Serbia, Croatia Cleared of Genocide

ICJ says claims of genocide in Balkan Wars were not proven
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2015 5:33 AM CST
Serbia, Croatia Cleared of Genocide
Presiding judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia, fourth from right, opens the World Court session in The Hague, Netherlands Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Neither Serbia nor Croatia committed genocide in the wake of Yugoslavia's collapse, the International Court of Justice says in a verdict this morning from the Hague, per Reuters. In a case filed in 1999, Croatia had claimed Serbia committed genocide, including during a three-month occupation in Vukovar, during the Balkan Wars from 1991 to 1995. Serbia countered in 2010, alleging that Croatia expelled 200,000 Serbs, the BBC reports. Judge Peter Tomka said both countries were guilty of many crimes, but ruled the intent to commit genocide was not proven in the Serbian case, while the charge against Croatia was "dismissed in its entirety."

Tens of thousands of ethnic Croats were displaced when the Croatian town of Vukovar was occupied by Serbs in 1991. Some 260 men were detained and killed. The Croatian military then bombarded ethnic Serbs in Krajina in 1995, displacing 200,000, the BBC notes. The decision "will put an end to both sides' fight to prove who the worst criminal is," Serbia's foreign minister said ahead of the decision. Both sides said they would accept the verdict. If either side had been found guilty of genocide, financial compensation may have been awarded, Reuters reports. (Serbia and Croatia recently teamed up to solve a massacre during the conflict.)

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