The United Nations’ top court has rejected rival claims of genocide by Croatia and Serbia in a ruling Tuesday over their wars in the 1990s that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia, Reuters reported.
Peter Tomka, president of the International Court of Justice, was quoted as saying that forces of both countries had committed crimes during the conflict, but that the intent to commit genocide — by “destroying a population in whole or in part” — had not been proven against either country.
Following the ruling, Serbia and Croatia said they hope to begin a new chapter in their relations.
“This marks the end of one page on the past, and I’m convinced we will start a new page on the future, much brighter and better,” Serbian Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic said in the Hague.
Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said she hopes the ruling would contribute to “closing this historic chapter and moving on to a better and safer period for people in this part of Europe.”
Serbia and Croatia had filed cases against each other after the break-up of Yugoslavia into seven states in wars that lasted for much of the 1990s and left more than 130,000 dead.
Croatia filed its case against Belgrade in 1999, while Serbia filed a counter-case in 2010.
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