Friday

23rd Jun 2017

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.

Turn-in of war crimes suspect not a condition for Zagreb EU bid

Carla del Ponte has admitted she is not expecting the actual transfer of top fugitive indictee Ante Gotovina to The Hague as a precondition for a positive report on Croatia, needed to trigger the country’s EU talks. In an interview with the EUobserver, the UN chief prosecutor also said she is "confident" the Croat authorities will make a move on the Gotovina case in the coming weeks.

EU steps up global counter-terrorism drive

EU foreign ministers vowed to increase the number of projects and financial support in different parts of the world ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, where leaders will focus on security and defence.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal
  2. US issues warrant for VW managers, German media say
  3. EU extends sanctions against Russia
  4. Merkel denies Franco-German deal on EU agencies
  5. Dutch PM: Turkey is upholding migration deal
  6. Britain to outline rights of UK-based EU citizens
  7. Tusk can 'imagine' the UK still remaining in EU
  8. Norway offers more blocks for Arctic oil exploration

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  2. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  3. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  4. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  5. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  6. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  7. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  8. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  11. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  12. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June

Latest News

  1. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  2. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  3. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit
  4. EU pressures firms to tackle online terrorism
  5. Lack of eligible candidates dogs EU relocation scheme
  6. Border management going virtual
  7. Tusk hints UK could stay in EU, if it wanted
  8. Merkel, Orban and the not quite closed Balkan route