The Youth Initiative for Human Rights commends constructive dialogue between the highest state officials of Croatia and Serbia, and particularly the announcement of talks about bilateral agreement on criminal prosecution and punishment of war crimes. In the upcoming period, YIHR will monitor the process of adoption of the agreement and, in order to support the dialogue as a whole, it will soon present the proposal of a public policy with defined open issues and solutions for them.

A series of meetings of the highest officials of Croatia and Serbia is an important contribution in the process of dialogue between the two states with numerous open issues, including the position of national minorities, the prosecution of war criminals, the finding of missing persons from the wars of the 1990s and reparations for victims. Also, this bilateral meeting has contributed to ending the rhetoric which incites national intolerance, replacing it with a serious dialogue the outcomes of which we are going to monitor in the coming months.

The meeting has confirmed once again that relations between our two states and societies continue to be burdened by the most difficult questions from the war past of the 1990s which need to be solved as a pledge for a better future. In that respect, it is important to stress the announcement of the beginning of talks about the adoption of the agreement on criminal prosecution and punishment of war criminals, as well as continued cooperation in finding missing persons.

After the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia was closed, which prosecuted the most senior and responsible officials for the gravest war crimes and human rights violations, responsibility for continuing the prosecution of war crimes has shifted to national judiciaries. In that respect, cooperation in criminal matters is a prerequisite for successful prosecution and bringing justice to victims and their families.

We call on both sides to approach the above promises responsibly and with the best of intentions for bringing justice to victims and enabling reconciliation as a pledge for a better future of our societies and new generations.

Youth Initiative for Human Rights Croatia

Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia