Del Ponte’s statement provoked a storm of protests within the Church hierarchy and Anton Suljic, a spokesman for the Croatian Bishops Conference, said Del Ponte’s accusations were absurd. “We know that the Hague prosecutor is frustrated, for whatever reasons, and we could only ascribe her qualifications to such emotional state”, Suljic said.
Reporters of the daily “Slobodna Dalmacija” made a tour of several monasteries and in today’s issue published reactions of monks who hurled insults at Del Ponte, bordering on obscenity. “Gotovina currently can’t come to the phone, because he’s sleeping”, was the flippant reply of Petar Odak, a monk at the monastery on the Adriatic island of Vis.
Father Ivan Iko Mateljan, the head of the Croatian Franciscan order, skipped the irony and was more direct. “The best thing would be if Carla herself came to the monasteries and checked where Gotovina was, possibly under the robe of each monk and whatever she finds, well found”, he said.
Most monks told “Slobodna Dalmacija” they wouldn’t report if they knew where Gotovina was hiding because he was a “martyr and patriot”, not a war criminal.
Gotovina has been indicted by ICTY for crimes against Serb civilians in Croatia’s 1991/95 war of secession from former Yugoslavia. Croatian authorities claim they have no knowledge of his whereabouts, though the European Union has blocked talks on Croatia’s accession until Gotovina is extradited.
Suljic said that the international community, which appointed Del Ponte, should explain to the Church, Croatia and Vatican her behavior and dismiss her. (Vpr)
Read the complete article CROATIA: CHURCH OFFICIALS INSULT WAR CRIMES PROSECUTOR from AKI.
So the monks claim that the general is not there and invite the woman to check under their robes. If they want to be sarcastic, I suppose that's their perogative. What does give me pause is that some of them view Gotovina as a martyr and a patriot. The Holy See had better be damned sure he's not being harbored by some misguided Franciscans or else it is not going to look very good at all. With all the controversy surrounding the Church's alleged support for the puppet regime in Croatia back during World War II, it is hardly the time for the local Franciscans to be harboring this general.