JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic

Croatia versus Serbia — lawsuits that bring back painful memories

When Croatia’s lawsuit for alleged violations of the convention on the prevention of genocide was submitted to the International Court of Justice in July 1999, it was reasonably anticipated that the Serbian side would, at some point, submit a counter-claim. This happened in January 2010 when Serbia filed its own lawsuit with the request that the International Court of Justice adjudge and declare that Croatia violated its obligations under said convention by committing, during and after operation ‘Storm’ in August 1995, various acts with intent to eradicate the part of the Serb national and ethnic group living in the Krajina Region.

It was then expected that the Croatian side would withdraw its claim, which would supposedly in turn lead to the withdrawal of Serbia’s counter-claim. However, that did not happen, and as procedural deadlines were approaching, both sides were very agile in preparing exceptionally strong expert teams, evidences to be presented and updated lists of witnesses that were publicly heard this month.

As opposed to the high confidence in victory stressed by both governments, the public opinion in both countries is almost unanimous in the belief that each of the counterparties will lose its case with enormous costs, especially those charged by the expensive line-ups of experts…

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