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. Americro

    A willing and key participant in the planning, ordering and executing excessive and indiscriminate shelling, persecution, deportation, plunder of private and public property, destruction, murder, inhumane acts and cruel treatment and forcible transfer of non-Serbs while exercising command and control over political, security and military forces and exercising de jure and defacto control over all subordinates in the "Krajina," Strbac was awarded for his efforts with the post of Secretary of the Krajina. During his time as Secretary of the "Krajina," 400 sick and elderly Croats, almost all of the Croats left in "Krajina," were butchered and their homes plundered and burned (20,000 Croat homes in total were plundered, burned, or simply blown up from August 17, 1990 – the start of Serbia's aggression – to August 8, 1990) – for which not a single investigation was launched – for which, if the ICTY "standards" were to be believed, Strbac would be guilty of "command responsibility." But that is not the case because the ICTY is a farce.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Americro

    4. The indictment lists 156 dead Serbs in Oluja (of course, no differentiation is made between armed participants and actual civilians, nor mention of the "heroic" Army of Serbian "Krajina" tanks that rolled over their own columns of refugees which even Serb media reported, nor the sorties and the deaths/casualties caused by Karadzic's MiG fighters sent to "encourage" the Serbs to fight the "genocidal Ustasha hordes," five percent of whose forces were Serbs themselves and whose "Ustasha" Parliament and "Ustasha" Government had Serbs serving in it at that time, with a former Partisan general as president ( France's leader at that time was a former Nazi collaborator). Dozens, dozens of Veritas-listed "dead" Serbs have been found – alive and well in the genocidal fantasy state within a state, Republika Srpska, and in Serbia proper. The figures provided Veritas are a joke – perversion rather.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Americro

    5. One (1) armed Serb paramilitary was proven to be killed from artillery fire in Operation Storm – he was in front of the "Krajina" military HQ. That is the "overwhelming evidence" of "excessive bombing" which no one saw – except Canadian General Leslie (forced into retirement after his testimony at the ICTY) who claimed that "20,000 Serbs died" in "Knin alone" and that the city was "leveled." So, the death of an armed fascist paramilitary meters from a military headquarters is the only factual, provable evidence the prosecution had of "excessive and indiscriminate bombing."

    April 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Americro

    6. The Serbs left under orders of their own elected fascist leadership and military commanders – you can't "cleanse" a people who have already fled.

    7. Serbs began returning immediately after the operation – and it was LEGISLATED, under Tudman, that all refugees have a right to return regardless of their ethnicity – turning the fantasy argument of the prosecution on its head.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Americro

    8. Nearly every single alleged crime/burning that took place took place AFTER Croat forces pushed through into Bosnia to give life to the Bihac pocket which Mladic, Karadzic and other genocidal maniacs were threatening to make an even bigger Srebrenica out of – Gotovina was in the outskirts of Banja Luka, putting the remnants of the Yugoslav Army's forces West of the Drina river, the VRSK and VRS, in their place – high heels and a sun dress – Gotovina and Cermak had nothing to do with the revenge crimes of returning Croat refugees from 1991 in Northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija. Croatia needed, at a minimum, 500,000 additional men under arms to be able to have every crossroad with a guard / every village/hamlet with guards at all entry/exit points like the prosecution would have liked to see it – unfortunately Croatia had a sum total of half that many able bodied men, nearly everyone was taking part in the operation or on standby in East Slavonia where Milosevic the coward was expected to strike and lose everything. So Croatia is guilty of being underpopulated. Write us a ticket...

    April 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Americro

    9. During and in the weeks after storm, over 1,000 Croat soldiers and civilians (mostly civilians s the Croats who had their families slaughtered and who were ethnically cleansed began returning to their pre-war homes) were investigated for crimes in N. Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija and 741 were convicted and sentenced to prison – meaning the judiciary functioned and the conclusion of Orie is at best idiotic. As a Croat I am disgusted with the crimes committed, which were mostly by previous victims of Serbia's aggression and violence and at a personal level – however the Croatian civil and military judiciary functioned. Not one Serb was ever, E V E R investigated, let alone prosecuted, for crimes against Croats and 400 elderly were slaughtered, SLAUGHTERED, over a 4 year span – with the UN doing NOTHING about it. Amazing, no "command responsibility" for them, nor the Serbs in the "Krajina" government minus the two token useful idiots, Martic and Babic – sacrificial lambs to keep Belgrade out of trouble.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Americro

