(E) Gen. Janko Bobetko
Gen. Janko Bobetko
People treat you the way you treat yourself. Other nations willtreat us the way we treat our own people. Our war was freedom driven andsuccessful. There are not too many questions that should be asked. Even more,mercy was our strength. Imagine if our soldiers did what they really felt freeingKrajina. Oppression breeds hate. We passed this test with flying colors aftercenturies of terror against us. When someone raise a hand against you they losealmost all rights. We want war reparations from Serbia and a special status forour Croatian minority in Vojvodina, Kosovo and Montenegro ! We won the war.We ask questions ! Period.
Editor in chief, CROWN
Prime minister: Croatia will not extradite wartime army chief to the U.N. court
Mon Sep 23, 1:40 PM ET
By EUGENE BRCIC, Associated Press Writer
ZAGREB, Croatia - Croatia's prime minister said Monday his government will not extradite a wartime army chief to the U.N. war crimes tribunal, even at the risk of international sanctions.
Prime Minister Ivica Racan told reporters that his Cabinet concluded "we cannot act upon the arrest warrant" for Gen. Janko Bobetko, which was officially delivered to the government earlier in the day by the court in The Hague ( news - web sites), Netherlands.
"We will not budge from this position and we will pursue all means at our disposal legal, political and diplomatic" to oppose the indictment, Racan said. The indictment charges Bobetko, 83, with commanding a 1993 operation in which at least 100 Serbs were killed.
Racan said the government would officially respond to the tribunal later this week.
Racan's remarks reflect a shift in his pro-Western government's dealings with the court and the foreign governments that support it. Up to now, Croatia has said it was committed to full cooperation.
But the indictment against Bobetko, the leading figure of Croatia's 1991 war for independence and the highest-ranking Croat to be accused of war crimes, has caused an uproar in this country of 4.5 million, where Croat fighters are widely regarded as national heroes.
War here erupted in 1991, when the country's Serbs, backed by the Yugoslav army, took up arms to rebel against Croatia's secession from former Yugoslavia. The rebels then seized a third of the country, territory that Zagreb recaptured four years later.
Bobetko is charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.
Tribunal prosecutors claim that Bobetko knew his troops were killing Serbs and devastating their villages in a Serb-dominated area known as the Medak pocket, and failed to prevent or punish the crimes.
"Our fight was just and legitimate," Raccan said, adding: "No one has a right to incriminate our struggle for independence, not even The Hague tribunal."