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Acquitted Croatian generals arrive to hero's welcome

ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac arrived home to a hero's welcome in Zagreb after their acquittal by a UN war crimes court on Friday (November 16). The red carpet was rolled out and guards lined up at the Zagreb airport to welcome the two men. Dressed in a dark suit and tie, a visibly content and relaxed Gotovina was the first to leave the aircraft. He shook hands with Prime Minister Koran Milanovic and hugged several of his wartime officers. Dozens of well-wishers scrambled onto the runway to shake his hand or take a picture. Gotovina and Markac made no comments to reporters and only briefly posed with a Croatian flag before proceeding to Zagreb's main square, where thousands of cheering Croats were already chanting and waving flags and their pictures. An appeals court overturned on Friday the conviction of Gotovina, the most senior Croatian military officer charged with war crimes during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. Gotovina, who was commander in the Split district of the Croatian army, had been jailed for 24 years. The conviction of Mladen Markac, a Croatian police commander who had been serving an 18-year sentence, was also overturned. The two had been convicted of crimes against humanity and war crimes during the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia. Judges ordered the pair's immediate release.

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