into a protest against the rights of Serbs, eventually brought on an increased level of hate speech and of ethnic intolerance in public space.

It is especially concerning that hate speech in 2014 became increasingly present in the media. Internet portals, which use ri­ght-wing discourse and hate-speech, which resort to revisionism and lead campaigns against minority communities, rise in num­bers. Encouraged by such an atmosphere, members of veteran associations and of pro-fascist organisations, protested publicly against almost every event that had an antifascist character or which brought into question the responsibility of the Croatian side for crimes committed in the past war.

The socio-political situation was additionally radicalised last year by protesting veterans, who during the early stage of the presidential campaign pitched a tent in front of the Ministry of War Veterans, requesting the/resignation of the current mini­ster, his assistants and finally of the entire ‘Yugo-communist’ government. Hidden in the background was the Croatian Democratic Union’s (HDZ) return to the ‘values of the 90ties’, i.e. to rigid nationalism.

Even in 2014, majority of events which bore characteristics of in­terethnic intolerance, were registered in the areas of special state concern, i.e. in areas populated by most of the Serb returnees. According to Ministry of Interior data, of the total of the eight ethnically motivated criminal acts, it was established that three were motivated by hatred towards persons of Serb ethnicity. According to the Croatian State Attorney’s Office (DORH) records, in the past year 39 criminal charges were filed for hate crime, but data is not available about the number of criminal act committed against Serbs. During 2014, Ministry of Interior (MUP) also registered a total of 54 misdemeanours committed by wearing, broadcasting, reproducing and displaying symbols, texts, images, drawings or songs motivated by hatred.

Bulletin #3