ICJ rules Serbia and Croatia did not commit genocide

ICJ rules Serbia and Croatia did not commit genocide

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice [official website] ruled [judgment, PDF] Tuesday that Serbia and Croatia did not commit genocide against one another’s citizens during the 1990s wars that erupted after the division of Yugoslavia. Croatia had accused Serbia of committing genocide against native and ethic Croats, and in a counter-claim Serbia accused Croatia of committing genocide against Serbs living in Croatia’s Krajina region. While the court recognized that genocidal acts were perpetrated by both sides, neither side could provide sufficient evidence to prove the necessary specific intent to commit genocide. The court also noted that they could only judge the genocide claims under the Geneva Convention, and acknowledged that further crimes may have been committed by Serbia and Croatia:

[The court’s] findings are therefore without prejudice to any question regarding the Parties’ possible responsibility in respect of any violation of international obligations other than those arising under the Convention itself. In so far as such violations may have taken place, the Parties remain liable for their consequences. The Court encourages the Parties to continue their co-operation with a view to offering appropriate reparation to the victims of such violations, thus consolidating peace and stability in the region.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] and the Balkan States continue to prosecute those accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s that left more than 100,000 people dead and millions displaced. Last week the ICTY upheld [JURIST report] the genocide convictions of two Bosnian Serbs during the 1995 Srebenica massacre. In July a Dutch court found the government responsible for 300 deaths [JURIST report] in the Srebrenica massacre. Last January the appeals chamber for the ICTY upheld [JURIST report] the criminal convictions of four Serbian senior officials stemming from the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. The ICTY was created [text, PDF] in 1993 by UN Resolution 827 to adjudicate the alleged war crimes perpetrated in the region of the former Yugoslavia since 1991.