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.

Post by:
Filed under: Courts • Crime • Croatia • Human rights • Justice • Military • Netherlands
soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Ragusian

    Funny how the Vatican and Germany was quick in recognising Croatia both in 41 and 91…
    What if Ragusa declared independence from Croatia tomorrow and started to expel and kill all non-Ragusian families? After all its territory is not even connected to Croatia and its historic legacy would be enough to ask for independence.
    So just don’t do to others what you would like to be done to you.
    “Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro”

    April 17, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. Genocidiran iz Krajine je tocno..i samo da dodam kako Vatikan i Hrvati porede Gotovinu sa Isusom Kristom..??:

    "...Hrvatski vojni biskup Juraj Jezerinac ocenio je danas okrutnom i nepravednom presudu Haškog tribunala hrvatskim generalima Anti Gotovini i Mladenu Markaču za ratne zločine nad srpskim stanovništvom tokom i posle akcije "Oluja" 1995. godine.

    – Duboko nas je kao narod iznenadila okrutna presuda našim generalima u Hagu. Nama se dogodilo kao što se dogodilo Isusu na Cvetnicu. Osetili smo kao da i nama viču: "Raspni ga, raspni!" – naveo je, kako prenosi agencija Hina, Jezerinac u Zagrebu tokom propovedi povodom praznika Cvetnice..."

    Nema sta, sve je jasno...

    April 17, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. T.Brooks

    Its quite simple, I don't know why practically everyone in this forum is making it so complicated...if you step into someones land first and take aggressive actions against them, do you not expect them to defend themselves? Its like punching someone in the face and saying you don't want to fight them. And all of you can sit here with a straight face and say that whats going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya, is not aggression? We as Americans, what business do we have to be in Libya? If they want freedom and democracy, we can give them the go, but do we really need to send troops there? No. But, there is another agenda in mind. Its really simple to put this political mumbo jumbo together. I am neither Croatian nor Serbian, but you can't throw someone in jail for defending their country. At that rate, most of our American generals should be thrown in jail. Could you believe to imagine how many war crimes were committed in Vietnam? Yes I never heard of any of the aggressors being put to "justice." I honestly believe that people need to crack open books, instead of putting their trust in the won't get the right or truthful facts. CNN is the cancer of news media.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • pam

      Thank you. Finally some common sense

      April 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goerge

      There is a difference between defending your country and committing genocide against many in the country. The latter prevailed, as recognized by the International Criminal Court.

      April 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      What genocide do you speak of? First off get your facts straight since they were not convicted of that. If you feel the need to bring an opinion at least back it up with thoughtful conversation.

      April 17, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • cipal

      One of 8 things generals were found guilty for was over-booming the city of Knin, which was the center of serbian occupation. In total 150 booms git the civilian buildings and only one civilian was killed. Strange but true. Read the verdict.

      April 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • George


      Definition of genocide:

      "...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: expulsion or killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group..."

      It's now clear Dan ? The latest sentence: it occured in 1941 when Vatican forcibly converted many Ortodox Serbs into Catholics

      April 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      The difference here is the fact that we kicked them out of Croatian territory and sent them back to Serbia, its not like they had nowhere to go. Also you have to take into account that Milosevic sent many Serbs to live in those areas so that if a ceasefire was reached he would be able to say that that was Serbian territory since it was occupied by mostly Serbs.

      April 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • cipal

      If Croatian government really wanted to do genocide, it would be done on the whole territory of Craotia, not only the area occupied by the Serbs. In fact that would be even easier. All the houses burned in the Storm were renovated by the Croatian government and most of the serbs returned to Croatia. If the Croatian government had those intentions, would they have returned? Would Serbs remain intact in the peaceful parts of Croatia if we wanted ethnically clean country?

      April 18, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. American girl

    i have just heard about this recently about the hate agianst the Croatian people. this is very sad to hear, all they have been doing is tryign to defend there country and people ! the generals went to jail 4 no reason. countrys r playign favorits rigth now and siding w/ serbs becuz most of them r. nothign is fair hear. and croatians has always had it the hard way this needs to stop

    April 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Goerge

      Too late Croatian Girl, you're guilty of war crimes. Live with that. Period.

