Croatia: Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac declared heroes

Zagreb 10 November 2012, Dr. Zvonimir Separovic at the lectern – Photo Davor Visnjic/Pixsell

The Coordination of war veterans’ associations in Zagreb had Saturday 10 November, at public forum “We raise our hands to the sky – free Croatian Generals”, held in Mimara museum, declared Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac heroes of Croatia’s Homeland War. They had also demanded from the Parliament to amend its Declaration on Homeland War so that its integrity remains untouched after Croatia’s entry into EU membership.

The public forum was organised in the lead up to 16 November when ICTY in the Hague is to bring its judgment on the General’s Appeal against April 2011 Trial Chamber’s judgment. The forum participants emphasised that Operation Storm (1995) liberated Croatia from occupation but also that it liberated the Bihac enclave (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Bishop Vlado Kosic from Sisak also attended the forum and emphasised that Christians and all good people are “obligated to raise their voices against injustice being brought upon not only the Generals but upon the whole of Croatia”. He stated that the Generals are sacrificed for some higher principles and that “our representatives had thus accepted the imposition of the theory of a civil war in Croatia and sacrificed heroes and our liberators”.

Dr. Zvonimir Separovic, president of Croatian Victimology Society, criticised the ICTY as a political formation which has not rendered itself as an institution of international law. He corroborated this assertion with the fact that ICTY punished the “Vukovar three” only symbolically and sentenced the Croatian generals to many years of prison. He characterised the former ICTY prosecutor Carla Del Ponte as a “strange figure who stopped prosecutions against the Yugoslav Peoples’ Army (JNA) and who collaborated with Savo Strbac”. Separovic further stated that the ICTY Trial Chamber did not prove prosecution’s theories of excessive shelling and of joint criminal enterprise, for which the Generals were convicted and he expressed his conviction that the ICTY Appeal Chamber will not confirm Trial Chamber findings.

Separovic further expressed his optimism by saying that the head of Appeal, Judge Theodor Meron, is a man of moral integrity and a Shakespearean “who knows well what a victim is”.

The President of the Special Association, Josip Klem, invited citizens to join in the Mass to be held on Thursday 15 November and prayers during the whole night before Friday 16th when ICTY Appeal Chamber is to deliver its verdict.

It is expected that over 100 000 people will join the nightlong vigil and prayer in Zagreb.

By the bye, Croatian war veterans minister Predrag Fred Matic has recently announced that in December of this year Croatia will introduce “Hero of Homeland War Medal”. The medal, he said, would be bestowed upon those who are most deserving for the defense of Croatia from Serb aggression. Let’s trust that Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac will be among the recipients, regardless of what happens in the Hague next Friday. True heroes are those that arise from sentiments and determination of the people and government should listen to the people when it comes to bestowing such medals. People know because they were there, in the thick of the war. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)


  1. Reblogged this on Eyes of the Mind.

  2. I know that mentioning the absurdity of the (lack of) punishment that the chetniks and JNA received for the destruction of Vukovar and killing and torturing its inhabitants in the worst conceivable way, gives a vivid picture of the kind of injustice that’s been pinned on our generals. But if you think about it, just the comparison of Vukovar and Oluja itself is absurd. One clearly being an inhumane act of bestial behavior while the other being clearly an attempt to stop that behavior.

    If anything, while damage and loss of life is absurdly different, I’d compare the attack on Vukovar to the (alleged) attack on Grubori since our troops (allegedly) went into a village and indiscriminately slaughtered a number of innocent people and destroyed their property. I mention the word “alleged” because there is a clear lack of credible witnesses and if anyone is familiar with KOS m.o., it’s plain to see that the attack has all the characteristics of KOS operations (see Opera/Labrador). In other words, at the very end of Oluja, having seen a clean and precise operation go just as planned, KOS throws its operatives into Grubori and makes sure that focus is taken off the Northern Sector, allowing Boljkovic and Manolic to save their own (pardon the expression) ass-kissers.

    It will be interesting to see how many people show up and spend the night at the vigil on Thursday night at Jelacic and St. Mark’s Square, especially in light of Vukovar commemorations. I have a feeling that things could turn pretty ugly on Friday morning if the expected 100,000+ show up only to be disappointed with the verdict. Regardless, I wouldn’t miss it.

  3. We will be praying……

  4. Pray for justice. Hope for freedom. Prepare for defending Croatia.

  5. The forum participants emphasised that Operation Storm (1995) liberated Croatia from occupation but also that it liberated the Bihac enclave (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

    Yes, but the question is by what means? If all that liberating involved “persecution, deportation and forcible transfer, plunder, and destruction”, then yes, we have a problem.

    Let’s trust that Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac will be among the recipients, regardless of what happens in the Hague next Friday.

    The last time we had this conversation, you emphasised that the presumption of innocence should be maintained until the appeal is resolved. That is a position that I might dispute, but that is well within the range of reasonable opinion. But am I now to understand that you would insist on the General’s innocence even if he is found guilty on appeal?

