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)

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