Mitja Ribičič

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Mitja Ribičič
Mitja Ribičič.jpg
25th Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
In office
18 May 1969 – 30 July 1971
President Josip Broz Tito
Preceded by Mika Špiljak
Succeeded by Džemal Bijedić
Personal details
Born 19 May 1919
Trieste, Kingdom of Italy
Died 28 November 2013(2013-11-28) (aged 94)
Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia
Nationality Slovenian
Political party League of Communists of Yugoslavia (SKJ)

Mitja Ribičič (19 May 1919 – 28 November 2013) was a Slovenian Communist official, Yugoslav politician. He was the only Slovenian prime minister of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1969–1971). Between 1945 and 1957 he was at the top of the repressive system in Slovenia, and was accused of violations of human rights and crimes against humanity.[1]

Life and career[edit]

He was born in a Slovene-speaking family in Trieste, Italy. His father was the Slovene author Josip Ribičič (born in town Baška, Isle of Krk, Croatia). His mother, Roza Ribičič, née Arrigler[2] or Arigler,[3] was a teacher in Slovene schools in Trieste, and an editor and public figure. She was the niece of the poet Anton Medved.

In 1925 the family moved to Rakek, Slovenia, then part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia), where Ribičič attended elementary school. In 1929 they settled in Ljubljana. In 1938 Ribičič enrolled in the University of Ljubljana, where he studied law. In his student years, he became a member of several left wing youth organizations, and associations of Slovene emigrants from the Julian March. In April 1941, when Yugoslavia was invaded by the Nazis, he volunteered for the Royal Yugoslav Army. After the Yugoslav defeat in late April, he joined the Liberation Front of the Slovenian People. In October 1941 he became a member of the Yugoslav Communist Party's (KPJ) Slovenian branch.

In May 1942 he joined the Partisan resistance. He fought in various units in German-occupied Slovenia, first in Lower Styria, then in Upper Carniola, and in southern Carinthia. In November 1944 he was sent to the Soviet Union for training.

After his return in early 1945, he served as a high-ranking official of the OZNA, the Yugoslav military intelligence, and then in the UDBA, the secret police. He was in charge of political repression of the anti-communist opposition in Slovenia. Between 1951 and 1952 he served as chief prosecutor for the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, and then until 1957 as the Secretary of the Interior of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, being in charge of the repressive policies in Slovenia.

Between 1957 and 1963 he was a member of the Slovenian government, and then a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovenia. In 1966 he rose to the leadership of the Yugoslav Communist Party, serving first as a member of the Executive Central Committee of the Party, and then as president of the Yugoslav government.

Between 1974 and 1982 he was president of the Socialist Union of the Working People of Slovenia, the official platform that included all professional and voluntary associations in Slovenia. Between 1982 and 1983, he became president of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, and was one of its members until 1986, when he retired. He died on 28 November 2013 in Ljubljana and is buried in the family grave in Žale cemetery in Ljubljana.[4][5] His son, Ciril is a left wing politician (member of the Social Democrats) and lawyer, as of 2013 a member of the Slovenian Constitutional Court.

Accusations of human rights violations[edit]

Several victims of Communist political persecution accused him of brutal treatment during the time when he was an official with the secret police, including Angela Vode[6] and Ljubo Sirc.[7] In 1970, when Ribičič visited Great Britain as the head of the Yugoslav Government, Sirc, a British citizen, launched a public protest, disclosing the mistreatment suffered at the hands of Ribičič in 1946.[8]

In 2005 Ribičič was investigated by the Slovenian state prosecutor for genocide involving the actions of the Yugoslav People's Army against prisoners of war in the aftermath of World War II.[9] The case, opened 60 years after the crime, was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.[10]

References[edit]

Jelka Mrak Dolinar: Brazde Mojega Zivljenja, Ljubljana 2009

Sources[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mika Špiljak
Prime Minister of Yugoslavia
18 May 1969 – 30 July 1971
Succeeded by
Džemal Bijedić