News 17 Oct 17

UN Prosecutor to Report Croatia to Security Council

The prosecutor at the UN war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia, Serge Brammertz, said he will report Croatia to the UN Security Council for non-cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Serge Brammertz. Photo: Beta.

Serge Brammertz said in an interview with Croatian newspaper Novi List on Tuesday that he will inform the UN Security Council that the Zagreb authorities are obstructing cooperation between the Croatian judiciary and its counterpart in Bosnia and Herzegovina on war crimes cases, preventing suspects from being brought to trial.

Brammertz, the prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, and its successor, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, MICT, said Zagreb’s actions meant that Croatian citizens were not being prosecuted for war crimes that they allegedly committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He said he will tell the UN Security Council that the ICTY prosecution is “very dissatisfied” with the situation, and that he also expressed his discontent to Croatian Justice Minister Davor Bosnjakovic in Zagreb last Thursday.

“I told the minister that I was very surprised that in one EU member state, the executive can drastically interfere with its own judiciary by preventing the fulfillment of certain requests for assistance from Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Brammertz told Novi List.

In June 2015, the government led by then Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic gave Croatian institutions the power to reject cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina over certain indictments if they are judged to be politically motivated.

Zagreb is seeking to avoid allegations that Croatia had an active role in the Bosnian conflict.

“We need to make it clear that we will not act [upon such indictments]. After 20 years [since the war], we will not allow political indictments,” Milanovic said at the time.

Brammertz said in the interview however that he hopes that the Croatian judiciary has “enough trust that the Bosnian judiciary is processing cases in the best possible way, and therefore such a kind of political veto is not necessary”.

He also said that he asked the Croatian chief state attorney Dinko Cvitan about why Zagreb has still not yet launched prosecutions in cases transferred to the Bosnian judiciary from the ICTY, and in which Sarajevo has sent the indictments to Zagreb because the suspects are living in Croatia.

“In these cases, I still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Brammertz said.

“There are applicable procedures and evidence. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why there are so many problems and delays as both countries have a similar legal basis and use the same language. Definitely I can say that regarding the quality of cooperation between prosecutors in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, there is room for improvement,” he added.

Brammertz declined to mention the cases he had in mind, but said that the suspects were accused of having “mid-level responsibility” for the crimes committed.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Vukovar Anniversary 17 Nov 17

Justice Hopes Fade for Victims of Devastated Vukovar

News 17 Oct 17

UN Prosecutor to Report Croatia to Security Council

News 21 Sep 16

BIRN Hosts Conference on War Crimes Prosecution

News 05 Sep 16

Balkan Prosecutors Vow Justice for War Crimes Victims

analysis 29 Jul 16

Croatia-Serbia Tensions Escalate Into Diplomatic War

News 19 Jul 16

EU Insists on Serbian Cooperation Over War Crimes

Feature 06 Jul 16

Balkan Youth Office Aims to Breach Wartime Divides