Josipovic: Croatia May Withdraw Genocide Suit

Newly elected Croatian President, Ivo Josipovic, has repeated an earlier statement that his country might consider withdrawing its genocide suit against Serbia if Belgrade accepts certain conditions.

Josipovic said that he doesn’t see a reason to continue with the genocide suit if Belgrade accepts talks on missing persons, war crimes and the restitution of cultural treasures that were missing during the war.

“I will negotiate with Belgrade on missing persons, war crimes and the restitution of the missing cultural treasures. If you accept these conditions, there is no reason to continue with the lawsuit for genocide,” Tanjug news agency quoted the president as saying.

Croatia filed genocide charges against Serbia to the International Court of Justice in 1999, demanding Belgrade punish all perpetrators of war crimes, return cultural property to Croatia and pay for war damages.

After years of waiting for Croatia to withdraw its genocide suit against Serbia, on 4 January Serbia took steps to force Croatia’s hand by filing a countersuit in connection with crimes committed against Croatian Serbs in the 1990s and in the Second World War.

On the same day, Serbian President Boris Tadic said that Serbia had been forced to file the countersuit. It would have been better had justice for the victims been obtained in regular judicial proceedings, he maintained.

“I’m deeply convinced there is a political and legal space for the withdrawal of the suit and countersuit,” he added. “We want to avoid confrontation between the [two] states, which is in no one’s interest.”

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