84 LIVIU ALEXANDRU LASCU
1991 and was strongly determined to regain its territories in the hands of Serb
separatists, especially because the international framework was favorable8.
During a meeting with the major Croatian political and military leaders on
July 31st, 1995, in the Croatian island Brijuni, it was decided that in the coming
days, the Croatian Army, supported by special police units, will trigger a major
and wide spread attack toward East, with a front covering 630 kilometers, the
entire border between Croatia and the R.S.K.
A very important aspect from the perspective of the ICTY case we refer to, is
the fact that among the discussions within the Brijuni meeting, the Croatian
political and military leaders agreed that the planed military operation will be
undertaken in such a way as to intimidate the civilian population and to enforce
the great majority of the Serbs to fled the region.
On the morning of August 4th, at 5:00 AM, the Croatian Army started a large-
scale ground attack, called “Operation Storm”, involving the military troops of five
army corps, of estimated 130,000 soldiers, well equipped and trained, which were
to face the resistance of around 50,000 Serb soldiers, many of them being poor
trained recruits, with a pronounced obsolescence due to the isolation and the
shortage of food and equipment.
The offensive was preceded by a violent artillery shelling and raids of the
Croatian military aircrafts which bombed the most important centers of command,
radar stations, warehouses and other logistics facilities of the R.S.K. Army.
Afterward, a massive ground attack was triggered, so that, after only three days,
except for some isolated points of resistance, the whole Krajina region was
released. General Ante Gotovina, the commander of the Split Military District, was
the leader of the operation in the sector named “Storm 1”, acting on the Southern
flank of the front and having the mission to release the capital of Knin and its
surroundings. General Mladen Marka9, having under his command the Croatian
special police units, operated on the Northern flank of the army corps commanded
8 In July 1995, the Serbs were subjected to a strong wave of criticism and disapproval of the
international community because in mid-July 1995, they attacked some demilitarized areas, the UN
protected enclaves of Srebrenica and Zepa of the Eastern Bosnia and then committed the famous
massacre of about 6,000 Muslim prisoners and civilian men. Moreover, they continued the attack on
the enclave of Bihać in Western Bosnia, another demilitarized area and placed under UN protection.
For this reason and aiming to stop these operations, in flagrant contradiction with the Bosnian Serbs’
assumed obligations, the U.S. Air Force that supported the UN peacekeeping forces, conducted some
air raids and shelled the Serbian positions, destroying a large part of their command centers, radar
systems and communications. Taking advantage of this situation and due the fact that many of the
armed forces of the RSK were concentrated in North to give military support to Bosnian Serb military
in its siege of Bihac enclave, on 28 and 29 July 1995 by fast and surprising military operations, the
Croatian army regained a particularly important area in the Southern part of the RSK, located
between the cities Bosansko - Grahovo and Glamoc. In this way, the Croatian Army get an extremely
important military advantage by, practically isolating the capital Knin and its surroundings from the
rest of the RSK territory. See C. Ingrao, T.A. Emmert, Confronting the Yugoslav controversi es, Purdue
University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.A., 2009, p. 232-270.