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. irrelevant

    ah.where to start. ok, first of all-@michael. I'm not really sure who exactly do you think could bomb croatia today, considering the fact that the big majority of young americans are ignorant dumbfuc*s, thinking that europe is a country, if even knowing of it or capable of pointing it on the world map. not to mention all those thinking that croatia is some sort of pasta etc. I understand that you try to avoid having any maps with anything besides USA on it, but it still isn't a very good excuse. I also don't understand why you're even on this site bothering about croatian/serbian crimes against humanity, while your country is leading that really friendly thing in Iraq. I see that you lived in Croatia for a couple of years, so by leaving you should first stop bothering with that and start thinking about all the crimes your country has been doing, or 'deal with it', as you prefer. being as abusive as it is, america isn't any better than croatia, serbia, or any other 'barbaric' country you've insulted here.

    April 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. irrelevant

    as for you, serbs and croats, embarrassing both of your countries with your rasist statements-shame on you! the war may seem over, but it isn't. it's still on because of your stupid, ignorant comments and your boundless hatred towards thousands of innocent people. I didn't murder anyone's grandma, 3year old child, father, mother etc., I would never do such a thing but in some countries I am still not welcome (and that's a huge understatement) just because of my nationality. no, croats are not barbarians, neither are serbs, but people who leave comments such as 'we should've killed all of you motherfuc*ers' are, and for those our whole nations are considered ruthless and our people criminals. one thing you all should realise is not who gets to be more guilty or who gets to spend more years in jail, but that the war is fuc*ing over, and that you should all celebrate that it did, not invoke another one, no matter how it ended. the only thing that does matter is that innocent people are not dying anymore over a few greedy presidents, generals or whoever, and that they never should be again. you fuc*ing idiots, go buy some toy-pistols and play war if you enjoyed it that fuc*in much.

    April 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. irrelevant

    oh, and one more thing-not only croats are wimpy and convinced that the there's a conspiracy against them-the serbs took this sentence as a false hope, some kind of a pretense from the tribunal to make them think that the tribunal actually isn't anti-serb, as they thought it was all these years. is there anyone thinking that the tribunal is unbiased? and why is that?

    April 18, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lila

    Let me just straighten up something – no Croat ever went to conquer the Serbian teritory. ALL FIGHTS HAPPENED ON THE CROATIAN LAND, think about it. It means they CAME TO CROATIA to kill and destroy. What do people do when they'are attacked?
    Was Belgrade bombarded? Or any other Serbian town/city/village???????????? Nope, only Croatian. That says enough.

    April 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lila

    @ Goran: I was a 7 year old child in Dubrovnik. After a few first months I had started going to school, guess what – one day my town got bombarded. Through days of horror in a shelter, with listening to bombs all days long, we kids very quickly realised how monstrous people can be (Serbs showed us that very faithfully). A few days after that, my sis, my mum and I said goodbye to our father in the city port, where we embarked the ship to escape Dubrovnik. My dad said goodbye forever to his family, as no one then believed we would see each other again. In coming months a few of my dad's friends were killed, my friend's dad was literally slaughtered on the Srd mountain, Dubrovnik was heavily bombarded and demolished. What do you think of that? Who is going to pay? Nobody has been convicted so far.

    April 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |


    April 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vuk Mujovic

      Ti bash ima da se nachekash 😀

      April 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      You might be waiting for your General, however it seams to me that HE'S WAITING FOR YOU in Hague.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOL

      You people are too funny 🙂 No one is reading (and no one gives a crap) about Croatia and/or Serbia. All of you posting these hate commments are either from one of those 2 countries, yet you post everything in (bad) english, hoping to spread (your) truth to the rest of the world...why not just type in Serbian since everyone that posted here knows it.

      I think I am the only one here that has no ties to either of your silly coutries, and I can tell you for a fact, that this news was not even broadcasted by any media on TV in know why? No one cares....( i am 0.001% of Americans that heard this story, but then again, I am curious of what has happend,since I am a history teacher).

      After 15 years of war you just had, you still keep going with the hatred? LOL....You ALL must be very miserable people. And the irony of its all is that you all fight because of religion...right? Because Croats are such good behaving Catolics, and Serbs..oh so great Orthodox Christians..... You want me to beleive you all are men of God? Christ? With all the hate you provided on this topic...I am affriad you departed away from God in early 90's, and will never get back on the righteous path.

