Knin after 'Storm' - August 1995

This report by Mark Urban shows the effect of operation 'Storm' ('Oluja') on the civilian population of the town of Knin. It was a joined operation of the Croatian armed forces with the Bosnian Army.

Broadcast on 8 August 1995, BBC2 / Newsnight

On 5th August 1995 Croatian forces entered Knin. In Croatia 5th August is celebrated as a national holiday, 'Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day', in Serbia it is marked by commemorations to the killed and exiled. Operation 'Storm' led to the displacement of the entire local Serbian population.

The Croatian government estimates that around 90,000 Serb civilians had fled, Serbian sources claimed that there were as many as 250,000 refugees. The UN puts the figure at between 150,000 and 200,000, the BBC at 200,000. Hundreds of Serb civilians were killed - mostly elderly people who stayed on after their families had left.

The Hague War Crimes Tribunal indicted 3 senior Croatian commanders: Colonel General Čermak, Colonel General Markač and General Ante Gotovina. They were said to have had personal and command responsibility for war crimes carried out against Krajina Serb civilians.

Čermak and Markač were handed over to The Hague Tribunal, but Gotovina fled in 2001. He remained on the run for more than 4 years, his whereabouts surrounded by mystery. The issue was a major obstacle for Croatia's application to join the EU. At the end of 2005 Ante Gotovina was captured by Spanish police in a hotel in the Canary Islands and transferred to The Hague.

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