Croatian generals convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity
People watch former Gen. Ante Gotovina's verdict on live TV Friday in the central square of Zagreb, Croatia.
April 15th, 2011
10:07 AM ET

Croatian generals convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity

The International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia announced Friday that it had convicted two Croatian generals of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Ante Gotovina, who commanded Croatia's Split military district during the mid-1990s war that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Mladen Markac, who headed the Interior Ministry's Special Police, received an 18-year prison term.

A third general, Ivan Cermak, was acquitted of all charges and ordered released as soon as possible.

Gotovina and Markac participated in an ethnic cleansing operation in Croatia's Krajina region between July and September 1995, the court found. Under the leadership of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, the generals and others attempted to clear the Krajina of ethnic Serbs and repopulate it with Croats, the court said.

Tudjman, who died in 1999, never was officially charged with any crime.

The trial in The Hague, Netherlands, started in March 2008 and involved 145 witnesses and 4,819 evidence exhibits, the court said.

The verdict was greeted by boos and hisses from crowds gathered in the central square of Croatia's capital, Zagreb, the BBC reported. The generals are regarded by some as national heroes.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Croatia • Human rights • Justice • Military • Netherlands
soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Blessed to be Croatian

    there you go agian CNN, not allowing my post, yet enemies of croatia, a country that had to fight heroically for survival can be slandered and attacked with lies and insults against what is most holy to us. OLUJA was a valiant and heroic operation of mass proportion that liberated croatian land from terrorists. yet their lies are allowed

    April 17, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
    • pam

      aha, ni meni ne da da odgovorim, a nit ne vrijeđam nit ne prostačim, možda da počnemo na hrvatskom prostačit, to ne mogu filtrirat, sloboda govora at its finest!

      April 17, 2011 at 5:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Genocidiran iz Krajine

      @pam

      Pa pocnite prostacit na lijepom vasem, to je najbolje sto znate...i sta vi radite u amrtici kad tako pljujete po njima..

      April 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mirjana

    General Gotovina is beeing used as a scapegoat.

    April 17, 2011 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Petar from Serbia

    Somehow my response to American is deleted, though I worked long on it – never mind here is the gist of it: I don't justify war crimes perpetrated by Serbs, I condemn them. I do not think that the whole nation is guilty of them, though. You seem to be justifying war crimes perpetrated by Croats. I agree that hatred needs to stop, but the way to stop it is for all to clean up their yard, both in deed and in thought. I am sorry that the Croatian media has brainwashed so many citizens into thinking that ethnic cleansing is a war crime except when perpetrated by Croats. The truth hurts, but here is another: you or any other Croat is no better or worse person because of the acts of some other Croats (Tudjman, Gotovina).

    April 17, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
    • cipal

      If only all presidents were as patient with peace suggestions as Tuđman was. For 4 years he was negotiating before he decided to liberate the country with his army.
      If all the generals were as decent as Ante Gotovina was, who before the action invited the archbishop to warn commanders about the Geneva conventions.

      April 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ragusian

    It is a basic Human Right and an obligation to protect the ethnic minorities within one’s country. Ultra-nationalism in Croatia is alarming, not only in 1941 and 1991, but also today (I see it almost every day here with Ustasa graffiti everywhere and in people’s opinions). Denying it exist in Serbia today would be wrong, but they have dealt with it and ethnic minorities are present and respected in Serbia. Yes I’ve often travelled there and experienced it. I couldn’t say the same about my beloved Dalmatia. Some have faced the ghosts of the past, other didn’t yet... much work needs to be done.
    How blind many on this blog are; these ethnic Serbs from Krajina are individuals, families who loved their children just like their ethnic Croatian neighbours on their privately owned land for centuries. The Krajina Serbs who committed crimes prior to 95 deserve to be judged for what they’ve done, but the ethnic cleansing during operation Storm is a crime, one we should be shameful of. Tudjman and the likes of Gotovina deserved to be judge and punished, unfortunately Tudjman died before that could happen. Milosevic too, but he died in jail and rightly so. We have bridges and streets in the hundreds named today after Croatian war criminals... How shameful!
    “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Mahatma Gandhi
    “Nationalism is an infantile disease.” Albert Einstein

    April 17, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Petar from Serbia

      Great post, you understand the issue exactly. And don't worry, there is still a lot of work which needs to be done in Serbia as well for these chauvinists to finally see the light. Anybody who committed a war crime has to be punished.

      April 17, 2011 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Miomir

      Well said my friend and so true.

      Only when (and if) Croats embrace their fellow Serbian minority as equal, we can speak about democratic Croatia.
      Until than, they will be just another banana-republic (and I don't mean here to insult countries that produce bananas, but countries that are run by tyrants and where human rights are ignored for certain population).

      What happened in Jasenovac yesterday is a step in the right direction. Croatian officials apologized for the atrocities in WW2 against Serbs, Jews and others.

      However, they didn't sound sincere as instead of unconditional apology and guarantees that it won't happen ever again, the impression is that they were looking for excuses and also tried to diminish Croatians responsibility by comparing the tragedy of concentration camp Jasenovac with other tragic places in the world or lowering the number of victims. I guess the criminal (nazi?) element is still going strong in Croatia so officials fear the wrath of the criminals and they are concerned for their lives..

      April 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ragusian

    @Petar, you’ve shown far more common-sense than most of my fellow citizens, something I’ve seen on many occasions travelling to BG with my DU registered car. Here cars with BG licence-plates get scratched and their tires punctured by brainwashed youngsters who never even experienced the war. And Bravo to the Serbian customs/police who arrested Bozidar Vucurovic earlier this month (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/04/us-serbia-warcrimes-idUSTRE7334C520110404 )

    April 17, 2011 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • ana

      bla bla

      April 17, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Petar from Serbia

      Why bla bla, Ana? Vucurovic should be either extradited to Croatia, or tried in Serbia for shelling Dubrovnik. If the crime is proved, he should be convicted. Why is that wrong?