      April 22, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • AntiComunist

      You are not a history teacher. You are a communist, you idiot. So learn to introduce yourself please LOL and do us all a favor and get the hell out of our (US) school system. It's because of idiots like you that our kids are falling behind in education. You make fun of others hating but you have said enough in you response that anyone with a brain can tell that you are a Liberal-Communist a.k. anti-Christians a.k. atheist. Today’s liberalism is a mental disorder and Atheism is the #1 killer throughout history mr. “HISTORY” teacher. When ever communist (also known as atheist) wedged war against believers they lost. Ever heard of great atheist civilization there "history" teacher? EXACTLY....but then you liberal history teachers are not learning from history since you are too busy trying to rewrite it. And you comment on people who at least have the guts to stand up and fight for the weary survival of their country? I guess that’s why atheism never made it, you never willing to fight for YOUR OWN RELIGION a.k. atheism.

      April 30, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. Vuk Mujovic

    These comments make me a tad angry... so much stupidity in so many words (exceptions noted).

    Gotovina is guilty of the crimes he was indited. He didn't kill anyone (civilians) personally but he was the commander of the people who did . On the same notice Ratko Mladic didn't kill anyone personally and never ordered any attack on civilians but the attack did happened and thus he is guilty.

    As far as I know , Krajna was already populated by Serbs who wanted independence, same thing Croats wanted in Croatia... there was no Serbian invasion, no mass attack on Slavonia ,just civil war.

    Winners write history , and in the last war , apparently , we were all losers (and illiterate).

    April 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Yua are wrong. Croatia is a winner. We have our own state and we are happy about. we are building our future. If you see Serbia as a loser, you could be right. What is Serbias future?

      April 19, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Antonia

      Can you hear your self?! ...

      1. Serbians wanted independance in Croatia – sorry to remind you that it was Croatia since ever so no independace was possible, it was possible to live in Croatia
      2. Krajina – what is that? ... so called Krajina was within the Croatian border that was marked even on the chart of Jugoslavia 🙂
      2. Crotians wanted independance in Croatia – this i wont even comment as its the most stupid sentence i saw here 🙂
      3. Civil war – since when civilians have tenks, planes, bombs etc ... it was war between 2 countries ... Serbia and Croatia while Serbian had a support of JNA (Jugolavien national army)

      April 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |

      daj se odluči, jesi mujo ili vuk? ipak si samo njaro 🙂

      April 19, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Americro

    That about sums it up.

    April 18, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      This is yet another low-budget, cheap Croatian propaganda.

      So Serbs asked Jews if they can go on the rampage against Croatians? And of course, they didn't ask Mr. Peres or any of the Ministers, they asked the person from the video for permission, because they knew he's Jewish??! What kind of BS is that? I'm Jewish and nobody asked me:) And the statement that NATO aircrafts were tracking Mr. Gotovina on the ground and approved his every move, including the genocide, murder etc. is unbelievable nonsense..

      Croats have to show sincere remorse for genocide they did in concentration camps during WW2 and distance themselves from neo-nacizm that is obviously deeply rooted among ordinary people as well as Government of contemporary Croatia.

      April 19, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Americro

    Vuk Mujovic, if there were 1,000 courts martials and 741 convictions during and immediately after storm, and if the Croatian courts continued, from Aug. 1995 to today (meaning, on its own accord), to investigate, try and punish / sentence war criminals (3,000 jailed), then that means the exact opposite of what Orie alleges happened. Croatia followed/follows international norms. The so-called "Krajina" never once opened an investigation for the 400 deaths (nearly to an individual by slaughter) of sick/elderly Croats that stayed behind, nor for Serb police/military/civilians destrrying every single piece of Croatian property in those areas in 1991/1992. The primitive relativization attempts by Serbs and some in the international community, to and include the ICTY kangaroo proceeding under Orie, is scandalous, insulting and a revision of the historical record.

    The "Krajina" Serbs banned all non-Serbs from ever returning – Croatia allowed immediately after, to today, Serb terrorists and their families to return.

    . FYI for the Serbian gusle story tellers – Serbs came to the region in 1517 as colonial settlers to weaken the Croat position in the empire, A F T E R Croats repelled the Ottomans multiple times indeed after 1517 not a single Ottoman offensive took place after that so the myth that "Serbs saved Europe from the Turks" is a ridiculous joke – Serbia was taken over by the Turks and Serbs F L E D the to the safety of Croatia.

    There was 180,000 Serbs and 170,000 Croats in Lika (there since 626 AD), N. Dalmatia, Banija, and Kordun (the area of Croatia that the fascist and genocidal "Krajina" was declared on) in 1990. The Croat / non-Serb population in those areas magically dropped to about 450 between August 17, 1990 and February 1, 1992. They were barred by Serbs from ever returning.

    April 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • American

      Good post! There have been many misconceptions and misunderstandings about this area.

      Thank you for this. Every Croatian should be educated with this information so we know the true history of our Krajina region which was Croatian and forcefully held by Serbians.

