Croatian general refuses to go Hague Tribunal

Luka Masetic, lawyer for Croatian army general Ante Gotovina, has announced in Belgrade that his client will never give himself up to the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The lawyer was commenting on a statement made by American representative for war crimes Pierre-Richard Prosper to the effect that Croatia was obliged to hand over the general Janko Bobetko and Ante Gotovina to the Hague Tribunal. Masetic said that it was hypocritical for America to call on other states to hand over suspects to the international Tribunal when it adamantly refused to allow its citizens to stand trial in an international court.

General ante Gotovina, who is accused by the Hague Tribunal of committing crimes during the army and police operation "Danger" in 1995, has been a fugitive for two years. Many observers have suggested that the Croatian authorities allowed him to escape through their lack of action after the Tribunal brought charges against him. Some recent media reports have stated that the accused general is currently in western Herzegovina.

Croatia has so far only handed over one suspect, General Rahim Ademi, to The Hague. He stands accused of war crimes against the Serbs during an operation in 1993. The same accusations have been made against General Janko Bobetko, but he has not been formally charged as he is in hospital. The country's Prime Minister has promised the retired general that he will not be formally charged until he has undergone his full course of treatment and is discharged.

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