1. THE GENOCIDE CASE (BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA V. SERBIA) BEFORE THE ICJ IS A HOT TOPIC IN INTERNATIONAL LAW
2. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF SREBRENICA, MUNICIPALITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA.
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1. THE GENOCIDE CASE (BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA V. SERBIA) BEFORE THE ICJ IS A HOT TOPIC IN INTERNATIONAL LAW
By Vahid Sendijarevic
National Congress of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
It was clear from the comments by Judge Bruno Simma of the International Court of Justice given October 22, 2007 at the University of Michigan that the team that led the Genocide lawsuit for Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia led the lawsuit in such a way as to lose.
The genocide lawsuit of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia was presented as a hot topic in international law in the introduction of the seminar given by Judge Bruno Simma at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. The seminar was held in front of a packed lecture hall. There was so much interest in the topic that the lecture hall doors were held open during the lecture so that those for whom there was no room in the lecture hall could listen.
Judge Bruno Simma did not hide the overwhelming responsibility he feels for the first ever lawsuit of one nation against another for genocide. He said that he still had “nightmares” as a result of the entire process and because of the shortcomings of the final decision of the International Court of Justice. He also said that he was still under a duty to the International Court of Justice and because of this duty he could not publicly disclose all that was weighing on him as a result of this historic process; despite this fact, he nonetheless recited some things with which he wrestles in his “nightmares.”
First of all, he said that it is hard to understand that in such a historic lawsuit - one involving genocide and one that will set precedent for all time - that the party bringing the law suit changed the team of lawyers during the process. He mentioned many examples of confusion coming from Bosnia such as who had authorization to lead the lawsuit, etc.
He also said that it is unimaginable that Bosnia and Herzegovina reduced the lawsuit to such narrow grounds, namely that Serbia committed genocide on the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina – leaving only two options for the judgment - total genocide or no genocide at all. He said that this is unimaginable because responsibility for genocide under the Genocide convention is multi-layered. A country that has the opportunity to prevent Genocide and does not, or a country that assists in Genocide, is responsible and answerable for Genocide. Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to claim Serbia’s involvement at many levels, including the claim that Serbia was responsible for not preventing Genocide and that they were complicit in Genocide. He said that it is unbelievable how few resources Bosnia invested in pursuing all available grounds under the Genocide convention against Serbia.
He also expressed his confusion as to why the victims of Genocide were labeled as “non-Serb” population. From his comments one can conclude that the lawsuit did not have the goal of proving Genocide on the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina but rather on a particular religious group. The natural conclusion of his comments is that the lawsuit was administered in such a way as to prove that one nation (Serbia) committed Genocide on a religious group (Muslims) in another country (Bosnia and Herzegovina). At the end of the lecture, he was invited by Bosnians present at the seminar to visit Srebrenica to see first hand the results of Genocide, and to see the Memorial for the victims of genocide which has no reference to the nationality or ethnicity of the victims of Genocide and which has no reference to the aggression and the genocide. He was also told that the Memorial, void of these references, is the best evidence of the fact that those who committed Genocide achieved their goal.
He said that Bosnia and Herzegovina relied mostly on evidence from the cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) which was not enough to prove the limited scope of the lawsuit, namely Genocide by Serbia on a religious group in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From this statement one can conclude that victims of genocide should thank Carle Del Ponte, a prosecutor of the ICTY, for most of what Bosnia and Herzegovina got from the final judgment of the Court.
He had a particularly hard time talking about the reparations asked for in the suit. He said that the Court could not have come to a different decision other than to reject the claim, and he said that he struggles with the fact that the victims of Genocide have a small chance of receiving any material reparations. When the floor was open for questions, an audience member commented that the Genocide in Srebrenica, which was confirmed by the decision of the International Court of Justice, took place on a people and territory under the jurisdiction of the United Nations as a Safe Zone established under U.N. resolution and because of this, justice is still possible. Justice can still be achieved by returning Srebrenica to U.N. jurisdiction under the principle of RESTITUTIO IN INTEGRUM which is firmly established under international norms under the principle of JUS COGENES. Judge Bruno Simma said that he could not give his opinion on this matter because of his continuing responsibilities to the Court. He was given a copy of “Decision about the return of the Municipality of Srebrenica to the sole jurisdiction of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Municipality of Srebrenica was before the aggression and genocide” (see article #2 below). He expressed his thanks and said he would read it.
