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. hysteria

    Oh please Kiki are you serious? Are you lying to yourself or to uninformed people on this forum? Miklós Zrínyi died in 1566. That was ~450 years ago! I didn't now that Szigetvár and Somlyo forever repelled Otomans from Europe. At least that's not what Austrians though has happened after the failed Ottoman campain at Vienna. Ask them then who was protecting them later. And Kiki is just an imitation of Starburst, ha, ha. Sorry about the joke. I'm out of here so it's all yours now you can do your propaganda all you want. Listing Serbian military people of that particular region from distant history may take more effort than you will need but they mostly were not under direct Austrian/Hungarian command. Again, enjoy your Serb-clean "modern democratic" state (that even Germany was not so motivated to get into EU by now – go figure) and don't be so ticked off, stress is bad for health.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hysteria

    Oh and just one more thing before I go @Accipere quam facere praestat iniuriam: Your Australian is great! Or is it Canadian? Or Ne Zealandish? Or Ohiaan? Or Californian? Aaaah, right, it's still English – sorry!

    April 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Accipere quam facere praestat iniuriam

      I can not believe that I actually spent my words on you, please grow up, and maybe then but just maybe we can talk. You are sad person and sad nation, and I am sorry to say that is everything that you will ever be.

      April 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. investigator

    the cities and towns serbs totally destroyed during 90s in croatia: Vukovar, Dalj, Aljmaš, Nuštar, Vinkovci, Osijek, Bizovac, Valpovo, Slavonski Brod, Đakovo, Novska, Našice, Voćin, Lipik, Petrinja, Požega, Daruvar, Virovitica, Orahovica, Koprivnica, Bjelovar, Varaždin, Sisak, Petrinja, Karlovac, Sunja, Ivanić-Grad, Kutina, Nova Gradiška, Glina, Kostajnica, Dvor, Zrin, Gvozd, Vojnić, Karlovac, Jastrebarsko, Slunj, Josipdol, Oštarije, Ogulin, Duga Resa, Ozalj, Generalski Stol, Saborsko, Otočac, Saborsko, Gospić, Lički Osik, Škabrnja, Nadin, Zadar, Stankovci, Biograd, Šibenik, Drniš, Kijevo, Sinj, Dubrovnik, Metković, Ploče, Slano, Ston... From March 1st 1991. till August 6th 1995. Serbs keeps occupied 67% of Croatian theritory. Serbs killed more then 14.000 non-serbs (out of war attacks) and refuge more then 600.000 peoples. but, hey! am i guilcy croatian have no oil – if we have oil USA will attack Serbia right on time, so nothing will happen (no Vukovar or Srebrenica will happen) and heroes will not end at political court!

    April 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sveti Sava

      And here's what Croatians did to cause the destruction:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasenovac_concentration_camp

      April 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ponosan Hrvat

      koji svetac je vaš sava? Ovdje mi komentiramo što se dogodilo prije petnaest godina, a ne prije šezdeset

      April 16, 2011 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dlegend

    Great day to see the policy of Tudjman and his pawns finally convicted. It was not a one sided story as the media tried to portray it. Serbs are victims in Croatia. I see people posting Croatians never crossed into Serbian land, and that we attacked them and that they were sovereign. Well, tell that to >250,000 people you kicked out from their homes. What sovereign nation does that to their people. That's right, you did not try to kick out JNA, you wanted to remove all that was Serbian. Why don't you go cry to Austria or Hungary, they were the ones that put Serbs to serve as human shields and protect all of Western Europe from the Turks ~300 to 400 years ago.
    Justice was served. They all should have received life in prison!

    April 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Links

    I followed this trial closely, and there was no substantial evidence supporting any of the charges. The prosecution had NO EVIDENCE against general Gotovina. Period. This sort of sentence is mind-boggling, to say the least. ICTY is not concerned with law or justice, but rather politics. It is an attempt to portray Croats and Serbs as being equally responsible for the war. I'm not saying there weren't civillians killed during the war. There certainly were, just like in any war (though it's usually called collateral damage when Americans do it, not a war crime). But there was no joint criminal enterprise that Gotovina was part of. There is no evidence to support that he ordered or even knew of the crimes commited.

    April 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Biotin

      Good points, if only everyone was as logical and smart as you and I.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Per Astra Ad Aspera

      The hundreds of thousands (anywhere from quarter million to 700,000) expelled Serbs is not a sufficient evidence for you?

