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ICJ/597
21 March 2000

WORLD COURT EXTENDS TIME FOR WRITTEN PLEADINGS IN CASE CONCERNING APPLICATION OF GENOCIDE CONVENTION

21 March 2000


Press Release
ICJ/597


WORLD COURT EXTENDS TIME FOR WRITTEN PLEADINGS IN CASE CONCERNING APPLICATION OF GENOCIDE CONVENTION

20000321

THE HAGUE, 17 March (ICJ) -- The President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has extended the time-limits for the filing of written pleadings in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Yugoslavia).

By an Order dated 10 March 2000, President Gilbert Guillaume extended to 14 September 2000, the time-limit for the filing of a Memorial by the Republic of Croatia and to 14 September 2001, the time-limit for the filing of a Counter- Memorial by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This extension was made on the request of Croatia and after the views of Yugoslavia had been ascertained.

The subsequent procedure has been reserved for further decision.

Background information

On 2 July 1999, the Republic of Croatia instituted proceedings before the Court against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for violations of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide alleged to have been committed between 1991 and 1995.

In its Application, Croatia contends that “by directly controlling the activity of its armed forces, intelligence agents, and various paramilitary detachments, on the territory of Croatia, in the Knin region, eastern and western Slavonia, and Dalmatia, [Yugoslavia] is liable [for] the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Croatian citizens from these areas, as well as extensive property destruction -- and is required to provide reparation for the resulting damage”. Croatia goes on to state that “in addition, by directing, encouraging, and urging Croatian citizens of Serb ethnicity in the Knin region to evacuate the area in 1995, as Croatia reasserted its legitimate governmental authority, [Yugoslavia] engaged in conduct amounting to a second round of ‘ethnic cleansing’”.

According to Croatia, “the aggression waged by [Yugoslavia]” resulted in 20,000 dead, 55,000 injured and over 3,000 individuals still unaccounted for. Furthermore, 10 per cent of the country's housing capacity is alleged to have been destroyed, while cultural monuments, historical sites and Croatian catholic churches were also destroyed or damaged. Croatia further claims that a great number of explosive devices of various kinds were planted in Croatia, currently rendering some 300,000 hectares of arable land unusable, and that around 25 per

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cent of its total economic capacity, including major facilities, such as the Adriatic pipeline, was damaged or destroyed.

Accordingly, Croatia requests the Court to adjudge and declare that Yugoslavia “has breached its legal obligations” to Croatia under the Genocide Convention and that it “has an obligation to pay to Croatia, in its own right and as parens patriae for its citizens, reparations for damages to persons and property, as well as to the Croatian economy and environment caused by the foregoing violations of international law in a sum to be determined by the Court”.

As a basis for the jurisdiction of the Court, Croatia invokes Article IX of the Genocide Convention to which, it states, both Croatia and Yugoslavia are parties. That Article provides that disputes between contracting parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfilment of the Convention shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice.

By an Order of 14 September 1999, the Court had fixed 14 March and 14 September 2000 as the time-limits for the filing of a Memorial by Croatia and a Counter-Memorial by Yugoslavia, respectively.

The full text of the Order will shortly be available on the Court's Web site at the following address: .

Information Department: Arthur Witteveen, First Secretary, tel: + 31 70 302 23 36; e-mail address: .

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For information media. Not an official record.