      April 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JusticeForALL

    This is coming from the NAZI Croatian government who has killed over half a million people during the WW2. Lets start with the American LAW. You can defend your self but the moment you start exerting excessive force you are breaking the LAW as well. Thats what the croatians did. They started killing refugees and buring down the towns and villeges to make sure Serbs never come back. Even their Nazi president Tudjman have stated that we have to cause so much DESTRUION THAT SERBS NEVER COME BACK TO CROATIA! These are facts and have been presented under the tribunal. Thas what these monstrumes have been convicted of high sentences. Croatians were the only ones who had HILDREN concentration camps during WW2. They have killed over 18,000 kids! Justice is slow but its coming!

    April 18, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Antonia

      my dear ... we have economy, you dont ... we have Croatia, you dont 😉 ... you dont even have Kosovo anymore ... only thing you have right now is visa you need to visit Europe and i'm glad we don't ... about this trial ... it's not over yet ... it's just first degree veridict from a judge that got all his veredicts dissmised from judge commision for missuse of law ... he convicted our general Blaškić who was found not quilty later because of missuse of the law interpretation on the subject of "comand

      April 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Antonia

      my dear ... we have economy, you dont ... we have Croatia, you dont 😉 ... you dont even have Kosovo anymore ... only thing you have right now is visa you need to visit Europe and i'm glad we don't ... about this trial ... it's not over yet ... it's just first degree veridict from a judge that got all his veredicts dissmised from judge commision for missuse of law ... he convicted our general Blaškić who was found not quilty later because of missuse of the law interpretation on the subject of "comand responsability" ... so let's wait for couple of more years because i really do belive in justice (look what happened to Serbia) ... if you understand what i mean 😉

      April 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Antonia

      Regarding the NAZI ... what they did is:

      1. Germany declares Austria as one of it's teritory parts (same happened with Kosovo and Vojvodina)
      2. Then they went to protect Germans in Poland (Serbian occupation of Bosnia and Croatia)

      Sounds familiar?

      April 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JusticeForALL

    Tribunal has said it all. It was an ORGINIZED GENOCIDE by Croatian government and against the much smaller Serbian population. At the time of Oluja Croatians numbered 300,000 soldiers while Serbs only had 40,000 and were not as equipped. Serbs have been living in Croatia for as long as Croats have because todays Croats were once Serbs but due to the Vatican influence and better living standard during the Hapsburg monarch they converted to Catholicism from Orthodoxy. Thats why there is so much hate coming from Croat side because they know their true roots. They speak the ijekavian form of Serbian language and some of their first writing have been written in cyrilic which is a Serb alphabet! Its time for Croats to accept their ugly past and make amends with their neighbors.

    April 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • pam

      Aha, you just keep telling yourself, if that's what it takes to you sleep better at night

      April 19, 2011 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. JusticeForALL

    For all of you wanting to see who the real friends of American are type in American Veterans: Serbians are heros on and you will see how Serbs saved over 500 American airman during the world war 2 while Croatians were on the side of the Nazis!!!

    April 18, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      You are still living in the past. Look at Serbia. What a poor country? Stop fighting Croatia, start developing Serbia. Then, in about 10-20 years, maybe you will reach the living-standard of Croatia

      April 19, 2011 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael


      Living standard in Coratia is a joke. 75% of population is starving, and the rest is mafia all around Croatia, mainly from Hertzegovina. These "creme of Croatia" has sold everythnig that could be sold to "foreign investors" including cities, islands, infrastructure, oil facilities, etc. Only about 5% of real estate still belongs to Croatia. Sweet dreams about your "living standard", you only fool yourselves and nobody else..

      April 20, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Serbia - A nation still in denial despite long history of atrocities inflicted on its neighbours..

      I find it 'ironic' and also quite sad that your nation still chooses to live in 'denial' after all these years..historical facts speak for themselves and throughout history whether it was under the severe WWII dictatorship of Alexander or Milosevic's aggressive nationalistic regime Serbia has always been focused in the conquest of 'land' to form 'Greater Serbia' which is unfortunately still evident in the ideology of today's serbian society.

      April 21, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    The top 5 contries committed worst genocides in the history of mankind:

    1. Germany
    2. Turkey
    3. Croatia
    4. Rwanda
    5. Russia

    Well deserved bronze medal!

    April 19, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Antonia

      Michael ... go and read a few books, then talk again (friendly advice) ...

      April 19, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      @Antonia Sorry my mistake

      The top 5 countries committed worst genocides in the history of mankind:

      1. Germany
      2. Turkey
      3. Croatia (since 19th century)
      4. Rwanda
      5. Russia

      Well deserved bronze medal!

      April 20, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ragusian

    Can anyone explain why I can’t post?
    I have been trying to post a few replies, but it doesn’t pass.

    April 19, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ragusian

    That you want it or not, we are all cousins separated only by bloody religions. I’m one who doesn’t care for such fairy tales, I let all the hatred to the many brainwashed above (both sides) with their posts full of hate, religious dogmas and historic revisionism.

    April 19, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
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