Zagreb - A round table was held in the Croatian Parliament on Wednesday to mark 70 years since the adoption of the Geneva conventions relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts, highlighting the importance of protecting and respecting international humanitarian law and the role of national parliaments in their promotion.
The chair of the Committee on International Cooperation, Romana Jerković, warned that violations of international humanitarian law continued to present a major problem in the world and that it was necessary to raise awareness of this matter.
Lawmakers should ensure respect for international humanitarian law in cooperation with civil society organisations, media and other stakeholders, Jerković said, recalling that Croatia had experienced serious violations of international humanitarian law during its 1991-1995 Homeland War.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Željko Reiner said that Serbian forces had repeatedly violated international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions during the Homeland War, especially in the case of the Vukovar hospital which was shelled despite a Red Cross sign on its roof. This also happened with other Croatian hospitals, including those in Gospić and Vinkovci, he added.
Reiner also drew attention to the issue of missing persons from the war, saying that Croatia had managed to resolve about 82 percent of such cases, but that 1,892 people remained unaccounted for.
The chairman of the Executive Board of the Croatian Red Cross, Robert Markt, said that international humanitarian law was a civilisational achievement that should be preserved. He stressed the importance of providing assistance and protection to persons whose lives were at risk from armed conflict.