      The spitting, the booing and the harassing (and the sniper fire) on the columns of refugees fleeing Croatia is not much of an evidence for you?

      The burnt , bombed and razed villages and towns left in the wake of the Croatian "liberators"?

      The charred bodies of non-Croatians?

      The slaughtered cattle rotting and bloated in the sun?

      The bombed hospitals, kindergartens?

      Vandalized and dug up Serbian cemeteries?

      Deliberately targeted Serbian temples and places of worship?

      None of this is "material evidence" enough for you?

      Whoa. Let me guess. You are one of those fine and kind Croatians Christians who also claim that Holocaust never happened, right?

      April 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. M.

    Guilty as charged. And it is not enough for what Croatian have done to Serbs, Jews ans Gipsies Second World War together with German and Hitler. Concentration camps like one in Jasenovac in Croatia is the next issue where Croatian people have to pay the prize to all killed Serbs during these wars in Balkan. And don't forget those who started it Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. They should also finish like Croatian generals together with their friends from Kosovo, also well known criminals, drug lords and murderers..

    April 15, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sveti Sava

    What an absurd , pathetic and entirely reprehensible reaction on part of the Croatian masses gathered in Zagreb today. It is hard to believe that the nation on the verge of being allowed to enter the European Union can harbor so much collective xenophobia, racist paranoia , medieval primitivism (and worse) in its midst. The reaction of the mob gathered in the capitol of Zagreb can only be described as an mass outburst of fear, hysteria, ugly chauvinism and war-mongering blaming everyone from Eastern-Orthodox Serbs, to British, to French, to Americans, to Freemasons, to Jews, to Islam, to European Unon, to United Nations, to God-knows-whom else for their sudden legal and political predicament. And, oh, lest I forget: this, of course, was a massive global conspiracy against the Croatians, what else?. Never mind that NATO had to bomb their nemesis, the Serbs, three times since 1995 and actually worked TOGETHER with the accused Croatian war criminals in order to exterminate the Serbs from Croatia.

    In fact, Croatians have NO ONE but themselves to blame for their newly-found war crime tarnish on their national soul. For nearly 20 years now, the Croatians have lulled themselves into a convenient , self-serving little narcissistic fairytale that the Serbs – whom they exterminated along with the Jews in multiple waves of terror and pogrom since 1941 – are nothing but evil monsters and that they, the Croats are nothing but incarnation of moral purity and religious virtue; a proverbial bunch of sweet little Mother Theresas. Today, the Croats are finally waking up to the Truth - and they don't seem to like it one bit. The moment of reckoning hurts like hell. Therefore, the Truth must be secretly conspiring against the Croatian people, they seem to be saying.

    All this from the nation whose biggest Rock star proudly glorifies (and receives standing ovations to boot) the Nazi Conz-camp of Jasenovac , the place of death and unfathomable suffering of some 500-700,000 Serbs and virtually entire Jewish population of Croatia. The "new" and "democratic" Croatia finds it absolutely acceptable to allow such monsters to parade freely in its midst and with impunity. In fact, this character is about to serenade THE POPE when he visits Croatia next month.

    The verdict announced today serves as a wake-up call to those civilized, peace-loving and tolerant Croatians – of whom I am sure there are many – that THEY may be the next victims of their own chauvinist fellow nationals - since there is no one else left to sacrifice in Croatia. Jews have left or were killed, Serbs have been converted, expelled and killed, Italians fled in terror. The ethnically pure Croatian state does not have anyone else left to exterminate - but Croats themselves.

    April 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toma41

      @Sveti Sava
      Listen and learn. Its a a fact that Beograd was the FIRST JEWISH FREE city during WW2. Your wonderful people have the stamps to commemorate this day along with a couple movies and books. Its a fact that Jasenovac was a WORK CAMP and that scholars and the intellectual community all over the world have agreed that the number of "dead" are around 45-60 000. Not to mention that on that list are several thousand names of people that WERE LIVING IN NORTH AMERICA at the time and/or died 30 years after in a bed in their homes. There is a reason NATO bombed your people 3 times and there is a reason you STARTED and LOST 4 wars in 8 years. You are a barbaric people. End of story. Gotovina WILL be freed sooner than later. This is a hiccup. We will be laughing in the EU in a few years,your people will be begging for green rotten bread on the streets Beograd looking for the next war to lose.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Serb

    No EU for Croatia till all deported Serbs get their homes and land.

