Croatia welcomes ICJ decision, hopes to win case

Other News Materials 18 November 2008 17:52 (UTC +04:00)

Croatian authorities on Tuesday welcomed the ruling by the International Court of Justice that it has jurisdiction to hear a claim by Croatia that Serbia committed genocide during the 1991-95 war.

President Stjepan Mesic told state television HTV that he was expecting such a ruling and that he hoped Croatia would win the trial, reported dpa.

"We won in round one. Now we have round two and that is to prove genocide in Croatia," Minister of Justice Ivan Simonovic told daily 24sata. "I'm positive that we have strong arguments," he said.

Zagreb claims Belgrade fomented and supported a Serb insurgency following Croatia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Croatia says 20,000 people died and 55,000 were wounded during the three years of war which ended in the defeat of the Serbs.

Zagreb is demanding compensation for the damages it claims Serbia is responsible for.

The ICJ, based in The Hague, ruled it had jurisdiction over Croatia's claim and rejected all Serbian claims that it was not competent to hear the 1999 case filed by Croatia against Yugoslavia.