By Denis Dzidic
The presidents of Serbia and Croatia backed a regional agreement on the prosecution of war crimes, but Bosnia did not sign the document as its tripartite presidency was unable to agree on it unanimously.
At a meeting on Friday 3 between regional heads of state which took place at Mount Jahorina, outside Sarajevo, Croatian president Ivo Josipovic proposed that his country, Bosnia and Serbia sign a three-state agreement on prosecution of war crimes.
The initiative envisages that each signatory state will prosecute its own citizens if they are charged with war crimes, regardless of where the alleged offence took place. Other participating states will then make available documents relevant to the case.
Josipovic said he believed this mechanism would guarantee effective prosecutions in war crimes cases.
Serbian president Boris Tadic agreed, telling a press conference afterwards, “Serbia will insist that all war crimes are prosecuted…. We believe this is the most functional solution. It is the fastest way of bringing to justice all those who have committed war crimes.”
The three members of Bosnia’s presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, Zeljko Komsic and Nebojsa Radmanovic, said they agreed that close cooperation was necessary in prosecuting war crimes in the region. But they did not all agree with Josipovic’s proposal.
Komsic, the presidency’s Croatian member, said the public in Bosnia and Herzegovina would prefer crimes to be prosecuted in the country where they were committed.
This summit, the second bringing together the Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian heads of state, also discussed other regional matters such as the likely impact that Croatia’s accession to the European Union will have on political and economic relationships within the region.