The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands today has thrown out Croatia’s case as it attempted to prove that Serbia breached the 1948 Genocide Convention during the 1990’s homeland war…
The verdict was delivered on Tuesday morning in the United Nations highest court after Croatia sued Serbia back in 1999 for genocide charges stemming from the 1991-1995 war of independence, claiming that its neighbours had breached the 1948 Genocide Convention through ethnic cleansing of Croats. Serbia issued a countersuit, claiming more than 200,000 ethnic Serbs were forced to flee Croatia during Operation Storm in 1995, but that was also not upheld.
Although genocide is the most serious of international crimes, it is also the hardest to prove, with Judge Peter Tomka saying that for genocide intent was an important factor. The Court considered that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia could not be held responsible for what happened before it became a signatory of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide on April 27, 1992. The Court encouraged both sides to provide reparations to victims of the war.
“We are not happy with the decision of the court, but we will accept it in a civilised manner,” said Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović after the verdict, adding that Croatia would not give up the fight in finding all those missing from the war and for property to be returned.
Croatian Justice Minister Orsat Miljenić said earlier that the government’s main aim was to “present what happened in the war and that was aggression against Croatia”. Neither side has a right of appeal on the court’s decision.