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    Copyright: The following text is for personal information only. Any professional use or publication in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with AIM, 17 rue Rebeval, F-75019 Paris, France

    SUN, 26 MAR 1995 17:24:28 GMT

    The Scandal concerning General Aksentijevic's Visit to Slovenia

    EVEN GENERALS ARE HUMAN

    After four years of absence, general Milan Aksentijevic of the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) returned to Slovenia for a visit to his family. He came with a tourist visa issued for a fifteen-day visit. At the time when self-management and delegation system were the two most important things in the world, Aksentijevic was a "delegate of working people employed by the JNA" in the Assembly of Slovenia, he was among the most popular delegates, the newspapers called him the "gentleman in uniform". When four years ago, the well-known events happened, he was transferred to Zagreb as a colonel, and then taken prisoner by the Corps of the People's Guards (ZNG) at the height of the conflict in Croatia, spent some seventy days in prison and was exchanged for the notorious arms smuggler, Kikas. Later he was in Sarajevo, laft for Belgrade from there, after general Kukanjac started "liberating" the citizens of Sarajevo. He retired, but with the rank of a general by that time, and went to his native Kragujevac (his parents were killed in the infamous German reprisal against the people of Kragujevac in 1944 when over seven thousand people were killed in a sungle day), where he was given an Army flatlet.

    During all that time, the family of general Aksentijevic lived in Slovenia. In mid March 1995, the retired Milan Aksentijevic came to Slovenia where he and his family have a house and a weekend cottage, but only for 15 days, for as long as a tourist visa was issued to him by the Slovenian embassy in Skopje. This started an avalanche of letters in the newspapers. Judging by the number of readers who wrote letters to the newspapers, the public is disturbed and demands an answer from the state how it is possible that "Yugo-officers" who participated in the aggression against Slovenia,the war in Croatia and B&H are allowed to return. Apart from the ordinary people in the sections reserved for for letters of the readers, several personalities from the Slovenian political life also appeared. Among the first was Janez Jansa, President of the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, who wrote in his letter addressed to the Slovenian public: "The action of the Slovenian authorities has nothing to do with the state of law and least of all with human rights, because all those pretexts sound as if someone spoke in favour of human rights of criminals sentenced at the Nurnberg trial!"

    The notorious nationalist and deputy, Zmago Jelincic, also condemned the permit for the visit of general Aksentijevic to Slovenia, but in doing it, he attacked Janez Jansa, saying that he had publicized his negative attitude concerning this event just in order to hide his previous close connections and cooperation with the counter- intelligence service of the JNA (KOS). Extreme rightists and nationalists blamed the ruling Liberal Democrats for - according to them - the impermissible arrival of Aksentijevic,but even more the Associated list of Social Democrats, which is the legal successor of the former league of communists of Slovenia. They used the arrival of general Aksentijevic for political disqualification of their opponents and for allegations that the Liberals and the former Communists were forcing Slovenia back into Yugoslavia. And all that because a single retired general of the JNA was permitted to see his family again after four years! In this sense the President of the Assiciated List, Janez Kocijancic answered to various imputation of this kind, and underlined the following: "Should anyone think that Mr. Aksentijevic has committed a criminal offence against Slovenian laws, let him/her bring charges against him to the competent Public Prosecutor. Noone except the court has the right to decide about his guilt without correct legal proceedings. The generals are also human beings and they have their privacy, their families, sick relatives and finally - basic human rights, both if they are and if they are not citizens of Slovenia..."

    And while the Slovenian public is quarreling fiercely over his arrival, the retired general is weighed down with his own difficulties. In Kragujevac, the people he faithfully served and whose orders he followed want to take away his flatlet from him. In Slovenia he is also not very desirable. After all, the general (who has, by the way lost three official wars and, finally, seems to be about to lose the fourth, his private war) came completely legally. He hid from noone, he just did not wish to talk with the journalists. The explanations given by all the relevant ministries are identical - Ministry of Defence says that three years ago it requested from the Ministry of the Interior to send it a list of undesirable officers and other persons who should be forbidden to enter Slovenia, and the name of general Aksentijevic was not on it. Neither is there a warrant for his arrest nor were criminal charges of state agencies of Croatia or B&H instigated against him, under suspicion that he had committed war crimes. Therefore, there is no reason to forbid his entrance, although it wasd agreed that he will be denied permanent residence in Slovenia. The general has noone to write to, and noone writes to him, although everybody seems to be writing about him.

    ZORAN ODIC i JANJA KLASINC, AIM