The comments of Judge Bruno Simma that day in Ann Arbor are a testament to the fact that the team which led the lawsuit for Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia led the lawsuit in such a way as to lose. The Court was not asked to find and confirm that Serbia committed aggression on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor was the Court asked to conclude that Serbia aided and failed to prevent genocide. Neither was the Court asked to void the agreements signed as a result of aggression and Genocide, and thereby to return to the legal status as it was before the aggression and Genocide. The opposite took place; the lawsuit was presented without opposition to the Dayton Agreement and “Republika Srpska” which were the result of aggression and genocide.
It is now clear why the team was changed and why Prof. Boyle was removed from the team. Prof. Boyle, in the original lawsuit fought for the citizens of Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as victims of genocide regardless on their ethnicity and religion. It is also clear based on the comments of Judge Bruno Simma that the judges of the International Court of Justice did all they could for the victims of Genocide under the limited claims and evidence of the lawsuit. In the end, the Court’s decision gave Bosnia and Herzegovina what Prof. Boyle and Carla Del Ponte had secured with their work. Prof. Boyle fought for and got from the Court at the very inception of the lawsuit the declaration of Serbia’s responsibility to prevent the Genocide; and Carla Del Ponte fought hard for the decision that Genocide took place in Srebrenica.
2. DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF SREBRENICA, MUNICIPALITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
The Parliament of the Municipality of Srebrenica in the session of the Parliament held in Srebrenica on March ----, 2007, declares that from this date forward, Srebrenica is an INDEPENDENT MUNICIPALITY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Pursuant to the plan to carve up the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, officially signed in Paris in December 1995 (“Paris Agreement”), Srebrenica and its people were sacrificed. Genocide was committed against the people of Srebrenica. This has been confirmed by the International Court of Justice in its decision of February 26, 2007, where it found that Serbia failed to prevent genocide in Srebrenica commited by the Army of Republika Srpska.
The Paris Agreement and Republika Srpska that it created were built on the genocide committed in Srebrenica. Without the genocide in Srebrenica there would be no Paris Agreement and therefore, the resulting Paris Agreement is illegal and invalid. Republika Srpska, which was formed based on the Paris Agreement is therefore a genocidal statelet without any legal basis. Since both have always been genocidal we repudiate both. Therefore, we the people of the Municipality of Srebrenica declare our independence from this genocidal Republika Srpska and the Paris Agreement. We have always and still remain loyal to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our sole loyalty is to the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Constitution. Therefore, we reinstate the laws and the Constitution of the Republic of Bosnian and Herzegovina.
The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was never legally terminated, and it is for this reason that we recognize that the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Constitution are still in force here in Srebrenica. We, the people of Srebrenica, will be applying the laws and constitution, and flying the flag of the Republic. We will be a part of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina like Brcko District, but will be applying the laws of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
From the beginning of the aggression on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 1992, until February 1993, the defense forces of the Republic in Srebrenica successfully resisted the aggression from Serbia and Montenegro (the rump Yugoslavia). In that period, it is estimated that about 1800 residence of Srebrenica, mostly civilians, died as victims of “ethnic cleansing.” Subsequent to a major offensive carried out by three corps of the Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA) at the beginning of February 1993, UNPROFOR forces came to Srebrenica. The UN Security Council adopted Resolution S/RES/819 by which Srebrenica was proclaimed a UN Protected Zone, and at the same time a demilitarization agreement was signed. Unfortunately “demilitarization” practically meant the disarming of the defenders of Srebrenica, and not the forces of the aggressor.
