BELGRADE – A Croatian court has overturned a 1946 verdict against a Catholic cardinal who had been convicted of collaborating with the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime during World War II.
The Zagreb Country Court on July 22 annulled the treason conviction against Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, saying he did not receive a fair trial.
Stepinac, who was archbishop of Zagreb at the time, was sentenced to 16 years in prison and forced labor. He died of thrombosis, under house arrest, aged 61.
Many Croatian Catholics see Stepinac as a hero who resisted communism and want him declared a saint.
In 1998, the late Pope John Paul II controversially beatified Stepinac, putting on the path to sainthood.
Critics accuse Stepinac of not doing enough to stop the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime killing tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, and Roma.