Croatian Justice Minister Ivan Šimonović said that there is no possibility that Serbia can pay reparations for damages incurred by Croatia during the war.
He said that Croatia can only expect “symbolic reparations based on the genocide committed”, referring to the genocide charges Croatia filed against then Yugoslavia in 1999.
Šimonović said that his stance is based on the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in which Serbia was “convicted” for not punishing or preventing genocide, but that the court said that financial compensation would not be appropriate in that case.
“Any possible reparations could be related solely to individuals, families of victims,” the Croatian minister said, adding that the conditions have not yet been met for Croatia to drop the charges against Serbia.
Earlier this year, Serbia filed its own genocide lawsuit, also before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
According to the Croatian national television HRT, the material damage “would be worth about EUR 32.5bn”, but the Croat lawsuit said that this was not the amount that Croatia is asking from Serbia, “nor is it an amount that can be asked for according to international law”.
Šimonović said that the Serbian genocide countersuit filed last year was an effort to buy time.
He said that in order for Croatia’s lawsuit against Serbia to be withdrawn, a vast majority of that country’s national assembly must support the move. He said that Croatian President Ivo Josipović’s opinion will be important too, because he helped write Croatia’s lawsuit.
During the presidential election campaign, Josipović said that in order for the case to be dropped, “Serbia must punish all war criminals, solve issues related to missing persons and return cultural treasures to Croatia”.