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Serbia president apologizes for Croatia war crimes

Serbian President Boris Tadic [official website, in Serbian; JURIST news archive] apologized [press release, in Serbian] Thursday for Serbian war crimes during a visit [schedule, in Serbian] to Croatia. Tadic and Croatian President Ivo Josipovic [official website, in Croatian] together visited a memorial in Vukovar [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], where Serbian forces murdered 260 Croatians in November 1991. Tadic said, "I came here to offer an apology and express regret." Tadic becomes the first Serbian president to visit the site [BBC report], as the two countries continue to try to find ways to improve relations. Josipovic and Tadic plan to later visit the site where 18 Serbian villagers were killed by Croatians. Opposition in both countries criticized the visit, calling it nothing more than a political stunt and meaningless.

The challenge of improving the relationship between Serbia and Croatia remains difficult, even as leaders in both countries seem committed to the effort. In August, Croatian authorities extradited Sretko Kalinic to Serbia for his connection with the 2003 assassination [JURIST reports] of former Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic [BBC obituary; memorial website, in Serbian]. However, the continuing attempt to find all individuals responsible for the atrocities has created a new political tension [JURIST comment] in the region that will not soon go away. In January, the Serbian government filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against Croatia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website], accusing the Croatian government of committing genocide during the 1991-1995 Balkan War [JURIST news archive]. The suit was in response to a similar suit [case materials] filed by Croatia against Serbia in 1999.

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