Skip to comments.Anti-EU sentiment sweeps Croatia after rebuff
Posted on 03/19/2005 10:40:27 AM PST by Lukasz
ZAGREB (Reuters) - A wave of resentment against the European Union is sweeping Croatia and popular support for a top war crimes fugitive, whose freedom cost Zagreb the start of EU membership talks this week, is evident everywhere.
The 25-nation bloc postponed accession negotiations with Croatia on Wednesday, saying Zagreb had not done enough to find General Ante Gotovina, indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague for the murder of Serb civilians in 1995.
Giant posters of Gotovina -- until recently found only in his native central Adriatic region of Zadar -- have sprung up in dozens of places across the former Yugoslav republic this week.
Police could not say how many Gotovina posters it had torn down in the last two days. Four men were briefly arrested for putting up posters at Zagreb's main square on Thursday.
"The government is not protecting national interests but has launched an unacceptable campaign against Gotovina," charged Anto Djapic, leader of the rightwing Party of Rights.
A survey in Friday's Jutarnji List daily showed 56 percent of Croats opposed Gotovina's handover "whatever the cost". Only 28 percent thought he should be sent to the Hague tribunal.
But if Croats are angry at the EU decision, said EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana, "that means the population of Croatia is not ready to start negotiations with the EU ...
"Because cooperation with ICTY (the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) is a must. I think I cannot be more clear than that," told a news conference in Luxembourg.
ON THE RUN
Gotovina's brother Boro -- who has hinted at having contact with the fugitive -- said police should leave his family alone.
"No one will be able to sleep soundly while someone else's children are crying out for their father," he told Vecernji List daily.
Conservative Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, backed by most opposition parties, remains optimistic the talks could start soon, saying his cabinet will prove it is genuinely looking for Gotovina, but cannot find him.
He plans a new diplomatic offensive in Brussels next week though EU diplomats say he would be better to invest more time and energy in tracking down Gotovina, on the run since the tribunal indicted him in 2001.
They say Croatia never mounted a proper police hunt, but acknowledge it has intensified efforts in the last few weeks.
The tribunal says Gotovina, as commander, was responsible for the murders of 150 Serbs allegedly committed by his troops after Croat forces overran the rebel-held Krajina in a four-day offensive in August 1995.
A Croatian court on Friday ordered an investigation of five former military policemen for the alleged torture of Serb war prisoners in 1992.
It is ludicrist that they would hold up admission based upon the inability to find a person. It would be more logical the oposite that admission might ease ability for the EU to take steps in becoming more active in finding the General.
It is odd considering for every bomb dropped and missile launched, civilians were roughly twice as likely to die in Yugoslavia as they were during the 1991 allied bombing campaign in Iraq. Roughly half of the 500 civilian deaths in Yugoslavia are attributable to such conduct, which violated international humanitarian law.
Where are the NATO warcrimes for negligence?
Not that it makes sense to solve things through violence regardless but it seems that recognized international politics is a police state. Perhaps that is the politics the state is not a large enough police state to be recognized.
At the same time it is funny that posters are being taken down, you would think it would help find the guy!!! It is like a wanted poster on every corner. Put up a reward like OSAMA and whala.
If Osama is required for afghanastans admission to the EU in a couple years it may take a long time to cough up osama.. and if the general is burried then how the hell are they suppose to find him, it is ridiculous.
Ah, yes, the old Trojan Horse technique. I'd certainly feel better about the EU with New Europe leading it instead of the same old entente cordiale of France and Germany.
I hope that the EU is a positive force for Europe. It may yet be. I do admit that I am a fan of the Euro, at least of the ease of travel it affords. I do miss the historical aspect of the old currencies. I am afraid that the EU, in its goal of creating a European Superstate, will attempt to homogenize all of the continent into a gray and dull bloc without regard to centuries of individual histories and experiences.
But I believe that nationalism will always trump internationalism, and don't think that the EU can overcome the centrifugal forces of its member states. We shall see. The EU, in my estimation, will remain a Economic Community and will never make the leap to a political union, at least not under its present model. But I am an outsider. I'm curious as to your take on the EU as a Pole and which role you think it should have in Polish, and indeed Continental, affairs.
The US should set up a common market of its own and include countries like Croatia and Poland.
I think that EU may do many good things for Europe, only if socialist axis will not take over whole power. That is great tool for stability in Europe. Of course everything has bad and good sides, it depends of the position of particular countries.
The message from the EU therefore, is "If you want to play F- around, then we'll play F- around. Now F- off."
Where are the NATO warcrimes for negligence?
Are you sure you support the prosecution of American servicemen on spurious charges, or did you just not think about the implications of your post?
I'm Croatian born and raised. My family members helped start up the HDZ and were VERY active for Croatian independance in all aspects. (HDZ is the Croatian version of the Republican Party, even have US Republican Staffers help on election campaigns) My father is a political refugee. Run or die in prison. I think I'm qualified to answer this question of Croatia and the EU.
General public Croatians do not want to be a part of the EU. Its basically a coalition of "biznismen" former communist crooks, the intelligensia, and the left wing of the country who want the EU. They especially don't want in when they would have to turn in people who helped free the republic from tyranical communist rule such as Gotovina. That is not acceptable to them. Plain and Simple. They will not sell their soul for EU membership. Also a problem is the fact that EU values are not Croatian values. Small example: Gun Laws. In Croatia we learned the hard way that an unarmed populance is ripe for invasion, terrorism, etc. Therefore gun rights are enshrined in Croatian Law (and I think the Croatian Constitution too) the same as in the US which also learned the hard way the benefits of an armed populace 225 years ago. I would love to see someone try to take away a Croats gun.
There are many reasons to oppose EU membership.
Now if only George Bush would actually do something for his coalition of the willing Croatia was a part of we could get somewhere. Payback would be nice. A nice trade agreement o r major blue chip investment which is lacking in Croatia would be nice.
Croatia can either deal with it's war criminals, or watch its economy stagnate.
You'll remember our recent statement regarding our alliances with Nations who's human rights records were wanting, and how we were going to avoid those alliances if possible in future?
The future is now, as far as Croatia is concerned, and we're really not interested in subsidizing holdouts to the EU.
So I'd advise you to straighten out your relations back in the old country as to their choices, and the consequences of those choices - Croatia is no longer our ally of convenience in the region, and we're not cutting the Croats any more slack.
War Criminal is all relative. One persons terrorist is another persons freedom fighter after all. But as America was not just on Croatia's side but in fact helped Croatia enormously with independance and the subsequent Patriotic War I think the Eu charging Gotovina is a slap in the face to America also. Remember this is an EU thing. Where was the EU when Croatia was being overrun? Where was the EU with the war in Bosnia? With they're heads up they're asses. America helped end the war.
As far as I am concerned the EU is an enemy to Croatia. America is our friend and Croatia should ally with the EU and the coalition of the willing.
And you appear to be misinformed as to our continuing support for the work of the ICTY:
In this regard, the United States wishes to emphasize its steadfast resolve that, notwithstanding the deadlines of the agreed Completion Strategies, Karadzic, Mladic, and Gotovina will be tried at the ICTY and Kabuga will be tried at the ICTR.
The ICTY and the ICTR cannot close without the consent of the UN Security Council. The United States intends to ensure the continued operation of the Tribunals for the trials of Karadzic, Mladic, Gotovina and Kabuga.
We urge UN Member States - especially those in the Balkan and Great Lakes regions - to fulfil their obligation to cooperate promptly and fully with the tribunals.
Richard Boucher, 3/26/04
Quit kidding yourself as to some imaginary split between the US and the EU on the subject - it doesn't exist.
Good post...I am Croatian as well.
Croatians are probably the closest to Americans sociologically, and in beliefs and ethics. Face it, America needs a friend in Europe, it should cultivate and help its friends prosper. When its friend is being kicked around like Croatia currently is by the EU it should back up its friend, because you never know when that friend will help you.
America should be more benevolent with nations that are similar to the US Conservatives in beliefs. America can't do everything alone.
As for Serb civilians being killed, well thats war. Especially in the Balkans where they fight especially viciously.
The EU itself probably won't exist much longer. The CIA gives it about a decade, hell even the French public is voting against it. Gotovina is no war criminal either, which is why you'll never see him captured. He also has many friends in the Pentagon and in Langley.
Croatia is the best-kept secret in Europe for tourism. I hope to visit there someday.
If you need any tips, drop me a line.