gordan jandroković.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

Croatian diplomats have to persist in explaining why Serbia's law on universal jurisdiction for war crimes harms good neighbourly relations and the stability of southeast Europe, the chairman of the parliamentary European Affairs Committee, Gordan Jandrokovic, said on Thursday in response to a European Commission non-paper which notes the opposite opinion.

The non-paper, which was leaked on Thursday, clearly notes that the European Commission believes that the issue of Serbia's law on universal jurisdiction for war crimes should not be a condition for the opening of Chapter 23 (Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) in accession negotiations with Serbia.

Even though this is an unofficial document, Jandrokovic considers that with it the "EC in a way wanted to state its opinion."

"That still isn't an official document but I assume that it will become official. However, Croatia's diplomats have to persist in explaining why that law is not European and why it is damaging to good neighbourly relations and stability in southeast Europe. It is necessary to explain to partners in the European Union that that is a condition for Serbia to embark on accepting European values required to open Chapter 23," Jandrokovic told reporters in parliament.

He recalled that as an EU candidate Croatia passed through exceptionally difficult negotiations during which, he said, some member states' behaviour was improper, inconsistent and unjust.

"Today, we have strong arguments as to what is not good about Serbia's law, which is that they can try crimes committed in other (former Yugoslav) states and by those states' citizens. That law would certainly not be acceptable if it were to concern certain EU member states and their citizens, that is why it is not acceptable for us either and Serbia has to change it," Jandrokovic said.

He said that diplomats in the previous government should have done more so as to incorporate Croatia's objections in the benchmarks for Serbia but that that could still be done.

"I don't know what Croatian diplomats did over the past four years. This definitely had to be incorporated in a benchmark for Serbia and it will have to be done in the days and weeks ahead of us," he underscored.

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