International Court of Justice to rule on Croatia vs Serbia genocide claims

27 January 2015 by Stephanie van den Berg, Belgrade (Serbia)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will rule on 3 February in a case that saw wartime foes Croatia and Serbia accuse each other of committing genocide during the 1991-1995 war in Croatia [IJT-156].

The International Court of Justice (Wikipedia/Yeu Ninje)
Image caption: 
The International Court of Justice (Wikipedia/Yeu Ninje)

The ICJ, the United Nations’ highest judicial organ that settles disputes between states, has jurisdiction in cases of genocide as per the 1948 UN Genocide Convention. However, experts believe it is unlikely the Hague-based court will rule genocide was committed on either side during the 1991-1995 Croatia conflict, as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has never indicted anyone for genocide in Croatia.

The last time the ICJ ruled on a genocide case – in 2007, when Bosnia accused Serbia of complicity in genocide – the court relied heavily on ICTY findings to determine that the only instance of genocide during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia was in Srebrenica in 1995. Yet the ICJ ultimately ruled it could not be proved that the Serbian state had the intent to destroy the Srebrenica Muslims and Belgrade was not be held liable.

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