Serbia contests ICJ jurisdiction in Bosnia genocide case

Serbia contests ICJ jurisdiction in Bosnia genocide case

[JURIST Europe] Serbia and Montenegro Wednesday contested the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice [official website] at The Hague to hear a case [ICJ materials] brought by Bosnia accusing Serbia's predecessor state Yugoslavia of perpetrating state-sponsored genocide [JURIST report] during the 1992-1995 Bosnian Wars. Lawyers for Serbia argued [ICJ transcript, PDF] that the conflict was between ethnic groups and not the two sovereign states appearing before the court, neither of which actually existed at the time of the war.

The Bosnian action against Serbia is the first international trial of a state for genocide. The legal action began in 1993, when Bosnia filing a claim alleging Serbia's infringement of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide [official text]. Bosnia could be eligible for a billions of dollars in compensation should the ICJ rule in its favor. AP has more.

Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.