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The period covered by this report immediately precedes the 01 July 2013 – the day of accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union.

Despite fulfilling numerous pre-accession criteria required for joining the European Union, the Republic of Croatia has failed to resolve some important issues in relation to war and post-war period: there is a large number of non-prosecuted war crime cases, the refund of the costs of lost litigations to the families of killed persons has not been adequately resolved and the civilian victims of war have not received an adequate restitution.

At the end of June 2013 the Law on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters with the European Union Member States was amended. In principle, we believe that all perpetrators of criminal offences should be brought to justice. We do not deem it justifiable to impose any time limits for application of the European arrest warrant.

The weaknesses of the new Criminal Law Act have appeared in court practice and, in comparison with the previous Criminal Law Act, the new Act may be more lenient to perpetrators of the war crime which includes the guilty act of rape, therefore we request the legislator to consider its amendment.

Still no one has received a conclusive, legally valid verdict of guilty for war crimes committed during and immediately after the Military Operation “Storm”. Although the first first-instance court verdict of guilty was passed in June 2013 for the war crime committed before or immediately after the Military Operation “Storm”, the pronounced sentence in the mentioned case surely will not contribute to the satisfaction of family members of numerous victims of the “Storm”.

On the other hand, we view as a positive step the improvement of relations between Croatian and Serbian authorities, which may contribute to an efficient prosecution of war crimes, as well as the signing of the Protocol on Cooperation in Prosecution of Perpetrators of War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and Crimes of Genocide which has been signed by the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia and the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the attachment below, there is the electronic version of the report.