Martha Heinemann Bixby on the ICJ Decision
Feb-26-07 05:34 pm
Over at Lives in the Balance, Martha Heinemann Bixby has the following assessment of the decision of the ICJ:
So it appears that the international consensus is that Srebrenica is the only incidence of genocide in the horrific violence of the early ‘90s in Bosnia.
The problems with the case are almost too many to list here. The most important problem, though, was that of timing. The case was first brought by Bosnia against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1993 - during the war and before the Srebrenica massacre of July, 1995. Fourteen years later the court has finally issued its decision - at a time when the plaintiff was no longer the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, nor Serbia and Montenegro (which it was when the court finally started hearing the case)... now it is just Serbia. Of course the name of the country doesn’t matter as much as its ultimate responsibility for genocide, but it does highlight how very silly this extraordinarily long wait has been.
In the end the decision doesn’t seem to be all the monumental. In fact, it just represents more of the same failings of the United Nations systems as a whole - bureaucratic delays, biased participants, and just doing things 14 years to late to stop the slaughter of innocent people. Since bringing cases to the ICJ is the only action states can take to stop another country from committing genocide against them (other than having the Security Council decide that the situation is a threat to international peace) the way this case was handled is a big disappointment. I’m sure it will dicourage other states from bringing similar claims.Bixby speaks much sense. I have to wonder if the practice of other international courts that seem to have been much more successful-- such as the European Court of Human Rights-- could teach the ICJ something about efficiency and fairness.
About the editor:
Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.
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