Saturday

29th Apr 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.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU

Beijing special envoy on the Syrian conflict said in Brussels that "imposing" a solution from the outside would "not be workable" and that the peace process will not be "smooth sailing".

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Mob storms Macedonian parliament

A nationalist mob violently stormed parliament in Macedonia on Thursday, amid EU concern on police conduct during the attack.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process