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Balkans: Croatia to decide if it will still celebrate the 'Storm'

last update: March 09, 16:11

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Zagreb, 9 March (AKI) - After International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) delivers the final verdict in the case of Croatian generals, it will be up to authorities in Croatia to decide whether to continue with celebrating military operation "Storm“, Hague Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz says.

Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were sentenced in April, 2011 by the court to 24 and 18 years in jail for crimes against Serbian civilians during the operation "Storm“ in August 1995. According to the indictement, Gotovina and Markac were part of a "joint criminal enterprise“ led by former Croatian president Franjo Tudjman and aimed at expelling Serbs from the country. They have appealed the sentence. It has been expected for court to deliver the final verdict in the spring of 2012.

Croatia celebrates the anniversary of the operation as a liberating military action“ while on the same day Serbia commemorates the victims of the exodus of some 200,000 Serbs from self-proclaimed Republic of Serb Krajina when 1,205 civilians were killed. Brammertz expressed concern after former Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor openly greeted sentenced generals at last year’s celebration of the „Storm“.

"It will be up to Croatian authorities to decide whether to continue with celebrating the "Storm"anniversery. I sincerely hope that all parts of the society would finally perceive what really happened during the operation. Crimes were committed without a doubt and I hope Croatian people would have that in mind“, Brammertz explained for Zagreb’s web magazine ’H-alter.hr’.

Regarding the reaction of Croatian government and PM Kosor towards the verdict of Gotovina and Markac, Brammertz said Zagreb „has missed its opportunity to positively contribute to region’s reconciliation“. Croatian authorities were not satisfied with the sentences, he added, and they say the Hague decisions are politicaly motivated.

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