General Ante Gotovina and Calvary at ICTY in the Hague

I would have thought that a law court is there to ensure every possible avenue is taken in order to reach the truth in a case before it. Indeed, the courts processing criminal cases, where a person is found guilty, that guilt must be beyond reasonable doubt. That is the standard of evidence that validates a criminal conviction.

Furthermore, if such a conviction is on Appeal, one would expect that any new evidence which was not available at the time of the original sentencing and which has the capability of quashing or changing the original criminal conviction must be considered by the court. Indeed one would expect the court’s assistance in securing such evidence no matter what that process may require.

Not so in the Croatian General Ante Gotovina’s Appeal in the Hague, ICTY!

General Ante Gotovina

On 22 June 2011, Gotovina filed a motion seeking ICTY to order the Republic of Serbia to produce documents relating to the departure of Serb civilians from Krajina in Croatia in August 1995. The ICTY dismissed the motion. Reason given: Serbia had not been given sufficient time to consider this request.

On 16 November 2011, Gotovina filed a renewed application to ICTY seeking that the court direct Serbia to produce the same documents. ICTY denies this application, citing that the Appeal cannot be used as opportunity to remedy failures in original trial (i.e. Gotovina had opportunity to discover the documents earlier, according to the prosecutor).

Gotovina Appeal ICTY 16 November 2011

Having in mind that part of Gotovina’s conviction was that he participated in a joint criminal enterprise, i.e. planned expulsion of Serbs from Croatia in 1995 one would think that the Appeal court may entertain the evidence which would exonerate Gotovina of that conviction.

Yet again, another Calvary for Gotovina and Croatia. At this point in time it would seem that ICTY is determined to equate the aggressor (Serbs) with the victim (Croatians) no matter what it may take.

The likelihood that Serbs in Croatia were told to leave Croatia by their leaders must be entertained by the court. Certainly, the exodus of Serbs from Croatia in 1995 was very, very different from the exodus of Croatians from Serb occupied areas in 1991, 1992 and 1993. The Serbs had time to organise themselves, to pack their belongings on trucks, in cars, on carts while the Croats had barely the time to pick up a small carry-bag. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Exodus of Serbs from Croatia 1995:

Exodus of Croatians from Serb-held Vukovar 1991:


  1. No sovereign state has ever released war-time records to another country at the request of a third-party court.

    If the tables were turned, would the NDH government (aggressors) released records to the Allies (victims) in WWII if the NDH government was in power post-WWII.

    I don’t think so.

    Case closed.

  2. Most likely true, however this is a court case and documents are sought to be released to the court not to a country. Besides, Croatia had been pressured by ICTY in past ten years to release war records, transcripts, state secrets etc, which was done and so I do not think that Serbia could be excused for not providing them as the matter deals with both countries. On the other hand if those records are from the ex-Yugoslav army then in a way every former Yugoslav state should be entitled to access them, regardless of the fact that Serbia seems to have taken ownership.

    I cannot say what NDH would have done, but in Nurnberg trials, in trials in Croatia against NDH war criminals, in trials thoughtout other countries of former Nazi criminals found documentation was actually made available, I believe.

    Case can only be closed if justice is done and is seen to have been done, regardless of whether one is found guilty or innocent.
    Thank you on your comment.

    • I disagree.
      The establishment of the ICTY and its jurisdiction is served by it’s masters in Brussels and Washington.
      Furthermore, no US government has ever (or ever will) recognise the jurisdiction of a future ICTY-style court in relation to war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
      The fact that the Croatian government at the time handed over records (under sustained
      pressure) was purely linked to a favourable out come on EU negotiations and further advancement.

      • How very true. I think though that since Croatia got a raw deal i.e. all sorts of pressures from ICTY if it wanted into EU, then all other countries wanting access to EU should be given similar conditions. i.e. pressures. Away from this topic & related I think there should also be a UN criminal tribunal for Middle East conflicts, all of them.

  3. The most important outcome of this case is that Croatian (just like the Nazi in WWII) people, and government accept their role in Operation Storm and the consequences of the actions of a war crime activity.

    Let’s not forget that A Gotovina was/is a convicted criminal before Opertaion Storm.

    For too long (and has just been shown by the guilty verdict of Gotovina), the mainstream media, certain paid PR agencies employed by the HDZ in the 90’s (ie. Ruder Finn Inc.) and yourself quote “At this point in time it would seem that ICTY is determined to equate the aggressor (Serbs) with the victim (Croatians) no matter what it may take” have portrayed the Croatian people as “victims” and the Serbian people as “aggressors”.

    This is a classic strategy employed by the media and those who reinforce the strategy to “divide” opinion and demonise one side.

    Both ethnic groups are to blame for this conflict, however the world powers have been shown now (as history is the ultimate judge of facts) to be the cohorts in this story as proven by the excellent documentaty The Weight of Chains “”

    I highly recommend you watch this.

    Furthermore, regarding the Serbs as “aggressors” in the Krajina, this is totally false.

    The Serbs in the Krajina region have been settled there since the 1600’s – how can they be aggressors on their own land???

    Truth be told, if Tudjam, Susak and co. were still alive they would be in the dock with Gotovina. This operation, I believe, is a tragic event that the US Government, CIA and MPRI organisation wants to be closed, quickly.

