Bosnia to appeal 2007 UN court ruling clearing Serbia of genocide

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Bosnia-Herzegovina will ask the United Nations’ top court to review its 2007 ruling that cleared Serbia of genocide during the country’s civil war, Bosnia’s Muslim leader said on Friday.

The move announced by Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, could spark a new political crisis in the Balkans country, which remains deeply divided along ethnic lines since the 1992-1995 war.

Izetbegovic said the request for revision would be forwarded to the Hague-based International Court of Justice next week – just a few days before a 10-year deadline expires.

“Everyone needs the truth, even those who oppose it, a truth that will be written by international judges, experienced and impartial,” Izetbegovic told reporters after meeting with some 50 Bosnian Muslim politicians, legal experts and representatives of war victims’ associations.

In the original case launched in 1993 by Bosnia’s then Muslim-dominated government, Sarajevo accused Belgrade of masterminding a genocide through widespread “ethnic cleansing” during the war which killed more than 100,000.

On 26 February 2007, the ICJ found only one act of genocide – the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim males by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica – and said there was not enough evidence to suggest Belgrade was directly responsible.

But it did find Serbia, which politically and militarily backed the Bosnian Serbs, had breached international law over the Srebrenica slaughter.