Report: EC rejects Croatia's arguments for blocking Serbia

The EC has rejected Croatian demands in the dispute with Serbia, because of which Croatia blocked the opening of a chapter in Serbia's EU accession talks.

Source: Beta, Jutarnji list

This has been reported by the Croatian daily Jutarnji List, as cited by the Beta agency on Thursday.

The paper states that the European Commission (EC) does not consider the Serbian law on universal jurisdiction in war crimes cases committed in other former Yugoslav states to be contentious.

The EC' s position is that international law does not prevent any country from expand its jurisdiction also through the so-called extraterritorial or universal jurisdiction, the daily said. The law, according to the EC, "does not constitute a violation of sovereignty of the state concerned" nor an interference in the internal affairs of that state.

In the non-paper document quoted by Jutarnji List, the Commission states that the two countries should solve their problems bilaterally rather than in EU-Serbia accession negotiations, and advocates the unblocking of these talks.

"Consultations are ongoing between Croatia and the European Commission, but also other member-states, in order to find a way to get the process started and for Serbia to open chapter 23 by the end of June," the article said.

It added that "Croatia believes that some of its demands should be included in the criteria of the EU towards Serbia in chapter 23, either as transitional or as criteria for the closing of the chapter on the judiciary."

The EC prepared its conclusions after hearing the arguments of Croatia, but also Serbia's response.

The newspaper said that Croatia cited Serbia's indictment against Ejup Ganic as an example of political abuse of the law it finds controversial.

Beside the demand for Serbia to abolish the law, Croatia's other demands include "full cooperation with the ICTY and compliance with the international agreement on the rights of minorities."


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