The chief prosecutor of the U.N. war crimes tribunal said on Friday Croatia still needs to do more to help its investigations -- a crucial element in deciding Zagreb's European Union membership bid.
Croatia is in the final stage of EU entry negotiations and aims to conclude the talks in the next 12 months, with a view to joining the bloc in 2012.
Cooperation with the tribunal is an essential part of the political criteria for accession and a nod from prosecutor Serge Brammertz is needed if Zagreb is to make progress in the "judiciary chapter", one of the most demanding policy areas.
Brammertz has locked horns with Croatia over its failure to deliver documents he requested more than two years ago relating to Croatia's 1991-95 independence war which he says are needed for a trial of three Croatian generals.
After meeting Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, Brammertz said general issues of cooperation were not problematic.
"But we also discussed an issue related to the documents. We still think there are a number of investigation avenues that can be pursued and that more results can be achieved... I am looking forward to continuing cooperation and very much hope that additional results can be achieved," he told reporters.
Croatia has said it has turned every stone but cannot find some of the outstanding documents the tribunal wants.
Brammertz's stance prompted EU members Britain and the Netherlands to block the opening of the talks with Croatia on the judiciary, but they have since lifted their objections and some EU diplomats believe Zagreb could open the talks in June.
Brammertz is due to brief EU ministers on June 14.
Kosor, whose ascent to power last July provided a crucial impetus to a renewed anti-corruption campaign -- another key criteria for EU talks -- said her cabinet was cooperating "fully and honestly" with the tribunal.
"We have undertaken an exhaustive investigation on the same principles as our fight against corruption, that no one and nothing is untouchable," she said.
The EU progress of Croatia's Balkan neighbour Serbia, which only applied for EU membership last December, also depends on Brammertz's assessment in June as it is required to arrest the remaining two fugitives wanted by the tribunal.
ReutersLast Mod: 29 Mayıs 2010, 09:24