    The ICTY will become legitimate when indictments appear and convictions declared against the creators of the Rampart Plan, when all senior members of Milosevic's governments, including frequent Hague witness and Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences head, Dobrica Cosic, all "Republic of Serbian Krajina" / "Republika Srpska" government members, security heads/judicial heads, along with all Yugoslav National "Army of the Serbian Republic of Krajina," and "Army of the Republika Srpska General Staff commanders, Main Staff commanders, Corps commanders, Division commanders, Brigade commanders, Regiment commanders, Battalion commanders, Artillery/Air Defense commanders, Company commanders, Battery commanders, and platoon commanders for planning, ordering and executing excessive and indiscriminate shelling, persecution, deportation, plunder of private and public property, destruction, murder, inhumane acts and cruel treatment and forcible transfer of non-Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina while exercising command and control over political, security and military forces and excercising de jure and defacto control over all subordinates between August 17, 1990 and November 30, 1995. As we all know, this will never happen, and Mladic and Hadzic will, upon closure of the ICTY, more than likely reappear with the latter fascist probably ending up in office.

    April 17, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Americro

    The release of the openly fascist Vojislav Seselj by the ICTY will be the steak in the heart of this judicial farce which was marketed as a new Nuremburg to punish the Milosevic and his genocidal clique, in reality, to wash the West, especially Britain and the Netherlands, of their shameful and dishonorable support of Milosevic, with the British Foreign Office acting more as a cheerleader and free lobby group/media spinster for Milosevic's aggression until it became too tasteless even for the Mercedes Marxists and Anti-Catholic Islamophobes in the cryptofascist far-right wing of the Conservative party – so they went on to relativization, which the Hague is an instrument for. Seselj's release, of course, will be praised by both the far left and far right of the west – both of whom supported Seselj and the greater Serbian dream, which was the plan B in case Milosevic failed. And Serbia will sooner or later drag the entire region into another war for its genocidal dreams of a greater Serbia – problem being that it is not 1991, and there is no arms embargo. Serbia was very, very, very lucky in 1995. Like a dog that continually runs in the street, or the dumb kid that keeps trying to put a fork in the outlet in the wall...

    April 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Americro

    Dutch – how many Dutch and French civilians and soldiers were tried for crimes against collaborators and their property in WWII and after it? Oh, yeah, how many Partisans or Resistance Fighters did the Netherlands and France produce, combined, in comparison to Croatia's Dalmatia and Istria regions? Thanks in advance...

    April 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Americro

    And finally, and this goes especially to the "genocided" (presumably thrice over) bare-handed Serbian "Krajina" innocent above, we have the statement of Franjo Tudjman, in its entirety – "Prema tome, nije nam glavna zadaća Bihać nego je nanošenje na nekoliko pravaca takvih udara da se srpske snage više ne mogu oporaviti, nego da moraju kapitulirati. Kod toga možemo računati da se u tom području Jugoslavija neće angažirati irzavno." "With that, our goal is not Bihac but to hit the Serbs at different points so that they basically disappear, so that they have to capitulate. With that we can calculate that in that region Yugoslavia will not intervene directly." Now, the previous sentences and paragraphs were about Military operations, as were the subsequent sentences and paragraphs. Capitulate, a verb, is defined as "to surrender unconditionally or on stipulated terms." This sentence was another prosecution "slam dunk" piece of evidence of the goal to ethnically cleanse (!?!?!?).

    April 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Americro

    I think the reaction by some Serbs, in the face of such an overwhelming miscarriage of justice, is best described by Serbia's own Alfred Rosenburg, and leading intellectual, Dobrica Cosic:

    "A lie, trait of our patriotism" “We lie to deceive ourselves, to console others, we lie for mercy, we lie to fight fear, to encourage ourselves, to hide our and somebody else's misery. We lie for love and honesty. We lie because of freedom. Lying is a trait of our patriotism and the proof of our innate intelligence. We lie creatively, imaginatively and inventively. "Deobe"(Divisions) 1961. Volume I, page 135.

    A very creative lie by Savo Strbac, but once it goes before an actual judge without a conflict of interest like Orie, then it will go down as every single assertion of the prosecution was disproved by Misetic/the defense team.

    April 17, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Goran

    I was 11 year old boy in 1995. Croatian army was repeatedly throwing thousands and thousands of grenades over our little town. Nearly every house and every backyard was hit.

    We had to leave and we saw dead bodies alongside the road.

    Last time we stayed (in 1941-45) 700,000 Serbs were slaughtered and to this date nobody was convicted before the international courts of justice.

