San Pedro Croatians "shocked" by United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) verdict which found Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač guilty of war crimes, sentencing them to 24 and 18 years in prison respectively. A third general, Ivan Čermak, was acquitted of all charges and immediately released. In addition, the judge, Alphose Orie, declared that Operation Storm (Operacija Oluja) was a criminal act developed by a “joint criminal venture” that included former Croatian President Franjo Tuđman, former chief of staff Janko Bobetko and former Minister of Defense Gojko Šušak, all now deceased. In a symbolic gesture, the entire Croatian nation was found guilty of defending itself against Serbian aggression during the Homeland War (Domovinski Rat).
The sentiment around the Croatian community in North America and especially in San Pedro is one of shock, bewilderment, betrayal and resentment for the sentencing of Croatian generals in the Hague. Most of the community feels that this decision was clearly a political move that completely dismissed and ignored two and a half years of the generals’ defense.
San Pedro native, Jack Baric, a Croatian-American produced and directed the definitive documentary of General Gotovina's role in the Homeland War called Searching for a Storm. He gives his reaction in a video interview with SanPedroNewsPilot.com