      April 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ana

      @ George we just started :)) if you know the balkan mentality u know we wont give up. we already won the war, now we will do our paper work once more

      April 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan

    Here is what I have noticed, Serbs talk about how Croats have been brainwashed by the media etc. I would like to know how it is that all you seem to be able to hold against Croats is the fact we kick you out of Krajina ...? Did some civilians die in the process? Yes but find the the evidence and proof that orders were sent from our Generals to send artillery against those columns of civilians. @ Petar you talk about how hundreds of thousands were displaced within a week. I ask you about the hundreds of thousands that were displaced in Bosnia and Croatia by Serbian troops. The outside world wants to know why Croats are Ultra Nationalists? How could we not be?! We are proud of being a part of a country that was able to fend off a much stronger enemy. You want to know why Croats don't want to be part of EU? Where were they when our country was almost completely destroyed? Only the U.S stepped in and helped us with weapons and aircraft! Are Croatians blind to the fact that we kicked out Serbs from Krajina? No, but I doubt many of us regret that it was done. Just think! If it had not been done, and they had stayed in their homes, what do you think the entire Croatian civilian population living in that region would do to those Serbs? Better yet! How do you think a government could explain to its people that it let Serbs live in Croatian land after that same country tried invading Croatia?

    April 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ana

    my fellow croatians prepare for less tourists these year :)))))))))))))))

    April 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cipal

    This is a poor day for international community.
    In the verdict, the judge Orie stated that the reason why Croatia went into Oluja didn't mater. Said that it didn't mater that Croatia had been boomed and occupied for 4 years ad that Gotovina should had known that civilian could get hurt. He declined Croatia the right to defend itself. If we imply the same roles to other countries and operations, than Normandy, for example, which led to much more victims than 600 (that is the approximate number of serbian casualties, many civilians but supporting the Milošević's policy) is also an ethnic cleansing operation. Every operation, including either police or army, international or in own country, especially those against terrorists (not domestic) which would lead to civil vicims could be considered an (ethnic) cleansing operation.

    April 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dutch

    What a twisting of history and facts through some comments. Croats made atrocities in a civil war. That’s a fact, is proven in a court of law and those guilty must pay for it. In civil war are no bad or good gays. No liberators. In civil war people fight over differences in religion, ethnicity. Nobody came from abroad and attack Croatia so that they have to liberate themselves.
    Ustasa in second world war were fascist and Nazi helpers. Ask any Jew, or Gipsy
    Croats who disbelieve this are stupid or ignorant or should go and see shrink. Or just full of hate and pump up with a fascist ideology of Mr.Tudjmans politics from two decades ago.

    April 17, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Civil war is between two sides in the same country, since this was an aggression from Serbia against the free and independent country of Croatia it makes it a war of aggression and not civil war. There are therefor one side that is defending its homeland against an enemy. This makes Croatia the "good guy" in loose terms fending off the "bad guy" Serbia. Get your facts straight Dutch. And will you PLEASE stop referring to who Croatia sided with during the second world war? since many other countries such as Italy also sided with them . You are the ignorant one by saying nobody came from abroad to attack Croatia. Last time I checked a neighboring country is still considered abroad.

      April 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • pam

      Civil war? CIVIL WAR? Are you serious? Nobody came to crotaia and attacked us?
      Dear Dutch, get your facts straight! That is exactly what happened! Serbs came to croatia and proclaimed a third of our territory theirs! You are obviously too ignoratnt to be able to understand this. There was no civil war, neither then, nor ever in croatia!

      April 18, 2011 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. American girl

    haha " u serbs now at alls" should shut up here. im 13 i dont understand alot but im sidding up with the Croatians! hope i visit there one day there beautifull land and there awsome beaches!
    and dont u say im Croatian cuz im not. i would like to be that would be cool. wat MY OPPINION is that just cuz the serbs got kicked out of croatia and croatians won there independence this is all jelousy and there "reveng"
    hahah wow how lame and childish.. all im going to say is that the croatians r and will froever be WINNING!!!!

