Friday, November 16, 2012

Hague Tribunal acquits two Croat generals

THE HAGUE -- Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač have been acquitted on almost all counts of the indictment for crimes against Serbs by the Hague Tribunal.
Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač (Beta/AP)
Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač (Beta/AP)
The court has proposed that the two generals be released immediately.
The Hague Tribunal delivered the final verdict at 9:00 on Friday.

After having read the initial verdict, the defendants’ appeal and Appeals Chamber’s conclusions, presiding Judge Theodor Meron said that the defendants had been acquitted on almost all counts of the indictment.

The Appeals Chamber found Gotovina and Markač not guilty of persecution, deportations, killings, crimes against humanity, pillage, violation of the laws and customs of war during and after the Croat military Operation Storm in August 1995.

They were only found guilty on the third count of the indictment – that Gotovina was aware of the crimes and that he should have investigated the incidents, which he failed to do, according to the court.

The Appeals Chamber upheld the court’s initial ruling that Markač had created an atmosphere of impunity by failing to investigate the crimes committed by the special police units and therefore incited them to commit crimes.

This is the final verdict of the Hague Tribunal in the case against the two Croat generals.

Gotovina and Markač were originally found guilty of expulsion, deportations, inhumane treatment, killings, pillage of public and private property and wanton destruction of Serb towns and villages during and after the Operation Storm in the summer of 1995. Gotovina was sentenced to 24 and Markač to 18 years in prison on April 15, 2011.

General Ivan Čermak was acquitted and the prosecution did not file an appeal.

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