2005-12-08

This just in: Gotovina arrested

B92 reports that he was arrested in the Canary Islands. Index is following the story as well. Also some obscure British outfit. Keep track of new reports from Google news. This just after I had a nice exchange on the topic with the talented young historian Vjeran Pavlaković, who presented his research on the case at the Woody Wilson Center earlier this week.

Update with a question: How long was Mr Gotovina in Spain? Here is what the news site cope.es says:
"El ex general croata se había registrado bajo la identidad falsa de Kristian Horua, pero ese nombre ya era manerado por la INTERPOL como una de las identidades susceptibles de ser utilizadas por el fugitivo. Junto a él también se registró en este hotel de cuatro estrellas un amigo suyo, cuya identidad también estaba ya en poder de la policía. Estos datos, conocidos por la COPE, llevan a los investigadores a la conclusión de que es probable de que Gotovina no haya permanecido más tiempo en las islas Canarias.
So Spanish police do not think that he was in the Canary Islands for more than five days. We do not know where he was before that, but may find out (thanks, András). This news item also gives a pseudonym different from the one that is riduculed in the comments to the post, don't know whether "Horua" or "Horvat" (shouldn't that be "Horváth"?) was actually used.

15 comments:

La Lara said...

And around Serbia people are telling: Lucky Croats

Eric Gordy said...

What's lucky for Croatia: it demonstrates that they were not lying when they said that he was not in Croatia, which casts into doubt the history of public statements from the ICTY prosecutors claiming to know where fugitives are. Mr Sanader has been happy to point this out already, of course.

What is unlucky for Serbia: now there is no longer a partner in the fugitive business.

What remains to be seen: either this is going to lift a large part of the EU pressure on Croatia, or else pressure will continue on some other issue.

Those are just a couple of first thoughts.

András said...

It seems Gotovina was only doing what many people in Europe do this time of the year - enjoying a brief holiday in the sun. According to Spanish news reports, Gotovina was arrested at a resort hotel on the island of Tenerife ( www.teneriferesorts.com/Hotel-Bitacora.htm ), where he had arrived only a few days ago, traveling on a falsified Croatian passport. His arrest in Spain in December says nothing about where he spent the summer -- I hear the Dalmatian coast is nice that time of the year.

Eric Gordy said...

Quite true, we still do not know where he was before he got to Tenerife. Maybe this will come out fairly soon.

Ah, summer on the Dalmatian coast ...

András said...

And don't you wonder who the Canary was who tipped off the Spanish cops? Given the way Del Ponte thanked the Croatian authorities for their assistance, I wouldn't be surprised if the tip-off came from somewhere close to home.

There may not have been the political will in Zagreb to actually arrest Gotovina, but the political stakes involved are substantial (next week is when Del Ponte and ICTY President Judge Pocar report to the UN Security Council on who is cooperating and who is not), so why not discreetly pass the word in the right quarters and let the Spanish police in the Canary Islands, on the far side of the EU from Croatia, do the dirty work?

Eric Gordy said...

Interesting hypothesis, another possible one might involve some information coming from another person whose beach resort vacation turned out to be shorter than planned, Hrvoje Petrac.

T K Vogel said...

These guys are so damn literal... Here's bit from the London Times:

"The war crimes suspect was carrying a false Croatian passport under the name of Kristian Horvat - Christian Croat."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1916238,00.html

Eric Gordy said...

It's a shame that the miniker of "Croatian defender" was already taken by Branko Horvat.

Catherine said...

Pavlakovic's paper sounds interesting - I'll keep a look out for him.

Isn't Kristijan Horvat disappointing? With a-thousand-years-of-statehood, etc etc, to choose from, surely they could have done better than that...

Eric Gordy said...

Filip Latinowicz?
Tito did a lot better with pseudonyms, Spridon Mekas is cool.
Elvis did better too, under such inspiring character names as Clint Reno (Love me tender), Deke Rivers (Loving you), Tulsa McLean (GI blues), Pacer Burton (Flaming star), Toby Kwimper (Follow that dream), Walter Gulick (Kid Galahad), Lucky Jackson (Viva Las Vegas), Rusty Wells (Girl happy), Johnny Tyronne (Harum scarum), Joe Lighcloud (Stay away Joe), and my favorite, Dr John Carpenter (Change of habit).

Any one of these names would have done Mr Gotovina proud.

András said...

In Spain, as in other European countries, one has to present an identity card or passport to register at a hotel. The Spanish police spokesman stated that they had caught on to the fugitive because his alias matched one listed on his INTERPOL wanted circular.

I think the passport Gotovina used to register must've been the "Kristian Horvat" passport he's reportedly been using since 2001, and suspect that the spelling "Horua" (for Horvat) is just an artefact of a Spanish news agency reporter dictating a dispatch by phone to an editorial office unfamiliar with the spelling of foreign names.

Catherine said...

Seems that Nacional were reporting Gotovina's 'Kristijan Horvat' identity in April this year.

After being in Spain at the start of the NATO bombing in 1999 and hearing constant references to a certain 'Milosevik', I can well believe 'Horvat' ending up garbled into 'Horua'.

Out of all the possible implications of Wednesday's events, we find ourselves discussing this one....

Eric Gordy said...

You're right, of course, Catherine. I've yet to see reports of domestic reaction, beyond this item on a not so large protest in Zagreb:

http://index.hr/clanak.aspx?id=295678

That and, of course, the kind of statements that might be expected from the people who might be expected to make them (i.e., Djapic). Do any of our readers have other reports? My initial guess is that if there are major protests or "incidents," they are not likely to be happening in Zagreb.

Edo Bosnar said...

Just an update from here in Zagreb, based on initial newspaper reports and last night's television news: a few hundred protesters did show up on Zagreb's main square, denouncing the government, waving flags and posters of Gotovina, and shouting the usually slogans and songs. They then made their way up to St. Mark's Square, where the government offices are located, demanding to see P.M. Sanader. They also threw rocks and apparently managed to break a few windows before the police came and broke it up. I think Index.hr has all this news in more, and better, detail.
As for the question of how Gotovina was finally located, apparently the Croatia's Public Prosecutor (Mladen Bajic)was providing information to the Spanish police. But the details on who and how much the Croatian authorities are still, at least it seems to me, a bit murky.
By the way, Mr. Gordy, our friend Tomislav Dragun is at it again:
http://www.index.hr/clanak.aspx?id=259520
Carla is shaking in her boots, I'm sure.
As for pseudonyms, I always thought the best one for Gotovina is the most obvious: Tony Cash...

Eric Gordy said...

Hm, even around Zadar, the protests are completely unimpressive. Here is HINA's report:

http://www.hina.hr/nws-bin/genews.cgi?TOP=hot&NID=ehot/politika/HC091604.4yc

I found HINA's report, by the way, courtesy of the excellent new blog by Ed Alexander, (http://balkanbaby.blogspot.com).