    As individual I am happy that somebody is finally convicted of this! The evidence was overwhelming.

    April 18, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Aussie Serb

    Prior to 1991 the Krajina region was populated by a majority Serbian population, since the 13th Century to be exact. In 1991 the newly Croatian government wanted to succeed from Yugoslavia without the consulation of its largest minority, the Serbs, added to this the stripping of RIGHTS the Serbs had in Yugoslavia ie language, education, governing. The Croation government inflamed the situation by returning world war 2 insignia of the Nazi puppet state, not the thing you want to do considering the genocide this reigime brought upon everyone of non Croatian backround.
    The Serbian people of the Krajina region decided to take a stand to protect their rights, land and existance. War commenced because this was unaccepable to the Croatian government.
    In August 1995 Franjo Tudman ordered the expulsion of the Serbian population of Krajina with the military operation 'Storm' which resulted in teh expulsion of the entire Serbian population, where once over 200,000 lived, not for 4 years but have lived for over 800 years as evident by the Serbian graves, monasteries in the region, now there are less than 10,000 Serbian people, if this is not Ethnic Cleansing then what would consitute ethnic cleansing.
    24 years for Gotovina is too little a sentence for the lost lives of people from Krajina, lives lost for no reason apart from the nonsense & propoganda coming from the Croatian side

    April 18, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • cipal

      It is a fact that this region had many serbs.
      Still, here we are talking about 1/3 of the republic of Croatia and on this whole area there were more croatians than serbs, living from 7th century.
      It is also a fact that serbs said that where ever there is one serbian grave, that should be Serbia.
      It is also a fact that serbs did not try to defend their rights, but instead they armed all the serbs, civilians and started to torture and kill innocent Croatians. This torturing of croatians which remained in the occupied part of Croatia, so called Krajina continued until 1995, until Storm.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Serbian monasteries in that region date from 13th century. Now, if Serbs didn't live there, why would they build those monasteries. Its very sad to see Croats act the way they do after a war criminal is convicted. A war criminal is a war criminal, whether he is a Serb or Croat.

      April 18, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • pam

      Pete and cipal,
      let me just copy/past the prevous answer by @life to your question about how the sebs came to croatia, nad when, oh, and as a reminder, we (the Croats) have been here since the 7th century. OK, now one more time, SINCE THE 7TH CENTURY. here's your answer about the sebian monasteries:
      Michael- as I can see you like history and you also like mentioning that "old" history. nice. THEN YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW SERBS EVEN CAME TO "KRAJINA". 924. Bulgarians attacked and defeated Serbian leader Zaharija and they escaped in Croatia and Croatian king Tomislav SAVED THEIR LIVES AND "HOSTED" THEM IN HIS COUNTRY. In exchange for their saved lives they had to defend Croatian borders (which were also the borders of western europe). Now you know how Serbs have come on that territory.

      @Americro, svaka čast, da si imao dovoljno živaca da napišeš sve ove činjenice gore

      as for the rest of you, read the list of facts @Americro wrote to you to in an effort to educate you and to make you think twice before writing another uneducated comment here

      April 18, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • pam

      Whoa, sorry @cipal, i read the wrong post and put your name as if replying to you, sorry, ignore your name in my previous post

      April 18, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete


      Balkan is an ass of Europe. All of you people are retarded. Serbs and Croats. Very disturbing to see what you people are doing. If it weren't for you guys, White Europeans could be called the elite of the world. It seems every race has their monkeys.

      April 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • pam

      "If it weren't for us, White Europenas could be called the elite of the world" ?????!!!??
      Do you have any idea how racist this makes you? Only a person from a country that had slavery for decades could make such a comment. spelling white with a capital "w"? Still the most racist country in the world, no matter what you're trying to sell to the world

      April 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Free gotovina

    Michael I would kindly like To tell you to kill yourself. And your a sick stubborn piece of crap Chetnik that sadly shouldn't be here. If it wasn't for gotovina and operation storm there would be no Croatia today. I guess hague wanted Serbia to have control. I can't wait for your dose to come and kick u in the rear. Long live Croatia! Long live the general!! Za Dom Spremni!!!!

    April 18, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Shockre

    Unknown to most of people is policy of Serb run Yugoslavia to employ as much as Serbs as possible in Croatia,during Yugoslavia hundred thousand Serbs were given easy, good earing state held jobs in Croatia just to colonize it and increase Serbian minority.
    In country where they were 12% Serbs held around 75% employed in police force, all im saying is that Serbs have been planning this war for decades.

    April 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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