Genocide lawsuits hearings start on March 3

The hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in the case of Croatia's genocide lawsuit and Serbia's countersuit begins on March 3.

Source: Politika

Among the first witnesses will be Sonja Biserko, the Belgrade-based daily Politika writes.

As this newspaper learned, Serbia will in the first week of hearings examine witnesses called by Croatia, Biserko, president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights NGO, among them.

On March 3 Croatia will present its case, and the Croatian team will through March 7 present evidence which should substantiate the allegations in the complaint.

From March 10 until 14, Serbia will put forward the facts which it hopes will counter the Croatian charges.

On completion of the second round of the hearings, the Serbian counterclaim will be presented. During the five-day hearing the legal team will try to prove that Croatia committed genocide against its ethnic Serb population during the 1995 Operation Storm.

The proceedings should be completed in late March.

In addition to this, the daily noted, the court will address another issue raised by Serbia, which filed an objection with the court stating that it cannot be tried for crimes committed in 1991, because it did not exist as a separate state at that time.

So far it is not known whether the court will decide on this before or after the genocide lawsuits hearings. Should the Serbian appeal be accepted, the trial on genocide claims would be automatically dismissed.

It is also possible that judges will choose to first tackle the details of each complaint - that is, determine whether the crime of genocide had in fact been committed.

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