The Sabor (Croatian Parliament) today adopted the amendments to the Law on Judicial
Cooperation in Criminal Matters With the EU Member States with a limitation in application of the European Arrest Warrant to crimes committed after August 7th 2002.
This morning, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights sent a letter to the representatives in the Sabor, in which it appealed for the refusal of this limitation. Also, in the earlier press conference of 112 Civil Society Platform, the head of Documenta Ms. Vesna Teršelič underlined that all crimes have to be investigated and the perpetrators have to be brought to justice. The politicization of these questions needs to be avoided and the proper cooperation of judicial bodies in Croatia as well and other countries needs to be enabled when it comes to the finding and prosecution of perpetrators.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Council of Europe’s Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant, the warrant also applies to the criminal offenses that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. Therefore, it applies to war crimes and crimes against humanity. This time limit prevents or significantly complicates the prosecution of those war crimes committed in Croatia between 1991 and 1995, perpetrators of which live on the territory of EU Member States and are currently unavailable to the Croatian judiciary.
Croatia is entering the EU, as the majority of its citizens believe that the principles and values
that apply in it coincide with Croatian national interests. The European Arrest Warrant is surely
one of those interests as an efficient measure for the prosecution of persons indicted for crimes
as well as the greater care for the victims of those crimes.
If justice is one of the interests of Croatia, as it should be, we believe that the Law had had to be adopted without the time limitation.
Youth Initiative for Human Rights
Documenta – Center for Dealing With the Past
Civic Committee for Human Rights
Center for Peace, Non-violence and Human Rights, Osijek
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