Monday, March 03, 2003

Croatia's Most Wanted

According to Jutarnji List, Croatian government mulls putting the financial reward for any information leading to arrest of Ante Gotovina, Croatian Army general indicted by War Crimes Tribunal in Hague.

It is too early to tell whether this initiative would produce any results. Croatian police, at least according to ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte, did very little or nothing to apprehend Gotovina, showing the same zeal as their Serbian colleagues who hunt Ratko Mladić (Ratko Mladic).

What is certain about this bounty is Gotovina becoming even more mythical figure than he currently is. Fugitive general already enjoys the status of folk hero among large segments of Croatian population, and the song dedicated to him was one of last year's biggest hits. For Croatian right-wing opposition his plight is symbol of everything that is wrong with current Croatian government – "Serb-loving Yugo-Communists who are betraying national honour by selling Croatian heroes down the river". Needless to say, most of Croatian war veterans are subscribed to those views, at least those who still hold important positions in Croatian military, police and intelligence services and who are able to make Gotovina's arrest very difficult.

If financial reward is indeed contemplated, it must be quite hefty, because anyone who betrays Gotovina risks infamy that would last even longer than fugitive's fame.


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