SARAJEVO: Bosnia on Thursday asked the United Nations’ top court to review its 2007 ruling that cleared Serbia of genocide during the 1990s civil war.
“At this moment the delivery (of the appeal) is on the way to the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ),” Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, told reporters in Sarajevo.
Many officials in Bosnia had argued against the move, saying it could spark a new political crisis in the ethnically divided Balkan country.
Some Bosnian Serbs have said they will consider a boycott of central institutions over the move.
Mladen Ivanic, the Serb member of the presidency, said the request should have been decided by the tripartite presidency as a whole.
“I am afraid that we have entered a really serious crisis,” Ivanic said at a separate press conference.
But Izetbegovic argued there was no need for the presidency to decide, saying it had been requested by a lawyer the presidency appointed in 2002.
In the original case launched by the Muslim-dominated government of Bosnia in 1993, Sarajevo accused Belgrade of masterminding a genocide through widespread “ethnic cleansing” during the war, which claimed more than 100,000 lives.
On February 26, 2007, the ICJ found only one act of genocide—the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica—and said there was not enough evidence to suggest that Belgrade was directly responsible.
Serb forces captured the eastern town of Srebrenica in July 1995, in the final months of the war, then summarily killed its males in Europe’s worst single atrocity since World War II.
The ICJ did find, however, that Serbia, which gave political and military backing to Bosnian Serbs, had breached international law by failing to prevent the slaughter.
But Izetbegovic has said Bosnia has “new arguments,” notably those presented during the trial of Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb wartime army chief who is awaiting judgement at a UN tribunal.
The 10-year deadline for Bosnia to request a review of the decision was set to expire on February 26.