EU Respects War Crimes Tribunal’s Decisions

Total Croatia News

The European Commission comments on recent war crimes verdict.

In the first comments about the last week’s verdict against six Bosnian Croats at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the European Commission stressed in a statement that it respected the decisions of the court and expected all political leaders in the former Yugoslavia to respect the victims, reports Večernji List on December 4, 2017.

At the same time, there is unofficial information coming from Brussels that some of the more liberal members of the European Parliament are considering the possibility of publicly criticising Croatia’s state leadership due to its reaction to the verdict.

In the European People’s Party, which is in a coalition with European liberals, some of the leaders say they have not yet heard about such an initiative. But, it is significant that the two former MEPs who have so far commented on the Croatian reactions to the verdict come from political families of both the liberals and socialists. Informed sources say that some of the current MEPs are of a similar opinion.

I am sad about some very nationalistic statements coming from Croatia after the suicide of Slobodan Praljak. This cannot be justified by some equally ugly comments after the Mladić verdict. Let us instead work on reconciliation and look towards the future, wrote Hannes Swoboda, a social-democrat from Austria and former European Parliament’s rapporteur for Croatia.

I am shocked, I have to say, that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković could praise the memory of a Croatian general convicted of war crimes,” wrote Andrew Duff, a liberal from Great Britain and president of the Spinelli Group, an association of European federalists from various parties.

Elmar Brok, a member of the Spinelli Group and one of the most influential MEPs from the European People’s Party, said he did not hear about any initiative in the European Parliament that would criticise Croatia for its reaction to the last week’s verdict in The Hague.

However, among political analysts in Europe, there are comments of astonishment about the response of the Croatian state leadership, which was also reported by Observer (the Sunday edition of Guardian) which, quoting Plenković’s statement that Praljak’s suicide spoke about “deep moral injustice done to the Croatian people,” said this was the first time that an EU government leader supported a war criminal.

The European Commission, asked for a comment, was more restrained. “Securing justice and fighting impunity are fundamental principles. Our sympathies are with those who have survived and with those who have lost their loved ones. Although we do not comment on individual verdicts, we fully respect the decisions of the ICTY and support its work. We firmly reiterate the need for full co-operation with the ICTY, as well as with its successor, the Mechanism of the International Criminal Court (MICT). The European Union believes that all countries in the region are determined and committed to working on reconciliation, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations. We expect all political leaders in the region to respect the victims by promoting and respecting those obligations,” said the European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijančič.

Translated from Večernji List.


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