November 18, 2012

Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, War Criminals, Are Freed By The UN

A United Nations appeals court in The Hague has freed Croatian war criminals Gen. Ante Gotovina and Gen. Mladen Markac. They were sentenced last year to 24-year and 18-year prison terms for murder, persecution and plunder during Operation Storm. That operation was an aggressive action aimed at the Krajina region of Yugoslavia by Croatian forces. In four days these forces indiscriminately bombed Krajina and troops went on a rampage against Serbs living in the region. Hundreds of people were killed, many of them elderly and disabled Serbs who could not evacuate to Serbia or to safer areas. The point of Operation Storm was to drive all Serbs from Krajina.

The Pentagon was closely involved in the planning of Operation Storm.

Gotovina and Markac were freed because it was found that they aimed chiefly at military targets and because they could not control the forces under their command who committed the atrocities. It was said that they warned against attacking civilians.

Gotovina and Markac were certainly carrying out the policies of the Croatian government then headed by Franjo Tudjman, a president who drew considerable support from the fascist forces then resurgent in Croatia, when they took part in Operation Storm. UN forces on the ground at the time criticized the attack, and especially the indiscriminate bombings of towns. It seems likely to me that the US helped to broker a deal to release the two generals. The release comes as a surprise. Gotovina spent seven years in jail and Markac spent eight. Tudjman and his inner circle who directed Operation Storm have all passed on. No one has paid for Operation Storm.

The release of Gotovina and Markac means that no Croatian officers are now in prison for war crimes committed during the breakup of Yugoslavia.

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