On Friday, 16 November 2012 the Appeals Chamber will render its judgment to Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac. The Trial Chamber sentenced Gotovina to 24 years and Markac to 18 years in prison for crimes in Operation Storm

Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac in the courtroomAnte Gotovina and Mladen Markac in the courtroom

The Appeals Chamber will render the final judgment to Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac on Friday, 16 November 2012 at 9am in Courtroom I, it was announced at the Tribunal.

In April 2011, the Trial Chamber sentenced Gotovina and Markac to 24 and 18 years respectively for their involvement in the joint criminal enterprise headed by Croatian president Franjo Tudjman and aimed at a forcible expulsion of Serbs from Krajina during and after Operation Storm in the summer of 1995. The defense appealed against the judgment, calling for acquittal of the accused. In the appeal, the defense also denied the existence of the joint criminal enterprise and, above all, one of its elements - the indiscriminate artillery attack on Knin and other towns. The prosecution didn’t appeal against the judgment: not even against Ivan Cermak’s acquittal on all counts.

An appellate hearing was scheduled just 13 months later, exceptionally quickly by the Tribunal's standards. Soon afterwards, the Appeals Chamber asked the parties to give their opinions on an additional question: whether Gotovina and Markac should be convicted on the alternative mode of liability, command responsibility, if the judges acquit them of taking part in the joint criminal enterprise. The prosecution said they should, while the defense claimed it was not possible. As the defense argued, the Appeals Chamber may not consider the issue because neither of the parties has raised it.

The final judgments will be delivered to the Croatian generals six months after the appellate hearing. Gotovina has spent a little less than seven years in the detention unit. This time will be credited against his sentence. Markac has been in detention a little over than five and a half years because he has spent some time on provisional release.