Croatian national hero jailed for war crimes against Serbs
Saturday 16 April 2011
General Ante Gotovina, who became a Croatian national hero for his role in the operation that marked the end of Croatia's war of independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1995, was branded a war criminal yesterday and jailed for 24 years.
Gotovina was convicted of being the commander of a campaign against 200,000 Croatian Serbs in the Krajina region. Hundreds were killed in the shelling of the area, a bombardment so severe that few of those targeted have ever returned.
Alphons Orie, the judge at the International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague, said Gotovina, with the late President Franjo Tudjman and other top military leaders, was part of a group that wanted the permanent removal of Serbs from Krajina.
"Mr Gotovina's order to unlawfully attack civilians and civilian objects amounted to significant contribution to the joint criminal enterprise," Judge Orie said. The tribunal found that the aim of Gotovina and others was the settling of Croats in areas abandoned by Serbs, taking their property. Judge Orie said the terror spread by Croat shelling "created an environment in which those present there had no choice but to leave".
Mladen Markac, another senior commander in the campaign known as Operation Storm, received an 18-year sentence. A third defendant, Ivan Cermak, was acquitted. Gotovina and Markac stood emotionless as the sentences were read. But there was outrage at the decisions in Croatia, where Operation Storm is widely viewed as a final, legitimate and unblemished victory over rebelling Croatian Serbs, who were backed by Belgrade and had opposed Croatia's independence.
Thousands watched live footage of the sentencing in Bana Jelacica square in central Zagreb, booing and loudly protesting at the decision. Some cried. Branko Borkovic, a war veteran, said decision was "a sentence against the Croatian state". He accused the court of bending to political pressures. "Gotovina and Markac are the individuals, we [the veterans] are all being sentenced together with them," he said.
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said the court's definition of a "joint criminal enterprise", which defined what many Croatians consider to be the final battle for Croatia's sovereignty, was "unacceptable". Yet she urged her fellow citizens to refrain from any violent expression of anger.
Gotovina was arrested in the Spanish Canary Islands in 2005, after evading justice for years. The arrest helped Croatia's bid to join the EU.
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
iPhone 6 'hidden code' could indicate sharper screens or bigger phones
Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: 'These are completely fake' say singer's representatives
A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Kate Upton nude pictures leak: Model's representatives 'looking into' authenticity of naked images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...