This Article identifies and critically analyzes the contributions the International Court of Justice (ICJ) made to the international law against genocide via the judgment in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia) of February 3, 2015. This Article elaborates on the concept of genocide—a term that has originally been coined after the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust—and the protection against this “crime of crimes” under international law. The analysis section of this Article refers to the historical and procedural context of the dispute between Croatia and Serbia in the case, which originates from the violent conflict between the two states following the dissolution of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). The main section of this Article criticizes the most important aspects of the ICJ’s judgment, especially the Court’s assessment of the constituent elements of genocide, the objective and the subjective components, while also taking into account the ICJ’s prior judgment in the Bosnian Genocide Case of 2007. The Article concludes that the ICJ’s reasoning is in line with its prior judgment. However, the Article criticizes that the Court has missed opportunities to clarify on questions of jurisdiction and of its relationship with International Criminal Tribunals. It also failed to shed light on the interpretation of the crime of genocide as an international wrongful act of states with respect to many important and highly controversial issues, thus missing the opportunity to establish clearer guidelines for many disputed aspects in the determination of genocide in future disputes.
Recommended CitationInes Gillich, Between Light and Shadow: The International Law Against Genocide in the International Court of Justice’s Judgement in Croatia v. Serbia (2015), 28 Pace Int'l L. Rev. 117 (2016)
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