EC expects Serbia to establish full cooperation with ICTY

The European Commission expects Serbia to quickly undertake the neccessary steps to establish full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, which remains one of the important requirements in its accession negotiations, the Commission's spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, said on Thursday.

During a press conference, reporters were interested whether a negative report by the Tribunal on Serbia's cooperation would have any consequences on the opening of Chapters 23 and 24, announced for the end of the month.

Preparations to open Chapters 23 and 24 are under way and I don't want to speculate about that, but I repeat that full cooperation remains an obligation, Kocijancic said.

The European Commission is following carefully and with great concern the ICTY's reports to the UN Security Council and the negative developments with regard to Serbia's cooperation with the Tribunal. Processing war crimes and full cooperation with the ICTY are important requirements in Serbia's accession negotiations. That is also key for regional cooperation and reconciliation, she said.

ICTY President Carmel Agius and Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz on Wednesday expressed disappointment to the UN Security Council over Serbia's decision not to extradite three high-ranking officials of the Serbian Radical Party accused of contempt of court, assessing that this was a step backward in Serbia's cooperation with the Tribunal.

Brammertz expressed his office's regret that “Serbia has turned away from the path of full cooperation with the Tribunal,”and reminded the Security Council that "Serbia has failed for a year and a half to execute the Tribunal’s arrest warrants for three individuals indicted for contempt." He noted that in this final phase of the Tribunal’s work, Serbia' cooperation remains essential to enable the completion of the Tribunal’s mandate.

Earlier this month, Croatia agreed in the Council of the European Union to begin defining a joint negotiating position for Chapter 23 in Serbia's accession negotiations, provided that the position will solve three key objections because of which Croatia initially withheld its approval.

Croatia had three demands for the opening of Chapter 23: Serbia's full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal; Serbia's full implementation of domestic and international obligations in protecting minority rights; and the question of Serbia's jurisdiction for war crimes.

The Council of the EU is preparing a draft joint negotiating position of the EU member states. Only when all EU member states have approved the text and unanimously adopted the joint negotiating position will that chapter be opened.

Last update: Thu, 09/06/2016 - 18:21

More from Balkan

Ljubljana to transport its plastic waste to Vienna incinerator

Waste plastics collected in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana will be transported to Vienna for incineration in one...

Nikolic, Vucic to attend Brussels talks on relaxing Serbia-Kosovo ties

The Serbia-Kosovo negotiations on the normalisation of the relations between those two neighbouring countries will...

Serbia to receive additional EUR 4mn from EU for migrants

Serbia will receive an additional EUR 4 million in aid for migrants, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and...

Bank of China opens Belgrade branch

The Bank of China formally opened its branch in Belgrade on Saturday, which is expected to provide an additional...

Slovenian interior minister says Geneva convention outdated

Slovenia will not let others run its asylum policy and mange its borders, and the Geneva convention on refugees is...