news 23 Aug 13

Gotovina to Unveil Monument in Split, Croatia

The Croatian General controversially acquitted of war crimes by the Hague Tribunal last November, is to unveil a monument to his wartime comrades in Split on September 2.

Boris Pavelic

Ante Gotovina - who was procclaimed an honorary citizen of Split December last year - will unveil the monument to the 4th Croatian army guard brigade, known as the "Spiders".

The unit was one of the main units that participated in the 1995 Croatian Army operation codenamed "Oluja" (Storm), which terminated a years-long Serb revolt.

The monument will stand near Split city centre. Gotovina is to unveil it together with the wartime commander of the 4th brigade, General Damir Krsticevic.

During and after Operation Storm, war crimes occurred for which the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, indicted Gotovina and two other Croatian Generals, Mladen Markac and Ivan Cermak.

The three men were tried in single trial.

Cermak was acquitted April 2010. However, Gotovina and Markac were sentenced to 24 and 18 years respectively for participating in a joint criminal enterprise together with Croatia's late President, Franjo Tudjman.

The alleged aim was expel the Serbian population from the territory that the Croatian army had recaptured in Operation Storm.

Both Gotovina and Markac were acquitted on appeal last November, and returned to Croatia.

On his return, Gotovina, who is widely seen as a hero in Croatia, issued several conciliatory statements.

Among those, the most significant was an interview to the Serbian daily Kurir, in which he urged Croatian Serb refugees to come back home, saying "Croatia is no more my country than theirs".

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