Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The two most important findings in today's judgment in the Croatia v. Serbia case

Concerning Croatia's allegations against Serbia:

426. "The Court addresses the findings of the ICTY. It notes that, according to the latter, the political objective being pursued by the leadership of the Serb Autonomous Region (SAO) of Krajina and then the RSK, and shared with the leaderships in Serbia and in the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was to unite Serb areas in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Serbia in order to establish a unified territory, and to establish an ethnically Serb territory through the displacement of the Croat and other non-Serb population through a campaign of persecutions. The Court further notes that, according to the conclusions of the ICTY, the acts that constitute the actus reus of genocide within the meaning of Article II (a) and (b) of the Convention were not committed with intent to destroy the Croats, but rather with that of forcing them to leave the regions concerned so that an ethnically homogeneous Serb State could be created. The Court agrees with this conclusion."

Concerning Serbia's allegations against Croatia:

472. "The Court concludes from the foregoing that it is unable to find that
there was any indiscriminate shelling of the Krajina towns
deliberately intended to cause civilian casualties. It would only be
in exceptional circumstances that it would depart from the findings
reached by the ICTY on an issue of this kind. Serbia has indeed drawn
the Court’s attention to the controversy aroused by the Appeals
Chamber’s Judgment. However, no evidence, whether prior or subsequent
to that Judgment, has been put before the Court which would
incontrovertibly show that the Croatian authorities deliberately
intended to shell the civilian areas of towns inhabited by Serbs. In
particular, no such intent is apparent from the Brioni Transcript. Nor
can such intent be regarded as incontrovertibly established on the
basis of the statements by persons having testified before the ICTY
Trial Chamber in the Gotovina case, and cited as witnesses by Serbia
in the present case."

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