interview by Josip JOVIC
Nobody, naturally, suspected that the disguised general was in the crowd. He even carried the placard that read: "I am Mirko Norac," which, obviously, no one took seriously.
"When I see those crowds from all parts of Croatia, young and old, who have come to protest in my defense, being convinced in my innocence, everything else, all possible fears fade into the background. At one point I was on the verge of rushing onto the stage.
"Many a time I was in danger, looking death in the face. We have won the war, gained ranks and acknowledgments, but this is definitely the confirmation of the rightness of our path, the greatest possible acknowledgment that fills me with pride.
"This is a sight I will never forget, it will accompany me all my life and fill me with satisfaction. This people was worth fighting and sacrificing for, and I will be at its disposal in the future as well, to the best of my ability, if need be.
"I wish to express my gratitude to the huge crowds of people who came here, my fellow Sinj citizens, alkars, Croats from Herceg-Bosna, the Headquarters for the Defense of the Dignity of the Homeland War, my colleagues, generals and fellow combatants, associations, parties, people from the Church, in particular Bishops Barisic and Bogovic, who gave encouragement to my parents, all the speakers, and of course, Slobodna Dalmacija."
In your opinion, what was decisive regarding this rally? Some say all of this is a manipulation by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), or even criminal gangs. Where will it end? What do you expect to happen next?
All this is not just in my support. This is completely clear to me. People's basic pride has been hurt. There are attempts to devalue and defame all our strivings for freedom, suffering and anxieties. People feel this; they have both heart and mind and cannot be manipulated.
Ultimately, people feel that what is involved here is the ploy to cancel ten years of their history, perhaps the most glorious and most fruitful period in our contemporary history. I wish to tell the people, through your newspaper, not to allow to be discouraged by below-the-belt blows, or fall for provocation.
Everything should remain within the Constitution and the democratic right to assemble and express one's views freely, without insults, blocking traffic routes and normal course of life, in particular physical clashes should be avoided.
I am not familiar with them, nor do I know who they come from. I can only say I directed the defense of Gospic, which was being destroyed on a daily basis, that we halted the brutal Chetnik [Serb] aggression that stopped at nothing and used all means available.
I did not kill any civilians, nor did I order anything to this effect, I had no contact with civilians, I was preoccupied with the strategy of how to defend the city. That was a day-to-day life-and-death struggle, there was no time for acting out one's instincts. Before and after every action I went to church.
We have been reading these days that some people around you do not allow you to report to the Police although you, allegedly, want to do so?
What people around me? Absolutely not. I am ready at any time to appear before the court of the Republic of Croatia, I am ready for one more sacrifice, but I want to be allowed dignified defense, without pre-trial detention.
I am a general of the Croatian Army, I joined the defense of the homeland at the age of 22, with no ulterior motives. I did nothing to be detained and prosecuted or handcuffed.
I do not want to go The Hague, because I am condemned there in advance. I want to have a family and live in peace and freedom, like all other citizens of this country. Isn't it a humiliation for a state to send its generals abroad to be tried by someone else?
Let the President and the Government state unambiguously in public that I won't be delivered to The Hague, and on the very same day I will appear before the judicial authorities of the state.