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Croatia

Yearbook 2001

Croatia. The question of how K. should deal with allegations of Croatian war crimes during the 1991-95 civil war caused deep division during the year and threatened stability in the country. Nationalists and war veterans felt that no Croats were guilty of war crimes, as they fought a war of freedom and defended the homeland. That attitude was also officially supported by former President Franjo Tudjman. But in February, a court in Rijeka issued a warrant for General Mirko Norać, who was suspected of assaulting civilian Serbs. He was the highest ranking person so far identified for war crimes during the war. Norać went underground and 100,000 people demonstrated in Split against the attempts to arrest him.

2001 Croatia

According to Countryaah, President Stipe Mesić warned that ultranationalists were trying to overthrow the government. After a week Norać surrendered to the authorities against the promise that the trial would be held in K. and not at the UN Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. The tribunal also stated that there was no prosecution against him. The trial began in June but was soon upgraded indefinitely due to technicalities.

In July, however, the government decided to extradite two other Croatian generals to The Hague at the tribunal's request. The decision caused a split in the government coalition, and four ministers resigned in protest. They all belonged to the coalition's second largest party, the Social Liberal HSLS. One of the two generals surrendered himself to the UN Court but denied all charges. The other general had disappeared.

Several suspected war criminals were later arrested, and protests against the reform-friendly government continued. Prime Minister Ivica Račan was accused by the right-wing opposition of treason for his cooperation with the Hague Tribunal.

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