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Serbia, Montenegro: UN to hear genocide case

Genocide case against Serbia and Montenegro to be heard by UN court

Thirteen years after it was first filed, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s case against Serbia and Montenegro for violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention will at last be heard publicly by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations for disputes between States, starting today.

In the midst of the horrific Balkan wars for which individuals have been charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the case was first filed in March 1993 against the State then known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, according to a press statement released by the Court.

After a series of claims and counter-claims by the parties, in July 1996 the Court dismissed preliminary objections by the Yugoslav Republic and found that it had jurisdiction to adjudicate on the dispute on the basis of article IX, on State responsibility, of the Genocide Convention.

Further considerations, including a claim of discontinuance, a change of Government in the former Yugoslavia and a discussion of evidence admissibility further delayed the proceedings until the current time, the Court said.

To be held at the ICJ’s seat in Hague, the hearings on the merits of the case are expected to last until Tuesday 9 May, according to the Court.

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