ICJ: Serbia did not commit genocide against Croatia

Belgrade welcomes decision by court. Sad chapter closed

03 February, 20:08

    In this Nov. 24, 1991 file photo, two Serbian volunteers pass a destroyed Yugoslavian army tank, in downtown Vukovar, eastern Croatia. (AP) In this Nov. 24, 1991 file photo, two Serbian volunteers pass a destroyed Yugoslavian army tank, in downtown Vukovar, eastern Croatia. (AP)

    (ANSAmed) - BRUSSELS - The United Nations' highest court based in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that Serbia did not commit genocide against Croatia during the Balkan war.

    Judges rejected charges by the Zagreb government regarding the tragedies of Vukovar and other cities in 1991.

    Addressing the Court, judge Peter Tromka, president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), said the intent to commit genocide had not been proven and therefore there was no evidence to support the case.

    Evidence provided by the Croatian government, he added, was insufficient to prove that action committed by Serbian armed forces had the aim necessary to cite genocide.

    According to the UN Convention, in order to be labelled as genocide, military action must be aimed at destroying all or part of a group, based on ethnic, racial or religious motives. The Croatian city of Vukovar was destroyed following the Serbian occupation that lasted for three months in 1991: tens of thousands of Croatians were displaced and some 260 were arrested and killed. For their part, authorities in Belgrade denounced the fact that Croatians had expelled some 200,000 Serbians from Croatian territory. Four years later, moreover, Croatian armed forces bombed the ethnic Serbian majority in the region of Krajina, leading about 200,000 people to leave their homes.

    ''I believe this has closed a sad page of our past while another one has been opened into our future'', said Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic, commenting the verdict. ''We were expecting such a ruling from the judges. It was proven that no genocide was committed by the Serbian side'', said Selakovic.

    (ANSAmed).

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