Vlado Trifunović

Vlado Trifunović was born in 1938 in the village of Rakeljić in Prijedor municipality, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He spent his working life in the Yugoslav People's Army where he rose to the rank of general. His last post was as commander of the army barracks in Varaždin, Croatia. He has published three books: My Fight for the Truth, The Stirring of a Conscience - in the Fight for Truth and the Rule of Law, and I Do Not Want a Pardon.

The Duško Kondor Civil Courage Award is being given to Vlado Trifunović of Belgrade because, fully cognizant of the risk he was undertaking, he demonstrated civil courage by the following:

  • He refused to deploy his soldiers in the war operations in Croatia.
  • On September 22, 1991 he handed the Varaždin barracks over to Croatia, previously ordering that the weapons in the barracks be made inoperable.
  • He succeeded in bringing 220 soldiers and 60 officers to  safety.
  • Because of his actions, he was convicted of treason in Serbia, part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at the time, while in Croatia he was convicted of a war crime. Of himself he said, "I am the only general Croatia has declared to be a war criminal, while Yugoslavia has indicted me for refusing to commit a war crime."
  • He remained true to his actions; he has fought every day and keeps fighting to have the labels "traitor and criminal" cleared from his name. Of this he says, "My first thought would again be to save the lives of the people in my command."
  • In Serbia he has prevailed; the Supreme Court of Serbia vacated the judgment against him and his officers in 2010. He is fighting for the same thing in Croatia.
  • He kept his promise to his mother: "My mother made me swear, when I completed my military education, that my orders would never send a mother into mourning."

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