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ICTY refers Two Generals to Croatia for War Crimes Charges

ICTY refers Two Generals to Croatia for War Crimes ChargesThe Hague tribunal for war crimes in Yugoslavia has turned two cases over to Croatian courts. Mirko Norac and Rahim Adema have been charged with commanding their forces to kill civilians and pillage villages during a UN brokered withdraw from southern Croatia in 1993. Norac, a former general in the Croatian army, is currently serving a 12-year sentence for a separate war crimes conviction. Adema, also a general in the Croatian army, surrendered to the Hague tribunal and is under house arrest.

The Norac/Adema case involves atrocities alleged to have occurred during Operation MEDAK POCKET. Canadian forces from the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and Croatian infantry engaged in gun battles over the Serb controlled Medak Pocket, a sector adjacent to UN Protected Areas in south-central Croatia. UN forces had recaptured the area after nearly a weeklong battle with the Croatians. As UN forces began to verify the withdraw of the Croatian forces to their original positions, they found evidence of murder and ethnic cleansing. According to a Canadian study, "each and every building in the Medak Pocket had been leveled to the ground." Investigators from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found that nearly 30 Serbian civilians were killed by Croatian forces under Norac's and Adema's command, including woman and the elderly. Five Serbian POW's were also allegedly killed during the Croatian retreat.

The case was initially under the jurisdiction of the ICTY, however, it has been referred to Croatian courts. It is the first case to be handed over by The Hague to the Croatians. The case is seen largely as a test case as Croatia continues its bid to join the European Union by 2010. It is expected to begin in June.

Earlier this month, Branimir Glavas, a high ranking parliamentarian, was indicted for war crimes by Croatian courts.


Norac indictment at ICTY; Ademi indictment at ICTY.

The Canadian study referenced is the hyper link to Operation MEDAK POCKET.



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