Sunday

1st May 2016

Vatican accused of hiding Croat war crimes suspect

  • Carle del Ponte argues the Vatican could help to pinpoint in which Catholic monastery the fugitive general is hiding (Photo: European Commission)

The UN's chief prosecutor in The Hague has suggested Croat war crimes suspect general Ante Gotovina is hiding in one of the country's monasteries.

She argues the Vatican could pinpoint his exact location within a few days, but has failed to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Speaking in an interview with the UK's Daily Telegraph on Monday (19 September), Carla del Ponte indicated she had decided to come public with the information, after being "extremely disappointed" over the reluctance by the Roman Catholic Church to deal with the issue.

Mrs del Ponte said she had appealed to several top Vatican authorities, including the pope Benedict XVI, in a bid for greater cooperation, but has failed to receive any.

"I have information he (general Gotovina) is hiding in a Franciscan monastery and so the Catholic Church is protecting him. I have taken this up with the Vatican and the Vatican refuses totally to co-operate with us", she said in the interview.

The Vatican argues it has no international obligations towards the tribunal.

Mrs del Ponte has been pressing Zagreb for months on information on the whereabouts of the fugitive general.

Cooperation with the international court in The Hague, which is dealing with individuals accused of war crimes in ex-Yugoslavia, is one of the conditions for the EU opening membership talks with Zagreb.

Originally supposed to start in March, they were postponed after member states decided the Croatian authorities had not cooperated enough.

Zagreb has now promised the prosecutor to raid any monastery sheltering the general, but the Vatican is refusing to help find out which one it is.

"They said they have no intelligence and I don't believe that. I think that the Catholic Church has the most advanced intelligence services", she argued.

General Gotovina (49) is accused of being responsible for the killing of at least 150 Serb civilians and of being in charge of forced deportation of between 150,000 and 200,000 people in 1995.

He is still considered a national hero by many Croats, as the operation led to the re-establishment of Croatian control over the country's Krajina region.

News in Brief

  1. Netherlands funds €1.3mn Russian media project
  2. Fake euros network dismantled in Bulgaria
  3. Inflation negative in eurozone in April
  4. EU economy registers 0.5% growth in first quarter
  5. Eurovision says No to Kosovo, Palestine, IS flags
  6. EU to decide on future of tobacco agreement 'soon'
  7. Russia blames Sweden for frosty relations
  8. UN chief warns of 'growing xenophobia' in Europe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsDigitising European Industry
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  3. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  4. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  5. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  6. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  7. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at The Event: Prospects For EU Enlargement After 2019
  9. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs
  10. Counter BalanceHighway to Hell: European Money Fuelling Controversial Infrastructure Projects
  11. EPSUResponds To Reported €300 Million McDonald’s Tax Bill in France
  12. Access NowAcademics and Privacy Groups Ask Obama to Reject Anti-encryption Law

Latest News

  1. EU roaming charge cut enters UK referendum campaign
  2. EU fiscal rules, migrants and Belgium's trick
  3. EU should call out Bangladesh on workers' rights
  4. Kosovo: Living in a ghetto on the EU fringe
  5. War crimes law poisons Serbia accession talks
  6. Italy and Austria try to calm tensions on Alpine pass
  7. French MPs call to lift Russia sanctions
  8. EU sides with embattled Greek PM in bailout talks