    April 17, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. vika

    we croatians fought for that war!!! Gotovina is innocent and fought for his people!! our country is in tears for the war that WE won

    April 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. vika

    SUDE MI ZATO STO SVOJE VOLIM, VOLIM NAJVISE STO SAM BRANIO MOJE NAJDRAZE! WE CROATIANS are here living with this shock of Ante Gotovina after we fought for our country and suffered in despair to watch our families die who were innocently proud to be living in OUR country. All we ever wanted was independence and freedom and we are here now suffering once again! Serbs need to give peace!!!!!! ZA DOM SPREMNI!!!!!!!!

    April 17, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghetto person

      i agree with u 100 d*m percent!! im not croatian or serbian but some guy petar said that its ok 4 someboby to come up on ur hood and start shootign at u but its not ok to defends urelves! r uu on crack fool!? anyone has that right! know i hate serbs just becuze of thiss f*uckers words! LONG LIVE CROAITANS U R WELCOME IN MY HOOD!

      April 17, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Americro

    Not a single indictment was written for the YPA commanders who planned and oversaw the illegal and criminal joint YPA/fascist Serb paramilitary campaigns in East Slavonia, West Slavonia, Mostar/Split/Dubrovnik, Knin-Zadar, Banija-Lika-Kordun, nor the naval campaign – the result of which was just over 8,000 civilians dead, 25,000 civilian invalids (by August 5, 1995 the number of dead rose to over 10,000 civilians, and civilians disabled to 30,000), and the ethnic cleansing of 170,000 Croats from the so-called "Krajina" areas (that were liberated in 1995), an additional 200,000 from West Slavonia and Vukovar Podunavlje regions, and another 130,000 civilians who fled front-line areas to avoid becoming "collateral damage" from the endless bombing campaign by Serbs that began in May 1991 and did not end until the signing of Dayton (for which, not a single Serb was ever indicted for – unselective bombing of civilian targets, like the grade school in Slavonski Brod in 1991 which killed 13 children).

    April 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Americro

    Being that Vukovar was literally leveled by YPA and Serb paramilitary heavy artillery, air-to-surface missile attacks, mortar fire and tank fire, leading to the deaths of over 3,000 civilians, over 150 of which being children, one would think that an indictment for excessive and indiscriminate bombing would have been drafted – but, when one looks back and realizes that not a single western news agency covering the conflict never provided a translation for the "liberation song" sung by fascist Serb paramilitary and YPA "liberators" marching into the city reduced to rubble and shells of buildings, singing "Hej Slobo salji nam salata, bit ce mesa klat cemo Hrvata" (Hey Slobo [Slobodan Milosevic], send us salad, there will be meat we will slaughter the Croats) it is no surprise. The western media instead ran the discredited Milosevic psyop plant by a pseudo photographer about "41 schoolchildren being killed by fleeing Croatian Ustashe," which even Milosevic's media later discounted.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Americro

    Nor can we be surprised that General Lewis Mackenzie was appointed to the Bosnia mission, despite the conflict of interest as his wife Milica McKenzie was a founding member of a particularly odious, neofascist propaganda mouthpiece for the Milosevic regime in North America (Serbian Unity Congress) – who, imagine that, Former Canadian Ambassador to Yugoslavia James Bisset was and is a regular speaker for. The reality is that the indictment against Croatia's generals appeared in the pages of ultra-nationalist primitive Politika, the mouthpiece of greater Serbia, than in the Hague – the sham indictment against Croatia's generals was literally a piecemeal of discredited agitprop from the pages of Politika and other fascist media organs.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Americro

    2. The main source of information for the indictment: Savo Strbac of the "Veritas" organization (irony being that veritas means truth in Latin). Savo Strbac, a trained lawyer, was an active participant of the Federal-level and Socialist Republic of Serbia State Security Service (SDB) and Yugoslav Army Counter Intelligence (KOS) illegal arming of Serb terrorists and paramilitaries in Croatia during the "Croatian silence" / while the president of the then Socialist Republic of Croatia was Serbian, which began prior to HDZ even formed as a party putting the greater Serbian myth of "endangered Serbs," on its head as Serbs were arming before, during and after "meetings of truth" where intoxicated Serb crowds brandished knives and guns, screamed about a Serbia to Austria, and informed Croats that the Serbs were threatened by them (before 1990, the entire government and police apparatus was communist party members – 47.5% of the Communist Party of Croatia was Serb, 70% of Croatia's police force was Serb, and 80% of the YPA stationed in Croatia was Serb).

    April 17, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15