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Croatia asks ICTY for amicus status in trials of former Croat officials

[JURIST] The government of Croatia [JURIST news archive] has asked the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] for amicus curiae status under Rule 74 [text] of the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence in the war crimes trials of three former Croatian generals and six former Bosnian Croat officials [JURIST report], state radio in Croatia [media website, in Croatian] reported Friday. Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader [official website; Wikipedia profile] said the government is seeking friend-of-the-court status to refute the indictments' "unacceptable allegations" about the military's activities in the 1995 offensive known as Operation Storm [Wikipedia backgrounder], which forced some 90,000 other Serbs from their homes.

The indictment [PDF text] against the six former officials relates to allegations that they organized an ethnic cleansing campaign against Bosnian Muslims in an effort to create a separate state [Wikipedia backgrounder] with assistance from Croatian forces, but Croatia has denied that its troops operated in Bosnia. In other indictments, including that of retired Croatian General Ante Gotovina [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST report], Operation Storm is characterized as a "joint criminal enterprise," but Croatia contends it had a right to reclaim land captured by Serbs after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Reuters has more.

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