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  • 18

    A Notable Ruling at The Hague
    General; Posted on: 2007-03-21 13:48:14 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Serbs not guilty of genocide

    Srdja Trifkovic

    In a landmark case that put a nation on trial for genocide for the first time in history, Serbia has been found not guilty by the International Court of Justice at The Hague. “The court finds that the acts of genocide at Srebrenica cannot be attributed to [Serbia’s] state organs,” said the ICJ president, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, in the ruling made public on February 26. She said it could also not be established that Serbia had been complicit by supplying aid to the Bosnian Serbs in the summer of 1995, when the killings at Srebrenica took place. Reflecting the complexities of the case, the 16 judges deliberated for 10 months. The court’s decisions are binding, without appeal, and enforceable by the UN Security Council.

    The Muslim authorities in Sarajevo instituted proceedings against Serbia at the ICJ in March 1993, charging the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (as it was then) of violating the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention. The case continued after the end of the Bosnian war in October 1995 and the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, even though the Republika Srpska (RS)—a constituent Bosnian entity—subsequently objected to the charge being brought on behalf of “Bosnia-Herzegovina” as a whole. The RS authorities disputed the legitimacy of the filing of the Bosnian application to the Court because it had not been ratified by the post-Dayton presidency, where the Bosnian Serbs would have been able to veto it.

    Most major media depositors in the bank of collective Serbian guilt have tried to spin the verdict. The New York Times led the pack, with Marlise Simons’ February 27 headline, “Court Declares Bosnia Killings Were Genocide” and the subhead, “Serbia is Faulted but Cleared of the Crime.” The article’s lead sentence asserted that the International Court of Justice “for the first time called the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995 an act of genocide”; the paper repeated the claim in an editorial on March 5. In a follow-up article, Simons repeated the claim: “The judges ruled that Bosnian Serb troops committed genocide against Muslims in 1995 in Srebrenica.”

    News Source: chroniclesmagazine.org


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