NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CROATIAN AMERICANS
1329 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
PHONE: (202) 331-2830 NFCAhdq@aol.com FAX: (202) 331-0050
For Immediate Release: October 10, 2002
Media Contact: Joe Foley (tel: 301-294-0937)
(Washington, D.C.). The National Federation of Croatian Americans releasedaletter sent by its President, John Peter Kraljic, to Claude Jorda, thePresident of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), concerningthe determination of Carla del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY, not topresent evidence in the Slobodan Milosevic trial concerning his responsibility forthe commission of genocide against the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Milosevic has been indicted for genocide against both the Croats andBosniak-Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Chief Prosecutor, however,recently stated that time restraints placed on the length of the trial by theTribunal will force her to only present evidence of genocide committed against the Muslim-Bosniaks.
In his letter, Mr. Kraljic noted that "to allow evidence of genocidecommitted against the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain in the archives ofthe ICTY and not to allow it to be presented to the Tribunal and to the world at large inthe name of efficiency and speed will work a great injustice to the thousands of Croatsmercilessly killed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
Mr. Kraljic further wrote that it was inconceivable to attempt to segregatethe Muslim-Bosniak and Croat victims of the same genocidal plan to exterminatenon-Serbs from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mr. Kraljic requested that the Tribunal "order the Prosecutor to presenther case of genocide against the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the pendingtrial of Mr. Milosevic and, if necessary, to grant the Prosecutor additional time toallow her to present her case." Copies of the letter are being circulated to the US StateDepartment and to members of the Foreign Relations Committee of the US Senate and theInternational Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives.
Separately, Mr. Kraljic called on institutions in Croatia and Bosnia andHerzegovina to send their protests concerning the Chief Prosecutor'sdecision to the Hauge. "I am surprised that there has not yet been much public reaction inCroatia to this decision by the Chief Prosecutor. It should be remembered that Milosevicwas not charged with committing genocide in Croatia itself. I fear that there is areal possibility that if genocide charges concerning the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina arenot presented now, we may face the possibility that the ICTY will one day closeits doors and will never have had the opportunity to determine whether Croats were victimsof genocide. We owe it to those Croats who were killed and to the properinterpretation of the history of the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to force theICTY to hear the evidence. The NFCA's letter is not enough. We need pressure frompeople, decision makers and institutions in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere."
The NFCA is a Washington, D.C.-based national umbrella organization thatrepresents over 20 Croatian American groups and