The result of disarming Srebrenica is that in July 1995, the UN Protected Srebrenica became the largest killing site in Europe since World War II, and about 8,500 men, women, and children were brutally murdered there.
Subsequently, through the “General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina” which was agreed upon in Dayton, Ohio in the United States, and of which the official and final version was signed in Paris, France at the end of 1995, the perpetrators of genocide were rewarded with 49% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina – the so-called “Republika Srpska” – in which was included their so-called sovereignty over Srebrenica, thereby granting the aggressors power over the victims of genocide.
By the UN Charter, the United Nations were obligated to protect its member state, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from aggression and genocide, and not to reward the perpetrator of genocide with territory of the victim state.
Genocide occurred in Srebrenica. It is on this genocide that the Paris Agreement and Republika Srpska were illegally built.
In several criminal prosecutions before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague, the court has confirmed that the crime of genocide occurred in Srebrenica, e.g. judgments in the cases of General Krstic, Colonel Blagojevic.
Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and ICTY President Judge Theodor Meron acknowledged the genocide in Srebrenica when they appeared before the Security Council less than a month before the 10th Anniversary of the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica.
In 2005, the United States Congress adopted a resolution acknowledging that genocide was committed in Srebrenica.
Most decisively, on February 27, 2006, the International Court of Justice rendered its decision in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro and announced that the Court: “Finds that Serbia has violated the obligation to prevent genocide, under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in respect of the genocide that occurred in Srebrenica in July 1995.” The Court confirmed that genocide was committed by the Army of Republika Srpska and that Serbia had an obligation to prevent it.
Victims of Genocide are still suffering at the hands of their killers
The governing bodies that are currently responsible for the most vital aspects of Srebrenica are in Banja Luka, the capitol of Republika Srpska, which means that power over the people in Srebrenica is in hands of those who committed the genocide. As a result, the people of Srebrenica are unable to exercise their most basic rights and are constantly subjected to “quiet” genocide carried out through insidious methods.
Furthermore, the post war dual citizenship legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, proclaimed by then UN High Representative in B&H, Carl Westendrop, on December 23, 1997, and enacted on January 1, 1998 seeks to finalize the genocide that occurred in Srebrenica. This legislation strips the survivors of genocide of Bosnian citizenship if they have accepted citizenship of the country that hosted them as refugees. This legislation seeks to accomplish through law what the aggressors could not accomplish through force and genocide. It seeks to forever and permanently remove the Srebrenica people from their home.
Once a census takes place, the ethnic structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina will forever be changed and this will finalize the goals of genocide—the people of Srebrenica will be permanently “ethnically cleansed.” Therefore, We, the people of Srebrenica, still claim our citizenship under the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
THE NEW CONSTITUTION & REPUBLIKA SRPSKA WERE NEVER, NOR ARE THEY NOW LEGAL
The Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was never abandoned. Annex 4 of the Paris Agreement, which contains a new constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, never passed through the procedures mandated by the Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and therefore, as a constitution it is invalid.
Furthermore, according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment for the Crime of Genocide, genocide cannot be the basis for creating a new state and constitution.
THE LAWS AND CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA RE-INSTATED
The existing state of matters in Srebrenica is nothing more than an attempt to legalize the genocide that occurred.
Therefore, from this day of March __, 2007, the laws and Constitutional of the Republic of Bosnia ad Herzegovina are reinstated and the powers of the genocidal Republika Srpska cease to apply in the Municipality of Srebrenica.
The area of the Municipality of Srebrenica will be ruled by the valid laws of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to which we have always remained loyal. The application of the laws and Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue until a new, legitimate Constitution of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is established. Until then, Srebrenica will be a separate district in the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but will be governed by the Constitution and Laws of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Parliament of the Municipality of Srebrenica will in the future as necessary enact laws consistent with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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November 26, 2007