ISSN 2330-717X

Leaders To Mull Croatia’s War Crimes Plan


By Boris Pavelic

Heads of state of three countries are to meet today to examine a proposal of Croatian President Ivo Josipovic to reach a regional three-country agreement on the prosecution of war crimes.

Members of Bosnia’s tritpartite presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, Zeljko Komsic and Nebojsa Radmanovic, are to host the presidents of Serbia and Croatia on Friday at Mt Jahorina to discuss this and other regional issues.

The office of Serbian President Boris Tadic has already responded positively to Croatia’s initiative, saying he was ready to “discuss the idea with President Josipovic because he is always ready to discuss good ideas”.

Bosnia’s side has responded with more reserve. The office of presidency member Zeljko Komsic on Thursday said Komsic was aware of Josipovic’s initiative but refused to comment.

Josipovic’s proposal presumes that each party to the agreement will prosecute its own citizens charged with war crimes, no matter where the crime was perpetrated and on the basis of documents submitted by each party to the agreement.

Josipovic believes this mechanism will guarantee the effective prosecution of war crimes on all sides and avoid the controversial practice of countries issuing arrest warrants for another country’s citizens.

Croatia’s new centre-left government has signalled its willingness to sign such an agreement with its neighbours, and Serbia appears willing to do the same.

Bosnia and Herzegovina may support the initiative in due course. The country’s State Prosecutor’s Office has said it supports the principle that war crimes should not be prosecuted in the country of residence of the accused but in the country where the crime was committed.

The leaders of the three countries at Jahorina will also discuss other open regional questions including the likely impact of Croatia’s accession to the EU on political and economic relations in the region.

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The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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