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First American ambassador to Croatia says verdicts do not bring into question legitimacy of Operation Storm

Croatian Times

First American ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith said that the guilty verdict delivered in The Hague for generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac does not bring into question the legitimacy of Operation Storm that reclaimed parts of Serb-occupied Croatia.

"I think Croatians have to keep in mind that they made an unprecedented move in international relations. They sent the generals to court after a war in which they won. That only shows how much Croatia has changed since the time of [first Croatian president Franjo] Tudjman, developing into a modern democratic state where the rule of law exists," Galbraith told Croatian Radio Television.

He said that there was no ethnic cleansing during Operation Storm (1995) because the army did not forcibly remove anyone. The population, Galbrith said, fled on its own. He added that he was certain that people left the territories even before the arrival of the Croatian army.

Galbraith commented that the prosecution relied on the transcripts from a meeting in Brijuni, intending to show that there was an intention to permanently remove Serbs from parts of Croatia (Krajina). The meeting was held between Tudjman and various associates, and included Gotovina and Markac.

He said that he himself had warned Tudjman to protect the civilians, but the former President turned a deaf ear, the daily 24 Sata writes.

Write your comment to this article here

  • Hilda M.Foley wrote on 22. 04. 2011 from California, USA

    Mr.Galbraith's opinion that sending Croatian generals to the ICTY shows a modern, democratic state is nonsense. big democracies like the US and England do not send their generals on trial - and especially not as in the case of Croatia, for defending and liberating its own country.


  • Damir wrote on 20. 04. 2011 from Sydney

    What kind of fool compares an armies liberation of it's sovereign territory with the civil rights struggle in the "deep south" Lets make a more appropriate comparison shall we. The indictment was for "command responsibility" for not preventing the killing of approx 150 victims in Gotovina's Sector South. The indictment never accuses him of ordering the killings. lol @ Milena. I love Serb mythology. You do realise that this operation was one of the most well reported and televised in militairy history. The footage of the civilian convoy and the town of Knin is there for everyone to see. Far less than 1% of buildings were damaged during the Croatian offensive. Compare this to Vukovar where almost 100% of the buildings were damaged. Not only did the Croat army not engage Serb civilians, both Sipetic and Gotovina brokered agreeements with the Serb corps to allow them to evacuate upon surrendering their weapons. The Knin hospital was untouched. Vukovar hospitals patients were executed. Food for thought.


    • Bill wrote on 21. 04. 2011 from Oregon

      It was not a comment on the civil rights movement nor on the war. It was a comment on the cynical and self-serving statement of Galbraith, bought and paid for by the Croatian government. He lives in Dubrovnik, for pete's sake. He lacks credibility at the very least. Maybe you had to have lived through the civil rights era to appreciate the story. And I was only in Eastern Slavonia for 3 1/2 years, so I am not the best judge of what happened. But I do know Galbraith is a tool.


    • Bill wrote on 21. 04. 2011 from Oregon

      The comment was not about the civil rights era or the Deep South per se, nor was it about the war in general. It was an allegorical reference to Galbraith's self-serving and cynical revisionist version of history. What Galbraith said was like what the allegorical sheriff said about suicide. I am not an expert on the war, as I only spent 3 1/2 years in Vukovar. But I do recognize a lying politician when I see one.


  • Milena wrote on 19. 04. 2011 from Canada

    Sais who? Did he ever talked to any of 250 000 refugies who were bombed all the way from Krajina via Bosnia to Serbian border. He knows very well that serbian homes are destroyed. As American and French ex-generals were main planners of this military action, they need to be at the same tribunal and should share same punishement. Further on, when this gentlemen talks about Croatian governement responsibility to defend its teritory within its borders, why Serbia was not allowed the same in case of Kosovo? Why Albanian exodus from Kosovo is ethnic clensing but Serbian exodus from Croatia is not?


  • Bill wrote on 19. 04. 2011 from Oregon

    This reminds me of the old story in the Deep South when racism was so rampant in the '60s. The redneck sheriff recovers a black man's body from a swamp. The body has 20 bullet holes, 12 stab wounds, and is wrapped in heavy logging chain. The sheriff pronounces, "Darndest case of suicide that I ever did see."


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