Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac and Veterans' Minister Tomo Medved on Monday held talks with representatives of veterans' associations and told them that Croatia could block Serbia's EU entry talks in Chapter 23 should Serbia start applying its law on universal jurisdiction for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia against Croatian veterans.
After the meeting which was closed to the public, Kovac said that on its path to the EU Serbia would not be able to apply the said law and that the country would have to cooperate in finding missing people and their remains.
Serbia will also have to exchange information with Croatian authorities and enable war victims access to the judiciary, namely to justice, Kovac said adding that war victims would be entitled to damages. He also said Serbia will have to respect and apply all verdicts handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Asked if Croatia could prevent Serbia from issuing indictments against Croatian citizens, Kovac said there was a bilateral way and that it would be best if such issues were resolved bilaterally.
There is also a European framework, he said, adding that the rule of law was the fundamental principle of the EU functioning. It is now Serbia's obligation to prevent the application of that law on Croatia and this obligation is part of the negotiating framework, Kovac said adding that if it wanted to make progress towards the EU, Serbia will have to apply and respect those criteria. He added that a review would be carried out every six months to see if Serbia was respecting this obligation.
Veterans' Minister Tomo Medved said it was clear that Croatia was given a tool by which it can assess progress .every six months