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Gotovina Seeks House Arrest Pending Trial

Croatian government offers guarantees the general will return to face trial.
By Merdijana Sadović
Lawyers representing Croatian general Ante Gotovina have asked judges to allow their client to await trial under house arrest in Croatia.

Ante Gotovina’s defence counsel Luka Misetic told Croatian television last week that the defence team had requested house arrest for Gotovina because he had not surrendered to the United Nations court voluntarily and had been on the run for years - an aggravating circumstance which called for additional guarantees.

Gotovina is indicted for war crimes committed against Serb civilians during the Croatian forces’ Operation Storm offensive of 1995. He was arrested in December 2005 in the Canary Islands after being on the run for four years, and has been in the Hague detention unit ever since.

A submission filed by his lawyers on August 8 was supported by a guarantee given by the Croatian government and signed by Prime Minister Ivo Sanader that Gotovina would return in time for his trial and would not pose a danger to anyone.

Defence lawyer Luka Misetic added that the general would wear an electronic tag at all times, which would enable the police to track his whereabouts and would immediately alert them to any violation of the terms of his house arrest.

Gotovina’s co-accused, generals Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac, are already awaiting trial at home, under certain restrictions.

A response to this request is expected in early September.

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