Zoran Pusić

Zoran Pusić was born in Zagreb in 1944. Today he works as a professor of mathematics at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, Zagreb University, and volunteers at the Civil Committee for Human Rights, which he founded. Over the last twenty-five years he has participated in building civil society in Croatia and the region and in spurring numerous civil intiatives.

The Duško Kondor Award for Civil Courage is being given to Zoran Pusić of Zagreb, because, fully cognizant of the risk he was undertaking, he demonstrated civil courage with the following:

• In the early 1990s, during the Tuđman regime, at a time when human rights, particularly minority rights, were being violated in Croatia, he formed the Civil Committee for Human Rights;

• He was always right where he was needed – in the media (when he had the chance) when there was a need to talk about human rights and condemn their abuse – and in the field when he was needed to help people faced with serious challenges, whether they had been evicted for their ethnicity or they were Serbs starting to return to the regions which had been ethnically cleansed during the Storm operation;

• Through the Civil Committee for Human Rights he has provided legal advice and support for all those whose human rights have been denied in any way;

• He has frequently been labeled an "enemy of Croatia" by extreme nationalists, and this has meant physical assaults, some of them life-threatening;

• He has insisted on investigation into war crimes and punishment for the perpetrators;

• He has been and still is active in efforts to force Croatia to face the truth about its past. In this context he was the motivating force behind demonstrations held on Europe Day and Victory Day on the Square of Croatian Great Men in Zagreb, demanding that its old name, the Square of the Victims of Fascism, be reinstated. In this he succeeded;

• His work reached beyond Croatia in the form of a number of campaigns and through the founding of the Igman Initiative, aimed at normalizing the state of affairs in the region and establishing good relations among the successor states to the ex-Yugoslavia;

• For twenty-five years he has shown, by example, that fascists can be overcome if one is persistent and intrepid.

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