By Milos Mitrovic – Belgrade
Serbia and Croatia would not withdraw the genocide charges against each other; however, the two neighboring countries will focus their agenda on the future, and courts should be devoted to the issues from the past, Croatian Vice-Prime Minister Vesna Pusic and Serbian Deputy PM Aleksandar Vucic have agreed in Belgrade on Monday.
Pusic came for an official visit to Belgrade ahead of time to start the trial at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The trial, which includes both Croatian and Serbian lawsuit, will start on March 3. The lawsuits will not be withdrawn, it has been stated after Vucic-Pusic meeting.
Vucic and his Croatian counterpart have discussed the trial and “all the other important issues”, such as economic cooperation as well as the missing persons issue, which is the priority for Croatia, housing for Serbian refugees and the status of Serbian Cyrillic in Croatia.
Vucic said that he has presented Pusic both with the Serbian position on ICJ process and the country’s determination to future bilateral cooperation. He added that each side will try to prove its arguments before the court.
Croatia filed the genocide suit against Serbia in 1999. Serbia filed the genocide lawsuit against Croatia in 2010.
“Whether this will be productive or not… I’m afraid that nobody will be particularly happy”, Vucic said adding that other issues he has discussed with Pusic would “provide the improvement and progress in relations between two countries and people”.
Pusic reiterated Zagreb’s stance that preconditions for the withdrawal of Croatian suit have not been fulfilled, especially those with regard to missing persons problem. “The four week long evidences presentation at the international court at The Hague (ICJ) will not be pleasant, but the officials in Belgrade and Zagreb should prevent such an atmosphere to overflow the current relations”, Pusic emphasized.
According to Pusic, the verdict will probably not put an end to both discussions on the war causes and responsibility, “but this should be the issue for historians, rather than politicians”. Vucic gave Pusic more than 38,000 air photos of Croatian territory made by the army in the 1960s, as he had promised before.