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Croatia: Release Of “War Crimes” Generals Sets Mood For Joining EU …

  • December 6th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

mladen_markac_-gotovina.jpgCroatia moves towards entry into the European Union in the coming year, with two of its favourite citizens ready to play a star role in the celebrations.

The two retired generals from the Yugoslav civil war, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markack, gaoled at The Hague in April last year for war crimes, were acquitted on appeal last month (16.11.12).  


The Croatian government sent a plane to provide transport home, where there was cheering  in the streets.

See video, street scenes in Zagreb:, vina-acquitted-of?videoId=239194428

Picture: Markack, foreground, flanked by Gotovina, wrapped in the flag, commemorating their release in the national capital.

The two were accused of heading a drive by Croatian forces to regain full control of the Krajina region and evict the Serbian population there, in 1995, late in the war that saw the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.


Gotovina was sentenced to  24 years in prison, Markac  18 years, for complicity in “ethnic cleansing”, murder and theft.

Amongst other arguments that resulted in all the charges being overturned, the appeal court disregarded a finding that artillery shells which fell close to civilians were intended to murder them; it said the actions of the generals did not amount to a genocidal “ethnic cleansing”.

The case helped Croatia’s bid to enter the EU, which had insisted that accused war criminals be brought to trial.

The former generals had been at large for over ten years after the war, under the protection n of the state, or later on the run.

Similarly the European Union had strongly supported demands that Radovan Karadzic, Slobodan Milosevic and  Ratko Mladic, war-time leaders in Serbia during the time of daylight massacres and deportations,  be brought in for trial – as eventually they were. Thousands yet sing their praises as heroes of the crisis.


Outsiders might have found that adulation for the tough men of the violent era to be mystifying, perhaps a reflection of the hatreds released in that time; on the other side of the coin is deliverance brought by armed protectors from one’s own tribe, when murder stalked the land.

See also, EUAustralia Online: “Got Him!”, (Again): This Time Mladic …”, 27.5.11; “Former Yugoslavia: Rumblings In Soft Underbelly Of Europe …”, 17.4.12; “Grasping Its Chance: Croatia To Join EU”, 23.1.12.


Reuters, London, “Croats jubilant as Gotovina acquitted of war crimes” , 16.11.12., (6.12.12).

Picture wikipedia