Serbia continues to glorify war criminals and is not fully cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Hague-based tribunal says in its latest report addressed to the United Nations as Belgrade accuses Croatia of rehabilitating war criminals.
The ICTY regrets that "Serbia has turned away from the path of full cooperation with the Tribunal" because it has failed to "execute the Tribunal's arrest warrants for three Serbian indictees," the report says.
The report, seen by Hina, says that there were a number of other concerning developments during the reporting period, including the failure of the Serbian government to secure the appointment of a new chief war crimes prosecutor by the December 2015 deadline, the failure by the Serbian judiciary to enforce the sentence imposed by the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Djukic case, and "the continued glorification of war criminals in Serbia."
"War crimes prosecutions in Serbia are at a crucial crossroads. (...) It is now up to Serbia to demonstrate that it will realise its pledges to cooperate with the Tribunal, support accountability for war crimes and promote effective regional cooperation," ICTY President Carmel Agius says in his report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In January 2015, the ICTY issued arrest warrants for two lawyers for the accused Vojislav Seselj and his war companion, accusing them of offering bribes to witnesses.
The lawyers Petar Jojic and Vjerica Radeta and Seselj's war companion Jovo Ostojic are charged with contempt of the Tribunal for threatening, intimidating and offering bribes to two witnesses, the tribunal said then.
The arrest warrants were secretly delivered to the authorities in Belgrade, who have failed to act upon them to date saying that the law on cooperation with the ICTY prevents them from doing so.
Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Miro Kovac, on Tuesday called on the Serbian authorities to inform the Serbian public of this strong criticism from the ICTY rather than send protest notes to Croatia accusing it of rehabilitating the WWII pro-Nazi Ustasha regime and war criminals.