ICJ judges Serbia and Croatia did not commit genocide during Balkan wars | The Guardian |

The UN’s highest court has ruled that neither Croatia nor Serbia committed genocide against each other’s populations during the Balkan wars that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Peter Tomka, president of the international court of justice, said crimes had been committed by both countries’ forces during the conflict, but that the intent to commit genocide – by “destroying a population in whole or in part” – had not been proven against either country.

The UN tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is also based in The Hague, has long since ruled that genocide was committed in Bosnia, where more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed when the UN “safe haven” of Srebrenica fell to Bosnian Serb forces in 1995.

Despite widespread atrocities against all sides, no court has ruled that ethnic Croats or Serbs were victims of genocide. Recent acquittals of suspects at the Yugoslav tribunal stoked anger in the two countries.

Croatia alleged that Serbia’s destruction of towns and expulsion of ethnic Croats in Slavonia amounted to genocide. In turn, Serbia accused Croatia of genocide over the expulsion of Serbs from Krajina.

In a ruling from 2007 in a case brought by Bosnia in 2007, the same court found that Serbia was not responsible for genocide, but that it had breached the genocide convention by failing to prevent the massacre in Srebrenica.

International Court of Justice Press Release on Ruling