Croatia - Serbia

Pupovac: Bill on Serbian legal acts could cause problems

04.10.2011 u 14:20


A representative of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) in the Croatian Parliament, Milorad Pupovac, told the Belgrade-based Vecernje Novosti paper of Tuesday that the adoption of the bill the Croatian government has sent to parliament declaring null and void all Serbian legal acts relating to the 1991-1995 Homeland War in Croatia, could lead to problems in relations between Croatia and Serbia and complicate the process of Croatia's EU accession.

Popovac told the daily that the Croatian government's bill compromised everything that had been achieved so far in the prosecution of war crimes during the eight-year-long coalition of the SDSS and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

"If the law is passed, it will be a millstone around the neck of the next coalition government, regardless of which parties will form it," Pupovac said, adding that the law would not change anything because Croatian courts had not been prosecuting crimes on the basis of Serbian indictments until now either.

Croatia's Chief State Prosecutor Mladen Bajic and Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic in 2006 signed an agreement on the exchange of case files in war crimes trials, Pupovac said. This year, the two countries' justice ministers agreed on the exchange of documentation based on which courts in Serbia and Croatia can decide if there are grounds for issuing indictments in concrete cases, he added.

"The government's latest decision annuls those agreements, which we believe also incorporate powers of the Hague tribunal," Pupovac said, adding that the latest developments would mostly affect citizens because they would restrict their security.

"We remember well the time when there was no cooperation. The said agreements were aimed at removing the danger for people who have been indicted without any grounds," he said.

The SDSS will not support the government's bill in parliament, Vecernje Novosti said, noting that Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Slobodan Uzelac, a member of the SDSS, was also against the bill.

The Croatian government last Thursday introduced into Parliament a bill declaring null and void all legal documents of the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), its judicial bodies, the judicial authorities of the former Yugoslavia and those of Serbia in which Croatian citizens are suspected, accused or convicted of crimes relating to the Homeland War.