"Current authorities are not responsible for crimes"

Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić was interviewed in Belgrade on February 24 by B92's Ljubica Gojgić

Vesna Pusić (Beta)
Vesna Pusić (Beta)

B92: Your arrival here does not mean - on the contrary - that the ICJ courtroom will not be entered on March 3?

Vesna Pusić: Even before elections in Serbia, almost immediately after the government was formed I said that if we manage to solve some preconditions, we were ready to discuss the topic of withdrawal of lawsuits. Unfortunately that did not happen, I think that in the perspective, we will still be solving this, now - the whole thing is starting next Monday (March 3). But, what is important - considering that things have come to this - is to know that what is happening in the court in The Hague is not our job, it is not the job of politicians. It is the job for the court, it is linked to the past, our job is linked to the present and the future.

- But, Mrs. Pusić, it seems incredible to me that you do not see the naivety of the belief that what is happening in the courtroom of the International Court of Justice in The Hague can indeed remain the past.

We are both already, me especially, old enough not to be naive in politics - but also to know that a topic can be turned into a politics topic, if you so wish, and you can also marginalize it as a political topic.

- And how will you marginalize it?

Because we think we have enough content related to the present... of course it will have an influence. I would have preferred it if we had managed to arrive at withdrawing the lawsuits. Some think the opposite, that this is better, that it will have some catharctic function. I understand this in more simple terms.

- You wish to have the country represented by your collocutor, Aleksandar Vučić, found guilty of genocide.

If we were to follow that logic, Serbia wants Croatia to be found guilty of genocide. However, the events and things because of which - if you present it in that way - these two countries wish that, are not the events and things for which people who lead these two countries today are responsible.

- Are they not?

No. Some other people who led them at that time are responsible.

- You used to accuse precisely the deputy prime minister (Vučić) and his former party (the SRS), the former party president, and the other party president for crimes committed in Croatia...

Well I think we accused, primarily, Slobodan Milošević.

- And Vojislav Šešelj.

And Vojislav Šešelj. Well I think...

- And Tomislav Nikolić.

I think it would be... he was not in some decisive position. But I think that their former party colleagues as well would, at least to themselves, agree with me, and would certainly not support them in what they did at the time.

- How will you explain to associations of defenders that the trial's place is in the courtroom, how will Mr. Vučić explain it here? Have you discussed this?

We will primarily deal with the topics that are the present and the future. For example, he today (Feb. 24) brought up the topic of modernization of the west-east railway, up to the Rotterdam-Tehran transversal, in other words, the big traffic route that goes from the Slovenian border, Zagreb, Belgrade, through Serbia, further onto Bulgaria - an exceptionally important project for both countries. Through air traffic projects, through, for example, this legalization - a project like that, something that people have practical, daily use of. If possible, also by not having leading, visible politicians meddle where they don't belong, in other words, in the court proceeding.

- What will the first day after the court declares itself on the lawsuits of Croatia and Serbia look like, in your relations?

Whatever happens in the court itself, will mean the placing ad acta of a phase, of a topic.