Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Operation Storm tapes, Bratunac protest

By IWPR reporters in The Hague (TU No 499, 27-Apr-07)
By IWPR
Croatian Television this week broadcast excerpts of an audio recording of a meeting of Croatia's civil and military leadership held on the island of Brijuni on July 31, 1995, just four days before Operation Storm began.



The Hague tribunal prosecutors used some of the statements in the recording as a key element of the indictment against Croatian army generals Ante Gotovina, Ivan Cermak and Mladen Markac, who have been charged with crimes committed against Serbs during 1995 Operation Storm.



The prosecutors claim these statements are evidence that the state leadership planned the expulsion of the Serb population from Croatia.



However, excerpts broadcast on Croatian Television suggest that when late president Franjo Tudjman talked about these plans, he actually referred to Serb armed forces, not civilians.



The excerpts of the audio recording of the Brijuni meeting, held four days before Operation Storm, include statements by Croatia’s president Franjo Tudjman, generals Gotovina and Markac, Admiral Davor Domazet, and the then defence minister Gojko Susak.



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Several thousand Bosnian Serbs gathered in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac near Srebrenica on April 24, to protest against the reburial of 100 Muslims killed at the beginning of the Bosnian war.



The reburial is scheduled for May 12, and should take place at the mosque cemetery in the centre of Bratunac. Serb protesters said this location is not adequate and demanded a new one.



However, organisers of the funeral say it will take place, despite the protests.



About 600 Muslims from Bratunac were killed during the war, but remains of only 100 have been identified so far.