On 3 February 2015 the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered the verdict in the landmark case «Croatia vs. Serbia».
The ICJ decided that neither Croatia nor Serbia committed genocide against each other during the war of Serb aggression against Croatia 1991-1995 as evidence provided to the court by the Croatian (and Serbian) legal team was inadequate to prove intent of genocide, i.e. to destroy the whole or a significant part of a nation/people. Furthermore, the court decided that Serbia could not be made responsible for the acts of genocide established as fact which occurred prior to April 1992, when Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY – Serbia and Montenegro) arose from Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). After the declarations of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia to secede from communist Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro were the only states of former Yugoslav federation that took upon themselves the pursuit as “heirs” of communist Yugoslavia, thus maintaining the Yugoslav People’s Army as one of its instruments of aggression. The other instrument of this aggression and genocidal intent were the Serb nationals who lived in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and turned into rebels against independence that would see untold brutality and destruction in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ICJ did find that Serbia was the aggressor against Croatia.
With mountains of evidence available to the Croatian legal team to bring before the ICJ as evidence of genocide the fact that the same team failed to bring adequate evidence before the court can only point to abysmal sabotage and fowl political play that seeks to equate the aggressor with the victim.
Croatian legal team obviously provided no serious evidence to substantiate the claim that there was intent to commit genocide on its territory, in particular by Serbia, even though acts of genocide were committed and were widespread. When a legal team whose duty it is to provide evidence that substantiates claims in court fails to choose the proving evidence to present to the court from the mountain of evidence available then you know that sabotage is afoot.
The International Court took into consideration all the evidence related to each point of the definition of genocide and ruled that there was no evidence to support the claim. How just is the ruling? The only “justness” would seem to arise from the fact that such a ruling was sculptured in advance of the trial, which would utilise political manoeuvring in changing the name of the defendant – from FRY to Serbia – thus ensuring Serbia a ground to argue that it, as a state, was not responsible, not a subscriber to the UN Genocide Convention, to any acts of genocide perpetrated between 1991 and April 1992 (and this was the time when both the intent and the ferocity of acts of genocide were committed systematically in Croatia by the Serbia/Montenegro led FRY, which controlled the Yugoslav People’s Army of former Yugoslavia). Also, by ensuring that evidence presented by the Croatian side in court was both lacking and often unacceptable (e.g. unsigned affidavits or statements!).
According to the United Nations International Court of Justice, the acts of genocide established in the court all happened without special intent of genocide!
The more powerful International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had already established a lot of facts of Serb aggression, which included numerous and systematically perpetrated criminal acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing of Croats and other non-Serbs. At present the ICTY is considering the case of Goran Hadzic, former president of the so-called «Republic of Serbian Krajina /Republika Srpska Krajina» («RSK») in Croatia where a great deal of the acts of genocide were committed against Croats and Croatia prior to April 1992. Milan Martic, another former president of the unrecognized Republic of Serbia Krajina, is serving a 35-year sentence according to the Tribunal’s ruling. Milan Babic, the third president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, admitted guilt and made a plea bargain with the prosecution. He testified against his former associates and the Serbia’s leadership. Babic was found hanged in the prison cell in 2006, an apparent murder. The fact that he killed himself was supported by evidence.
It seems that a great deal of effort was applied by the so called international justice to come up with a new version of events that took place during the former Yugoslavia conflict to let anybody meddle in and change the story. But this effort was evidently propped up by certain Croatians who held high positions soon after the death of Croatian first president Franjo Tudjman in 1999 and these were the Croatians most of whom stood by communist Yugoslavia and did not want an independent Croatia in the first place.
In support of Serbia’s counterclaim, the court heard that there was no Serbia as a separate state at the time (1991-April 1992) as it was part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), which was later transitioned into Serbia and Montenegro.
The Court never explained why all of a sudden Serbia became a defendant in that case which was originally filed against FRY and Croatia’s legal team failed to adequately argue similarities between the two, i.e. in essence, inseparable legal entities when it comes to the people responsible for crimes committed.
On 5 February 2015, Zagreb1 television program “Veterans Today” interviewed prof. dr. Zvonimir Separovic, who was the justice minister in Croatia at the time the original lawsuit for genocide against FRY was filed with the ICJ in 1999. Dr. Separovic compiled the genocide claim with the aid of David Rivkin, a leading US attorney. Dr Separovic stated that the Claim had then been changed starting with Ivica Racan’s social democrats government (former League of Communists) and subsequently changed even more to suit Serbia – he points the finger at Stjepan Ivanisevic (Racan’s justice minister), Ivan Simonovic (Racan’s deputy foreign minister) Ivan and Ivo Josipovic (former social democrat/League of Communists, attorney and current outgoing president of Croatia). This team, along with their political partners had changed the original Claim filed by Croatia in 1999. They removed FRY as the defendant i.e. removed Montenegro from the equation (even though quite a number of Montenegrin officers and soldiers served in the Yugoslav People’s Army at the time of aggression against Croatia) and inserted Serbia alone.
Not only that, this team of legal professionals had removed the Second pleading from the original Claim, which dr Separovic says had in it that Serbia ordered the withdrawal of some 100,000 Serb nationals from Croatia, after the acts of genocide against Croats had been committed and the removal of this point from Croatia’s original Claim was, according to dr Separovic, done with view to enabling Serbia to mount a counterclaim in which it (wrongfully) said some 200,000 of Serbs were forcibly deported from Croatia in 1995.
A book/memoir written by Radivoj Cvjeticanin (“Zagreb Indoors”), a former Serbia’s ambassador to Croatia, from page 231 reportedly talks about meetings with Ivan Simonovic and Ivo Josipovic which point to the Croatian players seeking advice and instructions from Serbia as to how to approach and what to say at the international court of justice – how to best relativise the Claim to aid Serbia!
There’s only ten days left of Ivo Josipovic’s presidency in Croatia and he is contemplating his future career, including returning to his previous position as law professor at University Of Zagreb. This would seem a most opportune time to commence lustration in Croatia and prevent any such person as is Josipovic taking up an important seat in the country’s education system, or any other system for that matter. The disloyalty to Croatia evidenced in the above is scandalous and unacceptable. One must ask: how can a law professional (Ivo Josipovic) who has evidently been heavily involved in sculpturing the human injustice that came out of the ICJ judgment (through adverse changes to original lawsuit Claim and through biased and inadequate selection of evidential material to be presented to the court as evidence) be permitted to represent Croatia in any official capacity at all? Surely, this cannot be permitted.
And so what of the ICJ decision in the case of genocide Croatia v Serbia? There’s no appeal to it. The only things left are for Croatia to continue prosecuting individual war crimes suspects, to remove the impunity for war crimes or suspected war crimes given to thousands of Serbs, to pursue rigorously the destiny of the many war victims still recorded as missing and for researchers and historians and lawyers, who have no need to use political compromises, to keep addressing the facts and justice for the victims. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)