.- The spokesman for the Holy See, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, and the Croatian Episcopal Conference both rejected the accusations of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for Ex-Yougoslavia (TPIY), Carla del Ponte, of protecting alleged war criminals.
In an interview published by the British Daily Telegraph, Del Ponte declared that Croatian General Ante Gotovina, is hiding in a Franciscan monastery in Croatia and that the Catholic Church and the Vatican refused to cooperate.” The Prosecutor said to be “extremely disappointed” for the Vatican’s silence, after months of secret dealings that all failed.
Before such declarations, the Vatican spokesman declared that “in the meeting held between Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary for relations with States, and Carla del Ponte, in an attempt to answer her requests for information and more intervention, Mons. Lajolo explained that the Secretary of State does not have the authority to collaborate institutionally with the international tribunal.”
Navarro-Valls added that “ Archbishop Lajolo asked Mrs Del Ponte to provide indications with some precision upon which she suspected General Ante Gotovina to have sought refuge in religious buildings in Croatia, with which he could enter in contact with the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities. Mrs Del Ponte did not answer to Mons. Lajolo yet.
Croatian Episcopate rejects accusations.
On the other hand the Croatian Episcopal Conference (HBK) rejected the accusations of the prosecuter. The head of the press office of the institution, Anton Suljic, assured the press that “the leaders of the Catholic Church in Croatia didn’t have any knowledge, much less indications of where General Gotovina could be located“
Suljic criticized the frustration of the procurer in her investigations, that leads her to accuse without any base, the most high officials of the Holy See.”