Expert expects both genocide suits to be rejected
Both Croatian lawsuit and Serbian counter-lawsuit for genocide before the International Court of Justice will be discarded, Tibor Varadi believes.Source: Tanjug
This international law professor and academician told the Hungarian-language daily from Novi Sad Magyar Szo that "terrible crimes occurred in Croatia in the beginning of the 1990s, but unlike Bosnia-Herzegovina, the (Hague) Tribunal in the case of Croatia did not file a genocide lawsuit."
The ICJ is due to announce its decision on February 3.
"Not only has no one has been convicted of genocide in Croatia, but no one was sued for genocide. Therefore, it is unlikely that the ICJ will find either Serbia or Croatia guilty, because it has jurisdiction only ver cases of genocide," said Varadi.
He added that the focus on states rather than individuals has resulted in a "pretty strange atmosphere, where national symbols became priorities."
According to Varadi, "many failed to see a dispute between Croatia and Serbia in this process, but rather saw a Croatian-Serbian dispute, forgetting that a judgment does not apply to nations, but to states and their citizens."
"If, say, Serbia is declared guilty and ordered to pay war reparations, then these reparations would be paid also by Hungarians in Vojvodina, as well as the citizens of Serb nationality. And if by any chance Croatia is declared guilty, the compensation would also be paid by Serb citizens of Croatia, as by all other citizens," said Varadi.
He believes that "a large part of the public associated unreal expectations with this process."
"Many have been expecting that it will finally be determined which of the two peoples is the hero, and who is the victim, that is, the villain. Nothing of the kind will be determined and I hope that the judgment will not support such expectations. There were, and there are Serb criminals just as there are Hungarian, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovak, Romanian, German, French and American criminals. Also, all nations have their heroes. We need to think about individuals," emphasized Varadi.
In his opinion, if the ICJ dismisses both lawsuits, that would have "a sobering effect" by way of "helping to see not only the national symbols, but also the reality."
"Of course, if both claims are rejected, that does not mean that nothing happened which should be condemned. Terrible things were happening, even if they did not reach the level of genocide. We cannot forget about individual responsibility. But if we turn from symbols to specific people, it becomes possible to see one another as neighbors," he was quoted as saying.