News 14 Aug 12

Prosecution: Same Sentences For Croatian Generals

Due to the nature of the war crimes committed and the role former Croatian General Ante Gotovina had in their execution, the prosecution of the ICTY believes that a sentence of 24 years in prison is warranted.  

By Marija Ristic
Belgrade
 Former Croatian General Ante Gotovina

On April 15 last year, former Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were sentenced to 24 and 18 years in prison, respectively, for their involvement in the joint criminal enterprise aimed at the forcible removal of Serb civilians from Krajina in Croatia.

The two former generals appealed on their first instance sentences on the grounds that the ruling was incorrect.  

The prosecution, however, believes the appeal should be dismissed.  In a brief on Monday, the prosecution stated that enough evidence was presented to determine that the generals had command responsibility and that it is proven that both were part of the joint criminal enterprise.

According to the prosecution, Gotovina should be convicted for aiding and abetting, persecution, deportation, murder, wanton destruction, plunder, cruel treatment and other inhumane acts.

Under the first instance verdict, the Trial Chamber of the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, found the two generals guilty of persecution, murder, deportation and other crimes against Krajina Serbs and their property during and after Operation Storm in the summer of 1995.

The Appeal Chamber found that the fear instilled in the local population by the shelling attack during Operation Storm was the primary cause of the mass flight of more than 20,000 Serb civilians from the area of Krajina, Croatia. 

“Franjo Tudjman, the former Croatian president, and other Croatian senior leaders intended to drive Serb civilians out of Krajina…Gotovina knew the intent behind the attack was to forcibly remove Serbs.  Gotovina, nonetheless, participated in planning the shelling attack and specifically ordered the Croatian Army’s assaults on the towns,” the prosecution’s brief reads.

It is also said that Gotovina knew that the Serbs who remained after Storm would be vulnerable to revenge crimes and that “only those who had no possibility of leaving would remain”.

According to the prosecution, Tudjman wanted Serbs to leave Krajina permanently and planned for a Croatian diaspora to resettle in the area.

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