Croatia Says Serbia Must Resolve Missing Persons Issue Before Joining

Croatia Says Serbia Must Resolve Missing Persons Issue Before Joining EU

Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that the issue of Croatian soldiers and civilians who have been missing since the 1991-95 war must be resolved before Serbia can join the European Union.

President Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that he spoke with representatives of Croatian war veterans’ associations and agreed with them that the fate of Croatian soldiers and civilians who went missing during the 1990s war for independence from Yugoslavia must finally be established.

“The issue of the missing must be resolved before Serbia joins the EU. We know that our neighbours [Serbia] know, and must know, much more about the missing than they are doing [about the issue] and showing,” Milanovic said after the meeting.

According to the War Veterans’ Ministry, Croatia is still looking for 1,869 people who disappeared during the conflict.

This is not the first time that a Croatian official has warned Serbia to disclose information about missing persons. In 2014, Croatia’s then Veterans Minister Predrag Matic said that Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro must pass on all the information they have about missing Croats or Zagreb will attempt to block their path to the European Union.

Milanovic’s office said in a press release that lawsuits against Serbia brought by Croatians imprisoned in camps during the war and possible compensation claims against Serbia “for aggression against the Republic of Croatia” were also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

However it added that although Milanovic “expressed understanding for such thoughts”, he also “pointed out the real legal obstacles that exist” to such legal efforts.

Some observers were surprised by the fact that among the participants at the meeting was Zoran Maras, head of Croatian special police forces during the war, because in May last year Maras was among a group of men who attended a state commemoration wearing T-shirts with World War II-era fascist symbols.

Milanovic left the ceremony marking the anniversary of the 1995 military operation Flash because of the presence of men wearing shirts with the emblem of the far-right Croatian Defence Forces, a paramilitary group known for wearing black uniforms with an emblem that includes the slogan ‘Za dom spremni’ (‘Ready for the Home(land)’), which was coined by Croatian World War II fascist Ustasa movement.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.