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Monday, February 26, 2007

ICJ: Serbia not guilty of Bosnia genocide but broke law by not preventing Srebrenica
Holly Manges Jones at 9:11 AM ET

[JURIST] The International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website] rendered its judgment [text; summary] Monday in the long-anticipated case of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro [ICJ docket], finding that although the Serbian government was not directly responsible for genocide during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war [Wikipedia backgrounder], the country failed to meet its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention [text] to prevent genocide. The court recognized that the mass killings of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] was nonetheless an act of genocide [Reuters report], and said that Serbia "should have made the best effort within their power to try and prevent the tragic events then taking shape."

According to the court's press release [text], after determining that it had jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute, the ICJ:

Finds that Serbia has not committed genocide, through its organs or persons whose acts engage its responsibility under customary international law, in violation of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; ...

Finds that Serbia has not conspired to commit genocide, nor incited the commission of genocide, in violation of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; ...

Finds that Serbia has not been complicit in genocide, in violation of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; ...

Finds that Serbia has violated the obligation to prevent genocide, under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in respect of the genocide that occurred in Srebrenica in July 1995; ...

Finds that Serbia has violated its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by having failed to transfer Ratko Mladic, indicted for genocide and complicity in genocide, for trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and thus having failed fully to co-operate with that Tribunal; ...

Finds that Serbia has violated its obligation to comply with the provisional measures ordered by the Court on 8 April and 13 September 1993 in this case, inasmuch as it failed to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995...
The ICJ determined that ordering Serbia to pay compensation in the case would not be appropriate and instead ordered Serbia to:
immediately take effective steps to ensure full compliance with its obligation under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to punish acts of genocide as defined by Article II of the Convention, or any of the other acts proscribed by Article III of the Convention, and to transfer individuals accused of genocide or any of those other acts for trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and to co-operate fully with that Tribunal...
The case against Serbia [JURIST news archive] marks the first time that a UN member state has been tried for genocide. The separate International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website; JURIST news archive] has been hearing individual cases of alleged war crimes since 1993. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST news archive] was on trial at the ICTY on genocide charges before his death [JURIST report] last year. The ICTY is scheduled to finish all trials by 2008 and all appeals by 2010, but the US has urged the tribunal's continuation [JURIST report] until police arrest two of the ICTY's most wanted fugitives - Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic [ICTY case backgrounder; BBC profile] and his military commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. AP has more.





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