Rasim Ljajic said on Wednesday that a revision of Bosnia’s genocide lawsuit against Serbia would lead to a freeze in relations between the two countries.
The Serbian trade and telecommunications minister who also serves as a deputy PM spoke in Belgrade after a conference dedicated to regional free trade agreement CEFTA.
“I can’s speak ahead of time about what will happen, but in any case if it does happen – I’m afraid our political relations will be frozen for a certain period of time,” Ljajic said, when reporters asked him to comment on the possibility, announced by the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic.
According to Ljajic, “we must find a way to cooperate under such conditions, and for the volume of economic cooperation to be continued – because I’m certain that political relations would be at a fairly, fairly low level.”
The minister advised “first waiting to see if a revision will happen and if the request will be submitted” bearing in mind that the criteria the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has set to determine if genocide took place are “very high.”
“I think all those options will be considered before a lawsuit is raised, that’s the two main preconditions. One is that new facts had emerged, and I think everything we’ve been doing these last ten years has been completely transparent when we extradited all the accused to the Hague (Tribunal) and when we were completely cooperative when it comes to submitting documents and granting access to Serbia’s archives. I don’t know what this new fact might be,” said Ljajic, who chairs Serbia’s Council for Cooperation with the ICTY (Hague Tribunal).
In 2007, the ICJ ruled on Bosnia’s lawsuit to find that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica, but that Serbia was not guilty of participation or complicity.
RS news agency SRNA reported in late January that Izetbegovic said the former agent before the ICJ in the lawsuit against Serbia, Sakib Softic, “had his full support in revising the lawsuit” – for which a deadline expires in mid-February.