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Croatian General Faces War Crimes in Local Court; UN Proposes International Hostage Guidelines, Sudan in Material Breach

Croatian General Faces War Crimes in Local Court; UN Proposes International Hostage Guidelines, Sudan in Material BreachBranimir Glavas, an independent parlaimentarian in eastern Croatia, marched to prison in his general's uniform to face war crimes charges at a local court in Osijek, Croatia. He is being detained for ordering the killing of civilians during the 1991 Serbo-Croatia war. The charges allege that Glavas formed a paramilitary unit and operated as a warlord, ordering his units to capture, torture, and kill Serb civilians. It is suspected that Glavas is responsible for 10 bodies found bound, gagged, and dumped in a local river. He is also the subject of a separate investigation in the Croatian capital of Zagreb for other atrocities committed in Osijek.

Glavas is the first senior state official to face war crimes charges stemming from the struggle for Croatian independence from Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1995. This may be indicative of Croatian willingness to face its past behaviors. The mandates of international forums, such as the International Criminal Court, state that these may amend domestic systems if they are lacking the will or the foundations to do so independently. In this case, Croatia is negotiating membership to the European Union and is set to become a NATO member in 2009. Its willingness to prosecute war crimes locally is seen as a part of its membership drive to both systems.

In other news; The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon has highlighted the need to re-examine the issue of hostages and establish a general consensus on international rules to deal with hostage crises. With hostage ordeals seeing increased propaganda usage, such as the BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, The Secretary General stated that “To address the issue of kidnappings, common rules are needed, and the U.N. is the right place to put them forward."

un-sudan-plane.jpgA UN report states that the government of Sudan is in material breach of its international sanctions. According to the report, the Sudanese government is smuggling weapons into Darfur by disguising official planes as UN vehicles and is using government planes to conduct bombing raids. The United States invaded Iraq in part due to its material breach of its international agreements. While the UN is scheduled to begin deploying a large contingent to the region, the political will of the international community faces a dire and significant test in Sudan.

International Herald Tribune has the Croatian story here.

Reuters is highlighting the UN hostage rule.

The New York Times leaked the UN findings on Sudan. Photo Credit: UN Panel of Experts on Sudan.



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors