NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CROATIAN AMERICANS
1329 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
PHONE: (202) 331-2830 NFCAhdq@aol.com FAX: (202) 331-0050
For Immediate Release: October 12, 2002
Media Contact: Joe Foley (tel: 301-294-0937)
NFCA CRITICAL OF AMERICAN REACTION TO CROATIA’S RESPONSE TO INDICTMENT AGAINST GENERAL BOBETKO
(Washington, D.C.). The National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA) released a letter
today addressed to the United States State Department and copied to members of the US House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee and the US Senate’s Foreign Relations
Committee concerning the United States’ response to the position take by Croatia with respect tothe indictment against General Bobetko brought by the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
In the letter, NFCA President John Kraljic stated that the NFCA "fully supports the stance taken
by the Croatian government and that taken by General Bobetko" with respect to the indictment.
Mr. Kraljic noted that while the indictment concerning General Bobetko charges him with
responsibility for the deaths of up to 100 Serb civilians, "no high-level Yugoslav Army officer has
ever been indicted for any of the military actions taken by Serb and Yugoslav Army forces in
Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for command responsibility where over 200,000 Croats and
Bosniaks were killed."
Mr. Kraljic described United States Ambassador Lawrence Rossin’s public call for Croatia to
fulfill all of its obligations with respect to the ICTY to be inappropriate with respect to General
Bobetko and that it reflected "a fetishism for the letter of the law rather than its spirit."
Mr. Kraljic contrasted this public pressure on Croatia to the lack of pressure placed on Serbia
which was actually forgiven two-thirds of its debt by the United States last week. Serbia, Mr.
Kraljic pointed out, harbors a "half-dozen major Serbian war criminals, whose personal role in
the commission of genocide and war crimes is not in question." Mr. Kraljic quoted a statement
made by the ICTY’s Chief Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, at the commencement of the Croatia
portion of the trial against Slobodan Milosevic where she described Yugoslavia’s cooperation
with the ICTY as "fractious, difficult and unpredictable" and had charged Yugoslavia with
preventing the appearances by prosecution witnesses and denying access to archives despite
"holding the key to irreplaceable elements of evidence."
The letter stated that the "NFCA believes that in light of this recent response by the United States
to Yugoslavia, the United States cannot in good conscience make demands on Croatia to follow
the dictates of international bureaucrats." The letter also enclosed an excellent article recently
written by Mr. Miles Raguz for the European edition of the Wall Street Journal concerning the
unseemly public pressure being brought upon Croatia.
The letter closed by asking the State Department to undertake "a strenuous evaluation of the work
of the ICTY to determine whether it has achieved any substantial goals in its work to bring justice
to bear against those most responsible for the wars in the former Yugoslavia" and further
requested that "the United States sympathetically take into consideration Croatia’s position and
those of the Croatian people in the question of the indictment of General Bobetko."
The NFCA is a Washington, D.C.-based national umbrella organization that represents over 20
Croatian American groups and 130,000 members.