War crimes accused says he's 'not the man'
ANTE Gotovina, the Croatian general accused of war crimes, pleaded not guilty yesterday to seven counts of murder, persecution and expulsion of Serbs during the critical final months of the Balkan wars.
One by one, Gotovina replied, "Your honour, not guilty," to the list of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the killing of 150 Serbs during fighting to retake the Krajina, the eastern frontier region of Croatia seized by rebel Serbs at the start of the 1991-5 war.
Gotovina, 50, listened intently as Judge Carmel Agius read him his rights. He faces life in prison if convicted.
"He is totally focused on his defence," said Luka Misetic, Gotovina's lawyer.
Mr Misetic said Gotovina had told him that since he was charged in 2001 he has been "trying to overturn an unjust indictment".
He said Gotovina told him: "I am not the man described in each and every count."
Gotovina, a former general, was accused of giving his troops unrestrained freedom to plunder villages when they retook the Krajina, which Croatia's Serbian minority had proclaimed an independent state.
Gotovina was third on the tribunal's most wanted list, preceded only by Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, and Ratko Mladic, his top commander, who are both accused of genocide and both still on the run.
A tribunal spokesman said that no timetable was set for the beginning of the trial.
Serbia yesterday convicted 14 former Serb militia members of the massacre of 200 Croatian prisoners of war, many of them already wounded, during the battle of Vukovar in November 1991.
A special Belgrade court found them guilty of carrying out the executions on a pig farm at the end of the three-month siege of Croatia's eastern-most town by local Serb rebels backed by Yugoslav army troops, tanks and artillery.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East