World / Europe

ICJ rejects claims of genocide Serbia, Croatia

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-02-03 20:48

THE HAGUE - Almost 20 years after the end of the war in former Yugoslavia, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on Tuesday dismissed the claims of genocide committed by both parties.

The ICJ, the highest United Nations court, ruled that indeed crimes have been committed during the war and these crimes had the characteristics of a genocide, but the evidence is lacking that the perpetrators also had a preconceived plan to exterminate a population.

The genocide, a deliberate attempt to destroy a group based on nationality, race, religion or ethnicity, was allegedly committed in the war in former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1995, but hard to prove.

Croatia was the first to file a case at the top UN court in 1999 against Serbia, which was still a part of Yugoslavia at that time.

The alleged Serbian "ethnic cleansing" against Croatian citizens was committed during the siege of the Croatian border town of Vukovar, which was ruined entirely by Yugoslav and Serb fighters in 1991. According to the claim, Croats and other non-Serbs were "displaced, killed, tortured, or illegally detained".

Serbia responded in 2010 with its own claim over alleged genocide against Serb citizens during the Croatian Operation Storm.

In August 1995, when the Croatian army hit down the revolt of the Serb minority in the country, hundreds of Serbs were reportedly killed and persecuted from their homes resulting in a migration wave out of more than 200,000 Croatian Serbs from Serbia.

The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945 and began its activities in April 1946. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York.

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