Holding States Accountable for the Ultimate Human Rights Abuse: A Review of the International Court of Justice Bosnian Genocide Case

Human Rights Brief, Vol. 11, No. 3, p. 30, 2007

14 Pages Posted: 8 May 2009

See all articles by Scott Shackelford

Scott Shackelford

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law; Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs; Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research; Stanford Center for Internet and Society; Stanford Law School

Date Written: May 6, 2009

Abstract

What is genocide? Can a State be held judicially accountable for its commission? What affirmative obligations do States have to prevent genocide? The International Court of Justice (ICJ) offered new answers to these perennial questions on February 26 when it held in the Application of the Genocide Convention (“Bosnian Genocide”) case that: (1) Serbia violated its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (“Genocide Convention”) to prevent genocide in Srebrenica (the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II), but did not have the requisite specific intent to commit genocide, and; (2) Serbia must fully cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). While clarifying State accountability, the decision has raised fundamental questions regarding the proliferation of tribunals in international law and the extent to which States now have affirmative obligations to prevent genocide.

Keywords: Genocide, international tribunal, international court, international criminal law, incitement to genocide

Suggested Citation

Shackelford, Scott J., Holding States Accountable for the Ultimate Human Rights Abuse: A Review of the International Court of Justice Bosnian Genocide Case (May 6, 2009). Human Rights Brief, Vol. 11, No. 3, p. 30, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1400395

Scott J. Shackelford (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Law ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs ( email )

79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research ( email )

Wylie Hall 105
100 South Woodlawn
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Stanford Center for Internet and Society ( email )

Palo Alto, CA
United States

Stanford Law School ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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