Izetbegovic moves to launch revision of genocide lawsuit

Bakir Izetbegovic has announced that he would file a request for a revision of the ruling on Bosnia's genocide lawsuit against Serbia.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug
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(Thinkstock)

The Bosniak (Muslim) member of the tripartite Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency said on Friday he would do this on behalf of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tanjug reported.

After two hours of consultations with about a hundred experts, government officials, representatives of the Islamic community and NGOs, Izetbegovic said the general position of the participants was that Bosnia-Herzegovina should initiate a revision of the ruling, Tanjug said.

However, the other two members of the Presidency, representing Serbs and Croats, did not agree to it, Beta reported.

In 2007, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found, ruling on Sarajevo's lawsuit, that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica, but that Serbia was not guilty of participation or complicity.

Reacting to Izetbegovic's move, the foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Igor Crnadak, sent a letter to the ICJ informing the court that Izetbegovic's decision was made outside Bosnian institutions and was therefore not valid, Beta reported.

Crnadak said earlier that Izetbegovic had ordered Bosnian Ambassador to The Hague Mirsada Colakovic not to forward his letter, but that he had managed to get it through using "other channels."

Izetbegovic then issued a statement on Sunday accusing Crnadak of "abusing his position."

"According to the Constitution of [Bosnia and Herzegovina], the foreign minister is not entitled to communicate verbally or in writing with the ICJ in The Hague unless he has been authorized to do so by the decision of the Presidency," said Izetbegovic, adding that there was "no Presidency decision authorizing Crnadak to enter into any written or verbal interaction with the ICJ, and that it was "an unauthorized correspondence with the court, which does not represent the official position of the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina."

In Belgrade, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic reacted by saying the announced revision of the lawsuit was "a difficult and bad decision" for relations between the two countries, "and one that Serbia did nothing to cause."

Vucic told the daily Blic that he was convinced "our state and national interests will be preserved and that we will continue to talk to the leadership of Bosnia-Herzegovina despite everything, in our desire to permanently preserve peace in the Balkans."

Vucic also said he thought Bosnia has lost more with the lawsuit "that Serbia could lose."

His first deputy in the government, Ivica Dacic, who also serves as foreign minister, said the request to review the 2007 ruling was "a private move made by Izetbegovic" and warned that it would have an adverse effect on relations between nations in the region, as it would "fan the flames not only in Bosnia, but also in the region," and also harm Bosnia's internal institutional system.

"This is a private political action by Bakir Izetbegovic. Period! The court should not even consider the initiative. It is a permanent court, handling legal actions between states. Serbia cannot possibly engage in a lawsuit with Bakir Izetbegovic," Dacic told reporters.

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