Thursday, November 8, 2012

European Stability Initative Distorts the Facts about General Gotovina

The European Stability Initiative has recently broadcast a film about General Gotovina entitled, "Twilight of Heroes."  Admittedly, I have not been able to view the entire film because it is not yet available for viewing in the United States.  Nevertheless, I was able to review the nine minute preview clip on YouTube (  I was stunned by the level of factual inaccuracy in this documentary, and viewers should be warned that the factual claims in this film are demonstrably false.

At the outset, the film shows Carla Del Ponte speaking about Operation Storm, which was led by General Gotovina.  Del Ponte claims:  "They thought if you are doing a legitimate war, you must not consider if crimes are committed, war crimes or crimes against humanity.  It is collateral damage.  But that is why the International Tribunal was created.  A war is not the permission for the commission of crimes."

One minute later, the film's voiceover speaker ominously claims, "Prosecutors suspected that murders and intimidations of Serb civilians during Operation Storm were not isolated incidents, but the result of a policy to ethnically cleanse these parts of Croatia of their Serb population. A criminal conspiracy planned and implemented by Croatia’s leaders.

What the filmakers fail to tell the viewer (at least in the preview clip) is that the Trial Chamber in its Judgement rejected Del Ponte's claims that the Croatian leadership "did not consider if crimes were being committed against Serbs, war crimes or crimes against humanity."  Furthermore, the Trial Chamber rejected the Prosecution's claim that Croatia's leaders had planned and implemented a criminal conspiracy to allow murders and intimidations of Serbs in order to pursue a policy of ethnic cleansing.  As I noted in one of my earlier posts, the Trial Chamber found:

“The Trial Chamber finds that the common objective did not amount to, or involve the commission of the crimes of persecution (disappearances, wanton destruction, plunder, murder, inhumane acts, cruel treatment, and unlawful detentions), destruction, plunder, murder, inhumane acts, and cruel treatment.(Judgement, paragraph 2321);

Rather, the evidence includes several examples of meetings and statements (see for example D409, P470, and D1451), indicating that the leadership, including Tudjman, disapproved of the destruction of property. Based on the foregoing, the Trial Chamber does not find that destruction and plunder were within the purpose of the joint criminal enterprise.” (Judgement, paragraph 2313);

In light of the testimony of expert Albiston, the Trial Chamber considers that the insufficient response by the Croatian law enforcement authorities and judiciary can to some extent be explained by the abovementioned obstacles they faced and their need to perform other duties in August and September 1995. In conclusion, while the evidence indicates incidents of purposeful hindrance of certain investigations, the Trial Chamber cannot positively establish that the Croatian authorities had a policy of non-investigation of crimes committed against Krajina Serbs during and following Operation Storm in the Indictment area.”(Judgement, paragraph 2203).

The Trial Chamber thus established that the Croatian leadership (1) did not have a policy to allow crimes like murder and intimidation to be committed against Serbs, and (2) did not have a policy of non-investigation of crimes committed against Serbs.  

Accordingly, two things were very clear to me within the first five minutes of viewing the preview clip:  (1)  Carla Del Ponte continues to mislead the international public about what the ICTY Trial Chamber concluded, and (2)  the producers of this film did not bother to read the Trial Judgement or interview anyone who had actually read the Trial Judgement.

If the filmakers don't have time to read the Trial Judgement before making a film about Gotovina, then I don't have the time to watch their film.

Perhaps in the future the filmakers would be wise to interview the lawyers for the Accused before broadcasting their films.

No comments:

Post a Comment