War Crimes Probe Will Proceed Without Croatia’s Help

THE HAGUE, Nov 15, (AFP) — War crimes investigators from the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will proceed with planned work in Croatia despite Zagreb’s refusal to provide security for the team.

“The investigation will proceed despite the lack of security. It will start at the time of our choosing but we are not prepared yet,” the spokesman for ICTY chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, Paul Risley, told AFP on Monday.

ICTY officials met with representatives of the Croatian government in Zagreb on Monday, and told them that the ICTY rejected conditions included in a letter sent to the ICTY on Friday regarding security provisions for the investigators, he said.

Croatian Justice Minister Zvonimir Separovic told Del Ponte in a letter that Zagreb would only provide assistance to ICTY investigators under certain conditions, and then only if it served Croatia’s own laws.

Separovic also stressed that Croatia would not bow to ICTY demands for access to military documents related to the so-called “Storm” and “Flash” operations of 1995, when the Croatian army retook breakaway Serb territories.

Zagreb has refused to cooperate on grounds of national security and insists that these operations do not come under the ICTY’s jurisdiction because it was an internal conflict.

Risley refused to specify whether the intended investigation related to these controversial operations, indicating only that it concerned “possible war crimes in the Croatian interior”.

The ICTY has frequently complained that Croatia fails to cooperate in handing over war crimes suspects.

 Source: Agence France Press

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