America

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

News You Might Have Missed: Top UN court dimisses Belgrade's genocide claim against NATO states

For all you international legal buffs, here's a news item you might have missedTop UN court dimisses Belgrade's genocide claim against NATO states.

Good news? Maybe not -
The ruling that Serbia and Montenegro was not a member of the United Nations could have important ramifications in two complaints filed by Bosnia and Croatia against Belgrade for violating the Genocide Convention.

"It might change the procedural position versus Bosnia and Croatia as well.

Because the issue is again if Yugoslavia (now renamed Serbia and Montenegro) were party to the statute (of the Genocide Convention) and a member of the UN ... If Yugoslavia did not continue the former socialist Yugoslavia's membership ... then there is no jurisdiction against Yugoslavia just as there is no jurisdiction for Yugoslavia against NATO," Tibor Varady, who headed the Belgrade delegation, said Wednesday.

Belgrade has argued in the other genocide cases that because Yugoslavia was not a member of the UN or a state party to the Genocide Convention at the time of the complaints it cannot be prosecuted by the ICJ.

The court rejected those claims in February 2003 for Bosnia but Belgrade's legal experts now hope the court will eventually rule it is not competent in that case either.

Message to tin pot dictators: Keep an eye on this case. It may be a reason why you want to rethink your UN membership.

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