    • If someone is found guilty of something, the central question in law and reality spins around motives. There’s no doubt in my mind that motives for Operation Storm were those of te need to stop further killings, ethnic cleansing, persecution, deportation, plunder, destruction against Croatians and non-Serbs. I am quite aware that “Tit for tat” is no justification however, in situation of war and real threats to lives is another matter. This was not “tit for tat” it was a situation of self-preservation and desperation in Croatia to stop the violence. Whatever you may say Operation Storm was one of the most humane military operations of liberation in our memories. That is perhaps why Croatian people consider the generals heroes.

    • Miso Sorbel says:

      Martinned, the US justified the dropping of atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, at the draw of WWII as an action necessary to stop their violence and further deaths . Operation Storm was in no way brutal and inconsiderate to human lives. Indeed, Serbs left Krajina in 1995 on their own accord – perhaps from their own guilty conscience that would have made their lives there uncomfortable, in the least – don’t forget it all started with Serbs brutalizing their neighbors, their villagers, killing or forcibly taking them to concentration camps in Serbia.

  6. Michael silovic says:

    If the generals are not freed I think we will see a lot of anger. Croatian politicians do not seem to care what the out come will be as no one that I can see has even tried to assist them.I wait and pray everyday that they are freed and can only hope that god will answer our prayers.

    True heroes are those that arise from sentiments and determination of the people and government should listen to the people when it comes to bestowing such medals. People know because they were there, in the thick of the war.

    Such a powerful statement.
    Za dom spremni!

  7. Michael Silovic says:

    (quote from martinned) But am I now to understand that you would insist on the General’s innocence even if he is found guilty on appeal?

    My answer is yes since I know that he was only convicted for political reasons.Anything short of their freedom is nothing more then a corrupt system and if one argues that is not true then we need to start hauling British and Americans into the Hague to be charged along with the generals since they worked hand in hand together in planning. If you charge anyone with a criminal venture or conspiracy then everyone should be included. The courts of the Hague have long lost any credibility before world opinion as it is known to be full of political scumbags for judges. They are on par with the United nations that’s totally useless.

  8. Folks, G&M are sacrificial lambs…Martinned you have to be delusional if you really think there was command responsibility for crimes committed during or after the operation. Moreover, this was a fair and legitimate military operation conducted with great care in following rules of conduct and legal practices as supervised by the US and it’s allies. In military terms it was clean and successful. Unfortunately, Serbs did not want to solve their issues with Croatia through negotiation and Croatia had a sovereign responsibility to its people and right to reclaim this territory by military means when negotiation failed. This red herring issue of mass deportation is a diversion as it is well documented in other ICTY cases that the exodus was planned in advance and ordered by Serbia. This is a political court designed to equalize guilt and thereby absolve the guilt and conscience of Europe and the west for their immoral conduct and complete abandonment of their democratic principles. Honestly, ask yourself would this case have even made it to court in any law based democratic country and if it did would there have been such an outrageous indictment and conviction…not.

  9. ProudCroatian says:

    Hello everyone.
    Every single male member of my familly was in war between Serbia and Croatia. My father, and his two brothers including my cousins(one of them died killed by Serbian soldier). If there wasn’t ”The Storm” which was in leadership of general Ante Gotovina, I would probably lost a lot more of my familly. One of my fathers brother have really bad consecuenses on his mental health because of things that happened in war, horrible things. I dont want that happen to anyone. I don’t know why so much people speak about war here, and they never found themselves in situation like that and I repeat i dont want that to anyone. The killings of Serbian people in the town Knin was not an orders from Gotovina or Markač, civilians did that. I want to say one more thing, the crimes in Vukovar a city in eastern Croatia was attacked by the Yugoslav People’s Army and Serbian paramilitary forces..It was defended by around 1800 lightly armed soldiers of the Croatian National Guard (ZNG) and civilian volunteers, against JNA soldiers and Serbian paramilitaries equipped with heavy armour and artillery. During the battle shells and rockets were fired into the town at a rate of up to 12000 a day. At the time it was the fiercest and most protracted battle in Europe, and Vukovar was the first major European town entirely destroyed since the Second World War. When Vukovar fell on 18 November 1991, hundreds of soldiers and civilians were massacred. Case closed! Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markač-we love you, croatia loves you, welcome home <3
    Greetings from Croatia! <3

    • ProudCroatian, it was a horrible war and as we approach 18th November, the 21st anniversary of Battle of Vukovar, we must not forget the horrors Serb civilians inflicted upon their Croatian neighbours – even before the Serb paramilitary and Yugoslav Peoples Army got their bloody claws out. But now there is at least some closure for the profound grief and suffering with the Generals being acquitted at ICTY. Below is the link for “The Cowards’ War” documentary made in 1995 by ABC TV that shows the horror that unfolded in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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