“Would it make any sense to ask Jewish victims to produce a document in which Nazi Germany explicitly ordered the Holocaust? Of course not. And yet, the International Court of Justice expected Bosnia to do the impossible — to produce a document in which Serbia explicitly ordered the Genocide. Does this make any sense?” – Daniel Toljaga
“Why was it not enough to prove that the Bosnian Serb military leadership was financed and paid by Serbia and that it was tightly connected to Serbia’s political and military leadership?” – Judge Antonio Cassese
Author: Daniel Toljaga
Distinguished Italian jurist, whose leadership of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) helped propel forward the Bosnian Genocide trials, died October 22nd at his home in Florence. Judge Antonio Cassese, 74, was the first president of the ICTY. He will be remembered as a man of utmost integrity and a man who spoke the truth.
May he rest in peace. His leadership of the International Criminal Tribunal has ensured the accountability for the most serious violations of the international humanitarian law.
The Washington Post describes him as “a prolific academic writer and professor for several decades at the University of Florence, where he established a reputation as a top scholar of international law.” The same source notes that “In 1996, a New York Times reporter overheard him explode in frustration about Serbian leaders’ failure to cooperate with the tribunal and the message their intransigence sent to other dictators. ‘Go ahead! Kill, torture, maim! Commit acts of genocide!’ he shouted in a court hallway. ‘You may enjoy impunity!’
In 2007, Judge Cassese sharply criticized the controversial judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which pronounced that genocide had been committed at Srebrenica, but exonerated Serbia from direct responsibility for the annihilation of 8,000 Bosniak boys and men of this beleaguered, UN-protected, “safe haven” (holding, instead, that it ‘merely’ failed to prevent genocide).
The judicial standard of proof was unreasonable, to say the least. Would it make any sense to ask Jewish victims to produce a document in which Nazi Germany explicitly ordered the Holocaust? Of course not. And yet, the International Court of Justice expected Bosnia to do the impossible — to produce a document in which Serbia explicitly ordered the Genocide. Does this make any sense?
Protesting in the Guardian on 27 February 2007 (the day after the ICJ pronounced its verdict), Judge Cassese argued that the judgment was seriously flawed, questioning its logic: Read more of this post