Genocide, Territory, and the Geopolitics of International Adjudication: The Judgment of the International Court of Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro
Khan, Mahmood Nawaz
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Khan, Mahmood Nawaz
Human rights advocates have championed the establishment of a regime of international legal accountability for grave violations of human rights, including genocide. Despite recent advances in establishing a regime of responsibility for individuals, when the International Court of Justice pronounced its 2007 judgment on the first case of state responsibility for genocide, Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro, it exonerated Serbia of the most serious charges. Key to the Court's judgment was its spatialized definition of genocide as 'destruction in part' and its acceptance of Serbia's calculated strategy of legal immunization of establishing the Bosnian territory it sought to annex as a formally separate political entity. Considering the Court's latitude of interpretation regarding these spatial and territorial factors in light of the law, this thesis argues that geopolitical considerations influenced a judgment that will greatly limit the future possibility of any state or individual being found responsible for genocide.
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