    April 15, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • H.

      Since you are dreaming, bring back all those dead Croats & Serbs while you are at it. 🙂 See I included your people, unlike you I am fair and not delusional.
      Also, did the EU inform you of this personally? Or are you speaking on their behalf? I can't decide which of those two is funnier...

      April 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hrvatica

      hahahahahahahaha wow.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kylie

    Srbijanci, di su van opanci?

    April 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sveti Sava

      Kom opanci, kom obojci.

      Nama opanci, vama obojci.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ana

      @ Sveti Sava: vama NATO :))))))))))))))))))

      April 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. R.

    looks like CNN doesn't want me to reply to you....

    April 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Where is the US?

      Oluja was supervised by the US government who made sure the operation was done according to the war legislations put in place...

      April 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. D

    VUKOVAR Who attacked who?

    I'm loving these incoherent Serbs who throw out numbers like there is no tomorrow. "oh it was 500k-700k", "it was 1 Million. No it was 200k" Use FACTS in your arguements.

    BTW, who cleansed who in KOSOVO? It's easy to forget, who the aggressors were and who cleansed who, isn't it?

    April 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hrvatica

    CROATIA CROATIA CROATIA CROATIA CROATIA CROATIA.
    Ante Gotovina is our HERO!
    HERO!
    Thank you for helping us get our land back from those monstrous serbs! We have the most beautiful land in the world, you guys must be jealous. Top vacation spots of the millennium=CROATIA.
    You hurt our houses, our people, destroyed our buildings and churches but we are still AMAZING!
    ANTE ANTE SVI SMO ZA TE. ANTE NIJE KRIV.
    And to all you "know it all serbs" .... really?? how are you this clueless... get your facts straight, NO greater serbia.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoro

      Curo,jel volis da se jebes od pozadi kao ova Hrvatica iz Velikog Brata?

      April 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      it is very sad that one convicted criminal is your hero. Makes me wonder what kind of a person you are. You should be ashamed of any human being that committed murder. This dude was proven in an independent and impartial Court of Law to be a bloody criminal. What's wrong with you?

      April 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • hrvatica

      zoro... od jebi. youre so funny!

      justin ... I'm a wonderful crotian girl. proud to be Croatian. Unlike most of the tards on here I know what i'm talking about. Say what you want... what's wrong with me? haha WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?!

      GO SOMEWHERE ELSE ZORO AND JUSTIN... MAYBE ZORO SHOULD ASK JUSTIN EXACTLY WHAT HE JUST ASKED ME... YOU BOTH PROBABLY PREFER IT.
      HRVATSKA!

      🙂

      April 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. R.

    Oluja was supervised by the US government who made sure the operation was done according to the war legislations put in place...

    April 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Per Astra Ad Aspera

      Oh, sure, sure.

      That's PRECISELY why ICCFY ruled against you. Because everything was "clean" and "legal"

      Alas, like Lincoln once said:

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. ...

      April 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Although US supported in general the right of Croatia to seek independence, we never condoned genocide, murder and deportation that some of the Croatian criminals conducted on the field.

      The decision of the Court in Hague is not against Croatia, it's actually helping the state of Croatia to develop into a modern and civilized country. Croatia should separate itself from criminals and should embrace diversity of it's population, Jewish and Serbian included.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzzzzzzz - something fun for everyone

    The blogging entrance test – ♫♫♫ getting to know you... getting to know all about you... getting to like you...hoping you'll like me too♫♫♫

    1. What is your favorite word?
    2. What is your least favorite word?
    3. What turns you on?
    4. What turns you off?
    5. What sound or noise do you love?
    6. What sound or noise do you hate?
    7. What is your favorite curse word?
    8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
    9. What profession would you not like to do?
    10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

    April 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tole

    It is true that weCroats removed Serbs from our land! Nobody is denying that- but we did it in retalion! We would not let people take over our country. Serbs have always lived in Croatia but if it wasn't for Serbs in Belgrade with Milosevic and their Greater Serbia ... And if Serbs didnt start the war in Croatia the. There would be no problems and Croatians wouldn't try to evict the serbs! UN and Hague judged Croatia yesterday- but God is the final judge and God knows the truth. Look out Serbian aggressors – Your time will come! ( and I don't mean that towards all Serbs- only the Chetniks, and aggressors

    April 16, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
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