The Parliamentary Assembly welcomes the progress made by the states of the former Yugoslavia on co-operation in the prosecution of war crimes. However, one exemption is absolutely unjustified.
In November 2011 twenty years will have passed since the Vukovar tragedy. About 10000 shells fell on the town every day during the 87 day siege. 3000 people died, more than 2500 were listed as missing, 17000 were wounded and 20000 inhabitants had to leave Vukovar as the consequence of ethnic cleansing.
Even if there have been several convictions for crimes committed after the siege, the main perpetrators of the war crimes committed in Vukovar have still not been brought to justice and are still at large. The Chief of the General Staff of the Yugoslav People's Army in 1991 has found safe haven in a member state of the Council of Europe that has granted him citizenship.
The primary role of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is to indict and bring to justice the perpetrators of the gravest crimes. However, there were no convictions by the ICTY for wanton destruction of Vukovar, murders, persecutions, deportation, plunder of public and private property, inhuman acts, cruel treatment and other grave crimes committed during the siege.
The Assembly draws attention to its Recommendation 1427 (1999) on the respect for international humanitarian law in Europe, Resolution 1564 (2007) on prosecution of offences falling within the jurisdiction of the ICTY, Resolution 1785 (2011) and Recommendation 1953 (2011) on the obligation of member and observer states of the Council of Europe to co-operate in the prosecution of war crimes, stressing that impunity should be fought resolutely. It therefore recommends that the reasons for the lack of progress on bringing to justice the perpetrators of the serious crimes committed during the siege of Vukovar be investigated.