Skip to comments.Croatia: Key international court ruling delivers justice to victims of war crimes
Posted on 04/20/2011 8:53:34 AM PDT by Ravnagora
A judgement handed down today by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicting two Croatian generals of responsibility for crimes against humanity is a strong victory for Croatias war victims, Amnesty International said.
The ICTY convicted Ante Gotovina and sentenced him to 24 years. Mladen Markač was also convicted and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. A third general, Ivan Čermak, was acquitted.
Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač were found guilty of having participated in a joint criminal enterprise during and after the military Operation Storm, carried out from August to November 1995 with the aim of forcibly and permanently removing the ethnic Serb population from the Krajina region of Croatia.
This judgement is the first step to truth and justice for many victims of crimes committed during Operation Storm in Croatia in 1995, said Nicola Duckworth, director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme.
It shows that even the most high-level perpetrators of crimes under international law cannot evade justice.
According to the indictment, crimes against humanity were committed during the 1995 military operation, including persecutions, deportation, murder and inhumane acts. The charges also included war crimes, such as unlawful destruction of civilian property.
In a recent report, Behind a Wall of Silence: prosecution of war crimes in Croatia, Amnesty International documented how justice in Croatia is slow and selective more than 15 years after the war ended, and how a lack of political will to deal with the wartime past prevents many victims from receiving justice, discovering the truth and obtaining reparation.
Behind a Wall of Silence: prosecution of war crimes in Croatia
Although the war in Croatia ended almost 15 years ago, the Croatian authorities still lack the political will to deal fully with their past. This leads to impunity for members of the Croatian Army and police forces who allegedly committed war crimes against Croatian Serbs. The legal framework in Croatia remains inadequate for prosecuting war crimes as it does not explicitly define crimes against humanity, the principle of command responsibility or war crimes of sexual violence. There is a continuing ethnic bias against Croatian Serbs in prosecution of war crimes.
Only 18 cases are resolved on average each year, adding to a backlog of more than 500 cases. At the current rate of prosecution, some victims of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity would need to wait another 30 years to see justice.
High-level Croatian political figures including current Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Vladimir Seks have yet to face investigation. Prosecutions target mostly Croatian Serbs and other minorities whereas crimes committed by the Croatian Army and police forces go unpunished.
Local courts lack witness support and protection measures. The well-known case of the August 2000 killing of Milan Levar, a potential ICTY witness remains unresolved.
The international community must demand that Croatia investigates and prosecutes its backlog of hundreds of cases to give victims access to justice, truth and reparation, said Nicola Duckworth.
Justice must be sought and delivered for Croatias war victims.
Only a very limited number of low-level perpetrators have been brought to justice in Croatia for crimes committed during Operation Storm.
Notice that these war crimes are only aimed at organized militaries and governments. No non-uniformed terrorists, warlords, pirates, brigands or others operating outside the law have been tried or charged with war crimes. They get a free pass. So what is the lesson in this selective enforcement of laws?
Excellent point, fella.
But it’s a start, and that’s a good thing.
Too many in Croatia have gotten away with too much, for way too long.
Ostensibly, MRPI did not (or does not) fall into your category of an organized military.