Thursday, December 08, 2005

Gotovina Arrested

It was on Playa de las Americas on Teneriffa in Spain that Ante Gotovina was finally arrested. Indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal for his role in the Operation Storm against the UN Protected Areas in Croatia in August 1995, he has been on the run during the last few years.

With Ante Gotovina eventually transferred to the UN detention facility in Schveningen outside of Den Haag in the Netherlands, the cloud that has been hanging over the Croatian process of accession to the European Union can finally disappear.

That's good news for Croatia - and for the entire region.

I was in Brussels participating in the "Balkan Summit" of Friends of Europe when the news broke. First it was just a rumour, then it was confirmed and then the details started coming.

Serb President Boris Tadic was quick to congratulate Croatia on the arrest, but he was also clear that this means that there will now be increased pressure on his country to really secure the arrest of primarily Radko Mladic but also Radovan Karadsic.

It remains to be seen when ICTY will be ready to start the trial of Ante Gotovina. It will probably take some time for the defence to prepare itself. But there is no doubt that it will be one of the most important and controversial trials of the entire history of this UN war crimes tribunal. Europe