The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia today handed down its judgment in the case against Ante Gotovina, Ivan Čermak and Mladen Markač. General Gotovina and Mr Markač were both found guilty on 8 counts of crimes committed against the Serb population of the Krajina region in Croatia in 1995, while Mr Čermak was acquitted of all charges. General Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment and Mr Markač was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice and the Transnational Nonviolent Radical Party (TRP) welcome today’s decision as a reminder that the laws of war apply equally to everyone during armed conflict, irrespective of the side to which they belong. War crimes, particularly the targeting of civilians, can never be justified by the conduct of any side to an armed conflict, nor by whether a war is considered just or unjust. Today’s conviction also underscores individual responsibility of commanders for actions undertaken by their subordinates.

“The ICTY Chamber found that the crimes against Serb civilians took place in the context of many years of tensions between Serbs and Croats in the Krajina region, where previously a number of crimes had been committed against the Croats. Today’s decision highlights that this is no justification for the actions of Croatian forces in violation of the laws of war.

“The crimes committed by Croatian forces in the Krajina region, including in Operation Storm, were a stain on Croatia’s efforts to obtain independence, which can only be removed by establishing truth and securing justice. The victims of these crimes deserve no less than that.

“NPWJ and the TRP call on the Croatian State and citizens to take this opportunity to affirm their commitment to the rule of law and accountability and recognise once and for all that impunity for war crimes has no place in the path to the future. We continue to urge Croatia to close its accounts with the past and to help remove remaining obstacles in Croatia’s EU accession talks will conclude the final phase of the path to making Croatia the 28th member of the European Union by 2012.”

For further information, contact Alison Smith on or +32-486-986 235 or Nicola Giovannini on or +32-2-548-39 15.