The Council of Europe has published its seventh regular report on Serbia-Montenegro and the extent to which it is meeting its obligations.
In it the council calls on the state union to step up cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, resolve contentious issues in relations between the member states and sign or ratify a number of European charters and conventions.
The report, which covers the period from December to February, says that the over and above what the state claims as progress in the surrender of a number of war crime suspects, it is necessary to step up cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, particularly by arresting and extraditing suspects.
“During the period under observation, there were no encouraging signs of this cooperation in the sense of handover or extradition. Four Hague indictees have been extradited to The Hague. Under increased international pressure, another two generals and a senior police officer indicted in October 2003 are expected to surrender, and remaining indictees are expected to be extradited,” said the council in its report.
Noting the failure to hold direct elections of the Serbia-Montenegro Parliament in February brings the future of the state union into further doubt, the Council of Europe proposes that Serbia-Montenegro to work harder at finding an acceptable solution through dialogue among the authorities.
The Council also says it expects Serbia-Montenegro to sign or ratify several European conventions and charters before the end of its second year of membership in the council at the beginning of April. These include the European Charter on Local Self-Government, the European Framework Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation and associated protocols, the European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages and the revised European Social Charter
Belgrade is also expected to give priority to the adoption of legislation on police and security forces in harmony with the standards of the Council of Europe.
The Serbian Government is expected to review the draft Criminal Code, including regulations which limit free speech and media, particularly those which relate to libel.
The council also notes that Montenegro still has not reached consensus on draft legislation on national minorities and that there are again problems with human trafficking and calls on the republic to respect the council’s recommendations relating to this area.
The council salutes in its report Serbia’s adoption of legislation transferring the authority of military courts to the civil judiciary and significant measures in the reform of criminal legislation.