Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia)

In its Application, Croatia contended that Yugoslavia was liable for ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Croatian regions of Slavonia, Dalmatia and Knin in 1995.On 2 July 1999, Croatia instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Serbia) for violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The crimes were allegedly committed between 1991 and 1995.

In its Application, Croatia contended that Yugoslavia was liable for ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the Croatian regions of Slavonia and Dalmatia during the war. In addition, Croatia asserted that by directing, encouraging, and urging Croatian citizens of Serb ethnicity in the Knin region to evacuate the area in 1995, Yugoslavia engaged in further ‘ethnic cleansing’.

Accordingly, Croatia requested the Court to adjudge and declare that Yugoslavia breached its legal obligations to Croatia under the Genocide Convention and that it had an obligation to pay Croatia reparations for damages.

As a basis for the jurisdiction of the Court, Croatia invoked Article IX of the Genocide Convention to which both Croatia and Yugoslavia were parties in 1999. On 30 May 2008, the preliminary hearings in the case, which pertained solely to the jurisdiction of the ICJ in the case, concluded and the Court went into deliberation.

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