News of Gotovina’s arrest has been welcomed by the Croatian government which cooperated with UN authorities in the search.
The present-day administration is keen to demonstrate that Croatia has broken from the past and is on the road to EU membership.
In Zagreb, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said the arrest confirmed what he called the “credibility of Croatia and its institutions”.
That view was echoed at a conference of Balkans’ nations in Brussels.
The summit raised the question of which conditions need to be fulfilled by countries from the region wishing to join the the EU.
The bloc’s enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, reiterated Brussels’ view on the issue of fugitive war crimes suspects:
“I trust that this will urge the authorities in other countries of the region, especially Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzogovina, to do the utmost to achieve full cooperation with the ICTY in order to locate, arrest and transfer the rest of the indictees, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic,” he said.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic remain at the top of the UN’s most-wanted list in the Balkans.
War crimes prosecutors have criticised current Bosnian Serb authorities for not cooperating in the search for the two men who were indicted by the tribunal in 1995. In recent months there has been speculation in the media that an arrest could be imminent.