Courting controversy: The ICTY's acquittal of croatian generals Gotovina and Markač

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17 Citations (Scopus)


In April 2011, a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) convicted two Croatian generals, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač, for crimes committed during 'Storm', a Croatian military operation launched in August 1995 to crush the Republic of Serbian Krajina. The defendants were sentenced to prison terms of 24 and 18 years, respectively. On 16 November 2012, however, the ICTYAppeals Chamber, by a majority of three to two, acquitted both defendants. This article offers a critique of the Appeal Judgement and seeks to demonstrate that it is both internally and externally problematic. It contends that, internally, the Appeal Judgement is deeply flawed because it places a disproportionate emphasis on the so-called '200 metre margin of error', it deals with the totality of evidence in a highly cursory way, and it fails to correct the error of law that it identifies with respect to the 200 metre margin of error, thus effectively leaving the judgement incomplete. Externally, it is submitted that the verdict will simply help to entrench Croat denial apropos of Operation Storm and Serb feelings of injustice, thus undermining the frequently-made claim that the ICTY's work is aiding reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-423
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of International Criminal Justice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science


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