    Besides, Tudjam and Co, both Clinton & P Gailbraith have much to answer too…

    • Serbs in Croatia in 1990 & 1991 simply did not accept that majority of Croatian citizens including Serbs (94%) voted to secede from Yugoslavia. The rebel Croatian Serbs did not want that. did not accespt nor respect the majority vote in a democratic process and decided to become aggressors & hive off part of Croatia they lived in as their own country. That’s how they can be and were the aggressors in their own country. They expelled Croatians from those lands first. Regardless of the fact that Croatian consitution addressed the rights of ethnic minorities, Serbs weren’t going to have it. Yes in 1600 Serbs were given land in Croatia but they never accepted Croatia as their homeland – at least not the rebel ones and they were in large numbers.
      Hence, no one can say that Croatian Serbs were not the aggressors in Croatia and to make that aggression more frightening they joined forces with the strong but outgoing Yugoslav army.
      The matter is quite simple, really. The fact that crimes were committed by Croatians during the defensive battles and actions is accepted and the courts must be allowed to do their jobs.
      One of Tthe points of contention about Gotovina & Markac in the ICTY is that their original indictments did not specify “joint criminal enterprise” (expulsion of Serbs in 1995 etc) while indictments against Serbs did (expulsion etc of Croats & non-Serbs) but ICTY planted the phrase into Gotovina & Markac judgments. Which is on appeal.

    • I recognise David’s writing from other places. Serb (or Serb apologist) who frequents many sites spreading anti-Croatian pro-Serb messages.

      Gotovina was not a convicted criminal before Operation Storm. What David is reffering to is that there were claims which surfaced, originally in French media, that Gotovina was convicted in absentia for apparent crimes conducted during service Mittarand’s opposition La Pen. No conclusive documents have ever been shown for this absentia conviction and Gotovina was still working for federal French agencies at the time of the apparent crimes. Regardless, none of the ‘convictions’ were for war crimes or anything close to so why by saying that it is related to Operation Storm is idiotic at best.

      The ‘Krajina’ David talks about is and has never been a region in that part of the world. The only ‘Krajina’ there has ever been in that region was the Habsburg Military Krajina and related Bosanska Krajina. Both of these did not represent the ‘Krajina’ set up by the Serbs in 1990s. Those Serbs did arrive in areas of Croatia a long time ago as David points out. But there were Croats there too, and before there were ever Serbs there. SO many times this is overlooked. Further there were also ‘new’ Serbs whos immigration to the area only occured during the first and second Yugoslavia (who were the first to want to break away and join Serbia) and perhaps the most overlooked are the Orthodox Vlachs/Morlachs who are often simply counted as Serbs due to sharing the same religion. Further, the region was populted by Germans and other non-Serbs who were forced out of after WWII (estimated by some to be 500,000 Germans repatriated to Germany though these families had lived in Yugoslavia for hundred of years).

      It was an act of aggression for Serbs to turn against their Croat neighbours and cleanse them from the so-called ‘Krajina’ area. It is forgotten that tens of thousand of Croats and other non-Serbs lived in the so-called ‘Krajina’ and were forced out. It is aggression for innocent people to be murdered based on their ethicicty (regardless of which side) such as in Skabrnja.

      Note: Ina, Serbs were not given land in Croatia in the 1600s. The land was a military zone and officially the Habsburg crown owned the land and it was under the authority of Vienna. Peasant ownership did not occur to much later.

      • Thanks Mike, totally agree re Serbs cleansing Croatians and other non-Serbs from Krajina in 1991/1992. Serbs it seems have stronger “PR allies” and have spent more money on PR spins than Croatians in the world, hence this fact is often overlooked. Sadly. As to the land, yes it was military zone for Habsburgs but originally, but prior to that as well as dating back to Croatian Kingdom etc it was Croatian land and Serbs were given land either to form “buffer zone” together with Croatians etc from Ottoman onslaught spread, or they fled the Turkish onslaught… the fact that Habsburgs took over doesn’t really matter in this scheme of things, I think, as Croatians did live there often in majority rather than minority as Serbs, who had the Yugoslav army behind them, and Krajina was within sovereign borders of Croatia.

  4. Indeed, subjective emotions can run high on issues and in this age of digital communications and the internet it seems subjective opinions run in abundance, often losing the truth or not sticking to the facts.
    One does need to corroborate one’s opinion with facts from credible sources. Thank you on your comment, much appreciated.

    • Not sure of how to contact you directly Ina, but wanted to let you know that the Gotovina defense team again requested for the admission of new evidence to the appeal. I think it is an outrage and denial of justice for evidence not to be admitted. This is a man’s life and country’s reputation at stake. Whatever biased interpretation of rules the court has should be challenged. Here’s a request, could you post your article on Gotovina evidence admission as a form letter for interested Croatians to send to the Hague and speak with one voice?

      • Thank you. Yes I can turn the article into letter etc I’ll do that soon. I’ve just got a couple of matters to research in relation to this & to which the letter can refer.

      • Thanks…I am looking forward to it. let us know when it is ready.
        Great site.


  1. […] Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Filed Under: Uncategorized Tagged With: Ante Gotovina, artillery-diaries, Carla Del Ponte, Croatia, ICTY, Ivo Josipovic, Jadranka Kosor, Mladen Markac, Operation Storm, Ranko Vilovic, Serge Brammertz « Better Grave Than Slave […]

  2. […] Of course the Appeal at the ICTY is still revolving around General Gotovina’s motions to introduce new evidence (from Serbia) which could demonstrate that the masses of Serbs who fled Croatia at the finish of Operation Storm in August 1995, left of their own volition or at request of their leaders, and were not expelled as the ICTY conviction ruled. Certainly it seems that the ICTY tries hard to prevent sending a subpoena to Serbia for the documents by way of a court order. […]

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