Igor Vuković

Faculty of Law

University of Belgrade

An Order of Crime

The Criminal Law of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) 1941–1945

Abstract: The system of criminal law norms passed in the so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH) from its inception in 1941 was aimed at creating and maintaining an atmosphere of terror implemented by the Ustasha government. Although the framework of substantive and procedural rules of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formally retained, immediately after the establishment of the NDH regulations introducing many new crimes punishable by death were enacted. Defining the “honour and vital interests of the Croatian people” as an appropriate object of criminal law protection enabled the creation of a regime of legalized repression against non-Croat populations, with an extensive jurisdiction of martial criminal justice. In addition to abuse of the court martial mechanism, the criminal character of government was also manifested in the wide application of administrative and punitive measures of sending to concentration camps as well as collective punishment. In line with Radbruch’s thought, the author denies the legal character of the system of criminal law formally established in the territory of the NDH in the circumstances of genocide.

Keywords: Independent State of Croatia (NDH), collective punishment, courts martial, genocide


UDC 343.2/.7(497.5)"1941/1945"

Original scholarly work