Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia leaders discuss regional ties - Emirates24|7

Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia leaders discuss regional ties

The presidents of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia met Friday to discuss a joint fight on organised crime and  fast-tracking the trial of crimes committed during the 1990s Balkan wars.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Serbia's Boris Tadic agreed to sign a judicial cooperation pact to enable trials of war crimes suspects in their countries of residence.

"In all our countries, great progress has been made in the quality of (judicial) proceedings of war crimes," Josipovic said after the meeting.

The issue has been one of the most sensitive topics between the former foes in the 1990s Balkan wars.

Last September, Serbia sent Zagreb several indictments for "genocide and armed revolt" during the 1991-1995 war in Croatia.

The move sparked outrage in Croatia and the parliament there voted a law rejecting any proceedings conducted by the Serbian justice against Croatian nationals suspected of war crimes.

Josipovic, who favours better ties with Serbia, has criticised the law and contested it before the Croatian constitutional court.

But Zeljko Komsic, the current chair of Bosnia's tripartite presidency,

said his country could not join the initiative, as the topic was still sensitive.

Top officials guilty of war crimes during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, as well as the war in Croatia, are being tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia's (ICTY). Local courts have handled smaller cases.

The three leaders also discussed the cooperation in the fight against organised crime, which "is of particular interest ... and we should focus on that goal," said Komsic.

They also reviewed the issue of "access to European funds for regional cooperation," he added.

Friday's gathering is the second of its kind. The first such meeting was held in Croatia in mid-2011.

Croatia concluded EU membership talks last year and is set to join the 27-nation bloc in mid-2013.

Bosnia and Serbia have also EU aspirations but they have yet to obtain candidate status.

 

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