Croat president: Genocide suits can become unnecessary

Serbia and Croatia’s mutual genocide lawsuits will be unnecessary if we solve disputable issues between us, believes Croatia’s President Ivo Josipović.

Source: Tanjug
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“If things that we wanted to achieve with the suits can be achieved through an agreement, the lawsuits will become unnecessary. In Croatia, the decision is in the hands of the government,” he told Tanjug.

The Croatian president also assessed that the acquittal of Croat Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markač had minimized chances of success of Serbia’s counter-suit while it did not have an effect on the Croatian suit.

“Several prominent jurists, in both Serbia and Croatia, have pointed out that the verdict minimizes chances of the countersuit filed by Serbia and that it is of neutral importance to the Croatian suit,” Josipović pointed out.

He added that, as a jurist, he agreed with the assessment and that he would “like to solve all problems that led to the lawsuits and therefore make them unnecessary” as a Croatian president.

Josipović believes that visible progress has been made in relations between Belgrade and Zagreb in the last two years but that there are still many issues that need to be solved.

The Croatian president pointed out that regardless of the mutual lawsuits the two countries could and needed to make a greater effort to find the missing persons, make a decisive step forward in the solving of refugees’ status, strengthen economic and every other cooperation, complete the return of cultural wealth and fight together against organized and cross-border crime. He added that “every crime needs to be punished”.

“I understand that we do not see all events the same way but politicians need to make an effort so differences would not be insurmountable or at least so they do not affect those aspects of cooperation that really are too important to both Croatia and Serbia, to citizens on both sides of the border,” Josipović concluded,

The two countries filed genocide lawsuits against each other before The Hague-based International Court of Justice that scheduled a hearing for February 2014.

The Serbian authorities have announced that they will not withdraw the genocide lawsuit against Croatia despite the acquittal of the two Croat generals for crimes against Serb civilians during and after the Operation Storm in the summer of 1995.

A well-informed source from the Serbian government told daily Politika that the government was now even more determined to prove in court that genocide had been committed against the Serbs in the Operation Storm.

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