Go Jump In The Lake

The sensational Plitvice Lakes - Croatia - were under Serb occupation 1991 - 1995

I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who gets quite annoyed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) chief prosecutors.

I accept that their job is important, but it should not be a job where personal hunches, witch hunting or warped beliefs should have a place in setting the tone and giving way to possible apprehended bias in the court.

Once upon a time (1999-2008) there was Carla Del Ponte who stuck to her warped beliefs that Croatia was hiding General Ante Gotovina from the Hague (where he was wanted on charges of war crimes) for years.

She kept accusing Croatia of hiding alleged war criminals without a single dash of proof, obstructing Croatia’s EU accession talks, wasting huge and precious amounts of money for a country that had no cash to spare on searches and searches; causing distress to decent and honest people. She failed to apologise when Gotovina was arrested in Spain where he’d been for a long time, failing abysmally to see how much damage she had caused, how evilly wrong she was.  http://www.balkanpeace.org/index.php?index=article&articleid=8990  ; http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4263426.stm  ; http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/del-ponte-gotovina-was-located-by-a-phone-call

On 7 December 2011, Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor (2008 – ) (ICTY) delivered his regular half-yearly report to the UN Security Council on the regional countries’ level of co-operation with the Tribunal.

In it he has expressed concern over Croatian officials’ criticism of the Tribunal’s work.

He said he was “worried” that some Croatian officials have questioned the Tribunal’s work and that others had sent official greetings to generals sentenced for war crimes. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=40658&Cr=Criminal+tribunal&Cr1=

The first criticism refers to the Croatian President Ivo Josipovic’s comment during his recent visit with the New York Croatian community where he said that the “wrong people” are in the Hague.

That is a sensitive issue. Unfortunately, there were war crimes in the Homeland War, but Croatia waged a just war of defence. Personally, as a legal expert, I am not satisfied with the outcome of trials in The Hague, not only when it comes to the Croatian side. I’m not sure that the right people from Croatia were tried there either,” Josipovic said.” http://daily.tportal.hr/149386/Josipovic-meets-Croat-emigrants-living-in-New-York.html

The other Brammertz’s criticism refers to Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor’s public greetings (while in Knin /town freed from Serbian occupation 1995/ for Homeland Thanksgiving Day, 5 August 2011) sent to the Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac who were sentenced for war crimes in the Hague in April 2010/ now on Appeal. AFP-source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jTcXKhogAfG1az_wMQ_4umVXsldQ?docId=CNG.6a98fd76164f24b8e8592a408fbde487.801%20Croatian%20PM%20hails%20war%20crimes%20generals

Croatia’s HINA News Agency & Vecenji List reported 8 December that the Croatian Ambassador to the UN, Ranko Vilovic, has dismissed as unfounded and unacceptable the assessment by the Chief Prosecutor ICTY Serge Brammertz,that high-level Croatian officials continue to glorify illegal war-time conduct and question the impartiality of the court’s judgment (HINA). Croatia is a member state of UN Security Council. http://www.vecernji.hr/vijesti/hrvatski-veleposlanik-optuzbe-s-brammertza-neprihvatljive-su-clanak-353924 (article in Croatian)

Homeland Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in Croatia on 5 August as that day in 1995 the horrible war of Serbian aggression in Croatia ended with the liberation of Croatian Krajina from Serb occupation.

Perhaps Brammertz thinks that Croatia should not have engaged in defending itself from murder and mass expulsions of Croatians from their homes by the Serbs in 1991 – 1993? Perhaps protecting ones territory and life is an illegal war-time conduct for Brammertz? (In this of course, I exclude any actual war crimes that may have been committed by individuals.)

Brammetrz also criticised Croatia for not delivering certain documents to the Hague. http://www.croatiantimes.com/news/General_News/2011-11-28/23483/ICTY_Prosecutor_Brammertz_critical_of_Croatian_authorities%27_reaction_to_Gotovina%27s_verdict

Ostensibly these relate to the so-called artillery-diaries he has claimed for years that Croatia has and which, according to his hunch, will prove unnecessary/excessive shelling used by Croatia over the town of Knin, during the liberating Operation Storm, 1995.

In 2008 Serge Brammertz reported that Croatia was concealing the so-called “artillery-diaries” from the Operation Storm in order to obstruct the court in reaching a conviction against Generals Gotovina, Markac and Cermak.

Chief Judge Alfons Orie declined to entertain this application by Brammertz citing not enough evidence suggesting that Croatia kept such diaries or that they exist. http://www.vecernji.hr/vijesti/orie-odbio-prijavu-jer-nema-dokaza-da-rh-zna-gdje-su-dnevnici-clanak-172190 (article in Croatian)



But – like Carla Del Ponte – Serge Brammertz is keeping his warped thrust. There were times during the Gotovina and Markac trial in the Hague when the question of United Nations Military Observers (1995) having kept diaries and that these are to be sought by the court. But, not a single one has arrived as yet and as far as I am aware.

Certainly the landscape and buildings of Knin after Operation Storm did not match any similarity of devastation that excessive shelling usually brings.

It seems that the so called artillery-diaries allegedly being hidden in Croatia may well be Brammertz’s cruel fantasy tale, costing Croatia not only the funds it cannot spare but also justice, just like Carla Del Ponte’s cruel tale that Croatia was hiding General Gotovina.

I wonder why Brammetrtz doesn’t insist on Serbia providing documents that allegedly exist which would demonstrate to the court whether it was Serb’s themselves that left Croatia in August 1995 voluntarily in droves or whether they were expelled by Croatia – the latter is labelled by ICTY as joint criminal enterprise, and is pinned to the convictions of Gotovina and Markac – now on Appeal.

Brammetrz criticises Croatia’s high-ranking officials for criticising or giving an opinion on the court’s work, and for sending regards to Generals Gotovina and Markac, convicted of war crimes in April 2010, now on appeal!

It is truly annoying to say the least that such words can come out of the mouth of the person who represents an institution of justice – court.

Being free to give opinions on public organisations (eg ICTY) and being free to say hello or greet anyone without the fear of being judged or your name smeared with vilifying innuendo should come under basic human rights.

After all it was the Operation Storm that freed Croatia from the tarror that the Homeland War violently imposed upon her.

ICTY prides itself of protecting human rights but in Brammertz’s case that protection seems grossly prejudicial to the point annoyance.



Related post by Ina Vukic:



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