Croatia to Enhance Cooperation with ICTY

Croatia is ready to step up efforts to cooperate with the ICTY in order to be able to conclude EU accesson negotiations by the end of this year.

Jadranka Kosor, the Croatian prime minister, said that efforts would be made to achieve better cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, as it is a key for concluding EU entry talks by the end of the year.

“Every week or 10 days a report [of a government working group] is to be sent to the UN court’s chief prosecutor about what is being done regarding cooperation with the Tribunal,” news agency HINA quotes Kosor as saying.

The ICTY is demanding documents related to the 1995 military action known as “Operation Storm”, a large Croatian military offensive during the war which took back Croatian territory and expelled Serbs. Croatia claims that it does not have the requested documents. Officials have said that some were destroyed and others have been lost.

The documents are relevant for the ongoing trials of Ivan Cermak, Ante Gotivna and Mladen Markac, former generals in the Croatian army. They are accused of war crimes committed against Serbs during Operation Storm.

Full cooperation with the ICTY is a key condition for opening the accession chapter on the judiciary, seen as one of the most difficult chapters.

Kosor said she hoped Croatia’s efforts to cooperate fully with the court would be noted. “I believe that all this will be eventually recognized and that we will open and successsfully complete the [judiciary] chapter,” she added.

Kosor said she expected EU accession talks to be wrapped up by the end of the year. Zagreb hopes to become the EU’s 28th member by January 2012.

“The government sees it as one of its main goals,” she stressed.

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