News 04 Jul 07

Del Ponte: Gotovina Was Located by a Phone Call

Brussels _ The Croatian authorities were able to locate the fugitive general, Ante Gotovina, after he made a phone call to his wife, Carla Del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor for the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague, confirmed.

"It was a telephone conversation from Gotovina to his wife,” Del Ponte said. Del Ponte was speaking at a debate organized by the Brussels-based think tank, the European Policy Center.

The telephone conversation helped Croatia’s authorities to trace the general’s precise location, which was considered a pure stroke of luck. “They [the Croat authorities] were able to intercept the conversation. They knew it was him… [because] he spoke also about me”, Del Ponte added.

 

Croatia’s EU accession talks were put on ice on March 17, 2005, after the Zagreb authorities failed to meet a deadline to arrest and transfer the indicted general to The Hague.

Later that year, on October 3 in Luxemburg, Del Ponte announced that Croatia was “fully cooperating” and the talks resumed. Gotovina was arrested in Spain in December of the same year.

The Chief Prosecutor said the Gotovina case offered proof of the success of the policy of conditionality applied by the European Union.

She explained that it had been very complicated to convince the authorities to act over Gotovina because he was widely considered a war hero in Croatia for his role during the war of independence in the 1990s.

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