The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation officially launched
their «Operation:Last Chance» project today in Croatia at a
special press conference held at the offices of the Croatian
Civic Committee for Human Rights which is serving as the Center`s
local partner in implementing the project.
At the press conference the Center's chief
Nazi-hunter Dr.Efraim Zuroff revealed that he had already met
this morning with Croatian Attorney-General Mladen Bajić and
submitted a fully-documented file against Milivoj Ašner, the
former Ustaša police chief of the city of Slavonska Požega
who had played an active role in the persecution and murder
of numerous civilians from that town, and was the first suspect
named in Croatia in the framework of «Operation:Last Chance.»(His
name was submitted to Dr.Zuroff several weeks ago in the wake
of the news that the Center was planning to launch O:LC in
Croatia.)Ašner, who still plays an active role in Croatian
politics as the founder of the Original Peasants Party, returned
to Croatia after the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.
Zuroff and Dr.Zoran Pusic,president of
the Civic Committee, met this morning with Croatian president
Stipe Mesić who expressed his fullest support for the project.
Croatia is the seventh country in which
the Wiesenthal Center and the Targum Shlishi Foundation,founded
and headed by Aryeh Rubin of Miami,Florida,have launched «Operation:Last
Chance.»To date,the names of 296 suspects have been submitted,of
which 72 have already been turned over to local prosecutors.Fifteen
murder investigations have been initiated against approximately
40 suspects.The project will be launched in Hungary(July 13),Argentina(August),Germany(September
21) and the Ukraine(fall 2004).