Serbia "cannot lose" in mutual genocide lawsuits

The verdict in the trial before the International Court of Justice on Croatian and Serbian genocide lawsuits is expected in a year's time, says Rasim Ljajić.

Source: B92, Tanjug

Serbia's outgoing deputy prime minister at the same time expressed his confidence that Serbia "cannot lose the dispute."

"I am more than convinced that we cannot lose that dispute, and that Croatia cannot prove that genocide has taken place," Ljajić said on Thursday.

He reiterated his belief that Croatia lacked the political courage to withdraw the lawsuit.

The political leadership did have the will for that, but feared public reactions to a withdrawal of the lawsuit, he explained.

"Serbia was fully prepared to withdraw the lawsuit unconditionally, but the other side was not ready to do the same," Ljajić said.

The trial before the International Court of Justice will last a month - according to established procedure, Croatia - which was the first to file its lawsuit - will present its arguments first, after which Serbia - which filed a countersuit - will do the same, Ljajić said, adding that the verdict is expected in a year's time.

Ljajić added that Serbia's legal team is fully prepared for the trial before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which will start on March 3.

Croatia filed its charges of genocide on July 2, 1999, demanding financial compensation in the amount determined by the court, punishment for all war criminals, information about missing persons and return of stolen cultural heritage.

Serbia filed its countersuit on January 4, 2010, accusing Croatia of genocide and ethnic cleansing that affected 230,000 Serbs during Operation Storm.

Serbia wants the court to order Croatia to punish those responsible, pay compensation to Croatian Serbs for their losses and provide legal conditions for a safe return of Serb refugees to their homes and normal life.


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