Daily: Serbia is refusing to return WWII-era NDH archives to Croatia

NEWS 10.02.2022 15:28
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Source: Morguefile

"Croatia has sent a protest note to Serbia demanding that it return the archival materials that belong to Zagreb, which Belgrade refuses to do in violation of the Yugoslav succession agreement, warning that failure to settle this issue may halt Serbia's EU integration," state agency Hina said on Thursday, citing an article published by Vecernji List daily.

Croatia is also seeking the material from a disk which Serbia has handed over to Israel and which, according to a statement from the Serbian Ministry of Defence, contains records of the suffering of Jews in the Ustasha-governed Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during the Second World War. Croatia is demanding an urgent delivery of the digitized copies of the records in question until the originals are returned.

The problem of archives may halt Serbia’s journey to EU membership because the country is required under the negotiating framework that lays down accession conditions to comply with binding international treaties, including the Yugoslav succession agreement. Serbia will fail to meet the EU accession conditions unless it returns the archival materials to Croatia, Vecernji List said.

Croatia sent a protest note to Serbia on Wednesday after the Serbian Ministry of Defence said on its website that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Nebojsa Stefanovic, had met with Israeli Ambassador Yahel Vilan in Belgrade on 7 February and presented him with a hard disk containing over 162,000 pages of digitized copies of archival records gathered by the Military Archive concerning the persecution and suffering of Jews during the NDH regime.

The archival records were taken from Croatia and were included in the 2006 request for the return of more than 700 collections from about 50 institutions, including the Yugoslav Archive, the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Military Archive, the Yugoslav People’s Army, and the Yugoslav Film Archive.

The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in its protest note that Serbia’s move shows that there are actually no obstacles to the consistent implementation of Annex D to the Succession Agreement concerning the archives.

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