The International Court of Justice will deliver its verdict on February 3 on Croatia’s charges of genocide against Serbia, according to a statement Thursday.wpid-law.jpg

Croatia brought the charges in 1999, alleging that Serbia committed genocide with a campaign of ethnic cleansing during the 1991-95 conflict that broke out after its split from Yugoslavia.

More than 13,500 Croats were killed in the conflict, and tens of thousands were wounded or displaced.

Serbia responded with countercharges against Croatia, alleging that it committed genocide against rebelling ethnic Serbs by forcing more than 200,000 of them out of their homes at the end of the war. It said 6,500 Serbs were killed.

The court is to rule only whether there was genocide. If it rules yes, it must decide whether either state may be held responsible for carrying it out or for not doing enough to prevent it.

The Hague-based ICJ is the United Nations’ highest and the only one that can hear cases on charges between countries.

Another UN court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, was formed to try individuals accused of war crimes.

While the tribunal charged and convicted several people for genocide for atrocities in Bosnia, there were no indictments for genocide in the Croatian war.

In 2007, the ICJ ruled that Serbia was not guilty of genocide in Bosnia in the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica but that it had not done enough to prevent it.

The court is unable to pass sentences, but its rulings could have an effect on reparation claims.


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