In their reply to Javier Solana’s letter about the ‘missing’ or ‘non-existent’ reports of the European monitors, Ante Gotovina’s defense wants the EU to conduct further enquiries. The defense has also brought up Solana’s potential conflict of interest; during Operation Storm, Solana claimed that the Croatian army had committed crimes by indiscriminate shelling

Luka Misetic, defense attorney for Ante GotovinaLuka Misetic, defense attorney for Ante Gotovina

Ante Gotovina’s defense has alleged that, contrary to the claims of the EU Council Secretary-General Javier Solana, the defense has not been granted ‘unlimited access to the complete and unredacted archives of the European Community Monitoring Mission’ in March 2008. The war of motions, letters and statements thus continues after the defense demanded the delivery of all reports drafted by the European monitors during and after Operation Storm in August 1995. Generals Gotovina, Cermak and Markac are charged with crimes against Serbs committed in that period.

In his letter to the Trial Chamber, Solana says that 24 documents were found after a search of the Monitoring Mission archives. The defense team was granted access to the documents, Solana notes, but decided not to demand their delivery. In its latest motion, Ante Gotovina’s defense has rejected this claim, adding that it is highly unlikely that the prosecution – which searched the same archives on two occasions – has also ‘overlooked’ those documents. However, the defense has asked that the 24 reports that have now been found, drafted by the monitors in the Krajina Sector South in August 1995, be delivered to them.

The defense has also commented on Solana’s doubts that the 56 documents that the defense alleges have been ‘missing’ ever existed. Since the secretary-general of the EU Council argued that the defense never identified those documents or explicitly asked for them, the defense in its reply list at least 51 documents and provide ‘either proof of their existence or indicate that according to the monitoring mission procedure there is clearly no rational explanation for their alleged non-existence’. The defense is particularly concerned because it has not received a single report from the European monitors’ Knin headquarters for the period between 4 and 15 August 1995. Gotovina’s defense believes those documents are potentially exculpatory for the accused Gotovina, especially for the indiscriminate shelling charges.

The defense has urged the Trial Chamber to issue requests to the EU similar to those issued to the Republic of Croatia at the behest of the prosecution. Croatia has been asked to deliver reports ‘even if they may not even be in the possession of the Croatian government’. In other words, the defense considers the judges should order the EU ‘to make further efforts’ to locate the missing reports, to conduct additional enquiries, deliver any documents found and submit a detailed report on the progress of the exercise. The defense wants the report on the enquiry to be submitted within 15 days.

The defense has also brought up Javier Solana’s potential conflict of interest. On 6 August 1995 Solana was the Spanish foreign minister and chairman of the EU Council of Ministers when he declared that the Croatian Army ‘is shelling civilian territory’ and is guilty of war crimes. Therefore, the defense concludes, Solana should not be in charge of locating documents that might contest his previous claims.