20/7 Tass 313
MOSCOW, July 20 (Itar-Tass) —— The State Duma doubts that the arrest of Goran Hadzic, former president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina in the 1990s, will accelerate Serbia’s admission to the European Union.
State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev expects a “period of disappointments” for official Belgrade in its strive for integration into the European space.
“In fact, the Serbian authorities have arrested Hadzic, and fulfilled their oblihations to Brussels. All persons charged with war crimes in the Balkans have now been extradited to the Hague tribunal, sometimes even against the will of the people,” he said on Wednesday, July 20.
However, he believes that Brussels may continue delaying Serbia’s admission to the EU. “I personally doubt that the extradition of suspects to the ICTY will accelerate Serbia’s accession to the European Union. My forecast is there will be no quick admission,” Kosachev said.
His opinion is shared by First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky. “Brussels is in a rather complicated situation now, both politically and economically. The euro area and even the Schengen agreement are going through a period of trials,” he said.
In this situation, Serbia’s admission to the EU will not help to solve existing problems and can even cerate new ones.
“I do not rule out that the EU authorities will be looking for pretexts in order to delay Serbia’s admission to the European Union,” the lawmaker said.
Hadzic was indicted in 2004 for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in eastern Slavonia, Croatia, between 1991 and 1992.
His alleged crimes include participation in exterminating or murdering hundreds of Croat and other non-Serb civilians, deporting or forcibly transferring tens of thousands of them, and imprisoning and confining hundreds of them in detention facilities within and outside of Croatia.
He was the last remaining fugitive of the 161 persons indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is based in The Hague.