Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Silence can be deafening

Earlier wonderment about February's decision in Bosnia v. Serbia has only deepened with the New York Times' report on the International Court of Justice's refusal to study unredacted Serbian state documents -- documents that dissenting Judge Awn Shawkat al-Khasawneh, the court's vice president, predicted "would have shed light on the central question." The question, of course, was state responsibility. A majority of the court ruled that the 1995 massacre of more than 7,000 boys and men at Srebrenica constituted genocide, but that the state of Serbia was liable only for failing to prevent, and not for causing the commission of that crime. Anonymous lawyers reportedly have told the Times that the documents -- censored on state secrets grounds -- would have established cause.
Diane Orentlicher, IntLawGrrls' own Beatrice, told the reporter: "'It's a question that nags loudly. Why didn't the court request the full documents? The fact that they were blacked out clearly implies these passages would have made a difference.'"

1 comment:

Beatrice said...

The ICJ's decision first to erect a high burden of proof for proving state responsibility for genocide and then to disable the Applicant (Bosnia) from meeting that burden is indeed perplexing and troubling. I discuss this further at http://www.pulsdemokratije.net/clanak.php?sifra=070410002&lang=en.
Kudos to Marlise Simons for her excellent reporting on this issue.