Bosnian Serbs accuse Croatia's Gotovina of war crimes

Croatian ex-general Ante Gotovina was acquitted on appeal by a UN court in 2012 for war crimes against Serbs in neighbouring Croatia

Bosnian Serb police are pressing charges against retired Croatian general Ante Gotovina accusing him of war crimes against civilians during Bosnia's 1990s conflict, police and media said Wednesday.

Gotovina was acquitted on appeal by a UN court in 2012 for war crimes against Serbs in neighbouring Croatia during that country's 1991-1995 war, as the break-up of the former Yugoslavia unleashed a string of bloody conflicts across the region.

The Hague-based tribunal had initially sentenced Gotovina to 24 years in jail for war crimes against Serbs during the August 1995 Operation Storm, which Gotovina commanded and which practically ended the war in Croatia.

In Bosnia, a police spokeswoman in the southern town of Trebinje said Wednesday that they had filed charges with national prosecutors against a person identified only by the initials A.G., on suspicion of "committing war crimes against civilians and humanity".

Local media identified the suspect as Gotovina.

The crimes were committed in 1992 in the western Bosnian region of Livno, police spokeswoman Jovana Cvijetic told AFP without elaborating.

Serbs fled Livno during the war, and some now live in Trebinje which is in a Serb-controlled part of Bosnia.

An association of former war camp detainees in Trebinje said it knew about the charges and that some of its members were ready to testify against Gotovina.

"We have members who were directly tortured by Gotovina," association chief Vukan Kovac said, quoted by Beta news agency.

"We will do our utmost that this time, justice be served."

Prosecutors can either launch a probe or dismiss the charges.

The Balkan conflicts of the 1990s claimed 130,000 lives, 100,000 of them in Bosnia.