ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia rejected on Monday the allegations made in a lawsuit filed in the United States that demands compensation to people held in concentration camps on Croatian territory during World War Two.
Croatia’s foreign ministry confirmed that the U.S. embassy had notified it last month of the lawsuit, which was filed in a Chicago court by several individuals in the United States. Croatia had 60 days to respond to the allegations from the lawsuit.
The Ustasha regime ruled Croatia as allies of Nazi Germany from 1941 until the end of the war in 1945. Several concentration camps operated on its territory, targeting Jews, Roma and Serbs. Estimates of the number of people killed vary widely but start in the tens of thousands.
“(Modern) Croatia is not a successor to the (World War Two)Independent State of Croatia, which is clearly stated in Croatia’s constitution,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Local media reported that the lawsuit wanted Croatia to pay $3.5 billion in compensation for damages and sufferings of the regime’s victims.
The most notorious concentration camp was Jasenovac in central Croatia, where more than 83,000 people were killed, including anti-fascist Croats. Many Croats fought on the side of the communist-led Partisan resistance movement.
Croatia, now a European Union member, declared independence from ex-Yugoslavia in 1991. It fought a four-year war against Serbs backed by Belgrade before taking full control of its territory.
Reporting by Igor Ilic, editing by Larry King