The chief prosecutor at the top UN criminal tribunal is angry with the Vatican for allegedly hiding a leading Croatian warcrimes suspect. Carla Ponte, herself a Catholic, has accused the Vatican of sheltering Ante Gotovina in a monastery despite her frequent appeals for him to be handed over. Gotovina, a former Croatian general, is wanted for atrocities against Croatian Serbs by his troops in 1995.
He is being hidden in one of 80 Catholic monasteries in Croatia, and the Vatican could track him down “in a few days,” she said. Court spokeswoman Florence Hartmann said: “We need to have their assistance, to have this cooperation to know more about where he was in the past, where he is currently, where he could be in the future, in order for the competent authorities to arrest him.” Gotovina has been indicted on eight charges including murder for crimes allegedly committed during Croatia’s 1995 offensive to recover lands seized four years earlier by rebel Serbs. He is one of seven Croatian fugitives sought by the court in the Hague. The EU has put membership talks with Croatia on hold until it hands Gotovina over to the court.