      And Ragusian, if you come Novi Sad way, look me up at the Club of Comic Strip Lovers (in the downtown close to the City Hall and underground crosswalk), we may have a beer together, or if I am not there, the place is very cool and has an ok crowd.

      April 17, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
    • ana

      stick to one subject, when ppl give you counter arguments you should be able to reply back and not to jump to next subject.

      April 17, 2011 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
    • ana

      @Peter i already replied to you in previous posts, check them

      April 17, 2011 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Petar from Serbia

      Ana, I tried responding several times, but this board seems to delete some posts. the point is that the fact that Serbs with guns expelled your family in 1991 or 1992 while burning their home and property does not mean that it is allowed for Croats with guns to do the same to Serb civilians. I answered American as well, but never mind.

      April 17, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • ana

      @Peter- you r right, but the fact was that serbs were the first one to expell us and that Oluja was event that liberetated those homes was no ethnical cleasing.

      April 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Andro

    What Krajina? That never existed!! It was just bull***t made up by the Serbs and their military.
    Gotovina and Markač are heroes who defended their country, people and families.

    April 17, 2011 at 5:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. pam

    Ma vidiš da nema smisla s neobrazovanim ignorantnim amerima

    April 17, 2011 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. facts

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5CXope9ncI

    April 17, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tuga

    Croatian generals are Heroes, with capital 'H'.
    Noone (normal) claims that there weren't any bad things done by our soldiers, but those acts were not planned- generals did not tell them: 'Go and kill Serb civilians!'
    Just the opposite, they did not let anyone to do such things. Of course, there were people who did awful things to Serbs too and of course they should be punished very hard for those actions. I want them to be punished too. Every normal being wants that. But not the generals. Not them.

    How did Vukovar looked after bombing? And how did Knin looked?!
    And what about Ovčara, Srebrenica? When will people responsible for that be convicted?

    My father was in war, and I am proud of him. If something happened now, and another war started (God forbid), I would go and join the army. We defended our country, our families and we had every right to do so. If Serbia was attacked by Croatia, you would have every right to defend your country too.. but it wasn't like that. Why is it so hard for you to see the truth?!

    And, just to be noted- I don't hate Serbia or Serbs or anyone, my parents would never let me talk against any nation. They always said that Serbs are people too, that they are not all Četnici (? I'm not sure how they are called in English) and that I should NEVER EVER look at people through the prism of war.

    It's sad what's happening now, just sad, but I believe that truth will come to us soon, and that we will see our HEROES in Croatia soon.

    April 17, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tuga

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y3VGGBbgZo

    Watch this, if you want to hear the truth.

    April 17, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dalmatinka

    General Gotovina and General Markac are our Heroes who freed the so called Krajina region from agressors and those who wanted a Greater Serbia. Croats did not set foot and attack any other foreign territory. We were attacked and are being persecuted as criminals for defending our country. If that is the case well then Im proud to be a "war criminal"....

    April 17, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasmina

      It is so sad you think so. It would be the same as if I would say that Karadzic and Mladic are our heroes … shame on you Croatia for such a level of blindness when it comes to other nation's pain.

      April 18, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. George

    Time to wake up Croatia, your dream is over. Serbs have already waken up, now it's your turn...and stop spreading hatred between, act as civilized people in the rest of Europe and you'll be better off...

    April 17, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • pam

      You should just steer clear of thigs you're not capable of comprehending, as clearly seen from your post

      April 17, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Tuga

      George, I'm sure you don't know what you're talking about.
      No one is spreading hatred, we only want the world to know the truth!

      Have a look at the video I posted, it explains many things.

      April 17, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasmina

      I agree totally. I am Serb and I regret so much that there are still groups within my own nation who believe that General Mladic was a hero. I really believe it has been is tragic of Serbia. Not the war. Not victims.
      But I was 100% that Croats moved on. I was sure that they are aware that Gotovina is their Mladic. But seems there were not. So, Croats, face the true. Face the fact that your generals were guilty too. We are all adults. And I am sure that you can live with that. Sooner or later. But better a sooner. For you 🙂

      April 18, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. Genocidiran iz Krajine

    "Franjo Tuđman izjavio je na sastanku s državnim i vojnim rukovodstvom 1995 na kojem je dogovarana akcija "Oluja" da hrvatske snage treba da nanesu takve udarce da Srbi praktično nestanu".

    Eto vala sta Hag kaze u presudi. A Hrvati se ponose time ?

    April 17, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • ana

      ahaaaa cili Knin pobiga i prje neg je nasa vojska usla, plus na TV Franjo vas je zva nazad, a druga je stvar sta su se srbii bojali, bome i ja bi .............. al pazi ovo, vas se i ponekih i vratilo i zivi normalno i vama su se prvo kuce popravljale jos i penziju i socijalu od hrvatske dobivaju , nazalost sve radi EU

      April 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dalmatinka

    Zivio nas Dr. Franjo Tudman, Generali Gotovina, Markac i svi nasi Hrvatski Velikani. Za nasu slobodu se vec stoljecima borimo i za nasu pravdu – na damo nase Svetinje i Oluja je bila jedna od njih....

    April 17, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dalmatinka

    "Sude mi, zato sto SVOJE volim, volim najvise, sto sam branio, svoje najdraze....."

    April 17, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
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