Ante Gotovina

From Academic Kids

General Ante Gotovina in his army uniform
General Ante Gotovina in his army uniform

Ante Gotovina (born October 12, 1955) is a Croatian professional soldier and currently a renegade general.

Gotovina was born on the island of Pašman near Zadar. He was a member of the French Foreign Legion beginning in the early 1970s. When the war in Croatia began in 1991, he became a commander in the Croatian Army. He advanced from brigadier in 1992 to major general in 1994. He was the commanding officer of the Split military district between 1992 and 1996; including the 1995 Operation Storm. In 1996 he became the Chief of the Croatian Army Inspectorate, but was dismissed from the active service in 2000.

Gotovina was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2001 for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war that the court claims troops under his command committed over the Serbs in the self-proclaimed Krajina region during and after Operation Storm (during which the Serb-occupied territories of Croatia were restored). Gotovina, however, fled and remains at large, reportedly out of reach of both Croatian authorities and the Interpol.

Amongst the Croatian population General Gotovina is mostly seen as a meritorious, even heroic character of the war, due to his contribution towards a free Croatian republic. Many people in Croatia therefore do not deem the indictments of the International Criminal Tribunal appropriate.

The United Kingdom, the Netherlands and some Scandinavian states currently oppose Croatian ambitions to join the European Union if the Croatian Government does not fully cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal. The Croatian government has declared that it does not know the current location of Gotovina and that the authorities are doing their utmost to find the General and to extradite him to the Tribunal. Accession negotiations with the EU, scheduled to start on March 17, 2005, were postponed because Gotovina was not located.

Rumours abound as to his present whereabouts with some suggesting he is hiding out in Ireland. Recently President Stjepan Mesić suggested he may be in Patagonia.

In February 2005 the Croatian daily Jutarnji list published facsimiles of several French court records saying that Gotovina was convicted of a 1981 robbery and that he served five years in prison between 1986 and 1991. There is some discussion as to whether, as a former member of the French Foreign Legion, Gotovina was during this time in the employ of Franois Mitterrand's extra-legal secret service. Another document stated that in 1993 he was convicted to two years in prison due to participation in an unlawful arrest, kidnapping and extortion, and another yet said that he was sentenced to 30 months for extortion in 1995. Gotovina's attorneys denied these allegations saying that the documents are falsified because he was given a French passport in 1995 and had it renewed in 2001, something the French authorities would never have done had he actually been a convicted criminal on the run.

External links

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