Statement on the occassion of non-appealable judgment to generals Gotovina and Markač
On the occasion of adopting a non-appealable verdict, brought by the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY, which releases Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač from custody, Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past wants to, once more, emphasize the need to bear in mind families of victims and not let the crimes committed during the operation ‘Storm’ remain a tragedy without an epilogue.
During military action ‘Storm’, hundreds of civilians were killed, thousands of houses and other objects burnt down, while almost half of the refugees are still waiting for their return from the areas they had to leave (according to the UNHCR data, 132.922 persons have returned to Croatia, out of which 48 percent returned for good, while the rest only occasionally visit their former homes). Regardless of the verdict brought by the Appeals Chamber in the case against Gotovina and Markač, families of victims have a moral right to expect that perpetrators are to be held responsible for their tragedies and tragedies of many others, no matter whose side they were on during the war and no matter in whose names the crimes were committed.
According to the information gathered by different international organizations, after Croatian army actions in former sectors West, North and South in the summer of 1995, some 200.000 Croatian citizens of Serbian nationality escaped to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia.
We would like to remind, once again, the Croatian authorities and the public of some known crimes which have never been prosecuted, such as killings of civilians in Golubić, Gošić, Varivode andMokro Polje in the Knin area, attack on the refugees’ convoy between Glina and Dvor and death of a large number of civilians, murders in Komić in the Korenica area, etc. Some of these crimes had been processed, but a court ruling returned the process to its beginning, while a trial for crimes committed in Grubori is taking place in Zagreb.
Once again, we want to stress out that a moment has come for the Croatian judiciary to take over full responsibility for prosecution of the committed war crimes and for the Croatian government to secure reparations to civilian war victims.