The International Court of Justice has said that the 1995 massacre of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica was genocide, confirming an earlier verdict by the UN war crimes court for the former
Rosalyn Higgins, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) president, while delivering the ruling on Monday said: "The court concludes ... there were acts of genocide committed by members of the Bosnian Serb army [in Srebrenica]."
It is the first time that the ICJ, the UN's top court, has ruled that an event was genocide, which was made an international crime under a 1948 treaty after the Nazi Holocaust.
It is also the first time that a state has been tried for genocide.
However, in the same ruling the court has also said that the mass killings in other parts of
"The court finds it has not been established by [
In its ruling, the court said that
If the final verdict had been in favour of
More than 100,000 people died in the Balkans war between 1992 and 1995; it triggered the break-up of the former
About 8,000 Muslims from Srebrenica and surrounding villages were killed in July 1995. The bodies of about half have been found in more than 80 mass graves in the area.
About 50 people demonstrated outside the court on Monday in favour of a genocide verdict.
"A ruling that
Serbiacommitted genocide in Bosniameans everything to me," said 34-year-old Hedija Krdzic who lost her husband, father and grandfather at Srebrenica in eastern . Bosnia
"Without such a ruling I fear that one day the massacre will be forgotten."
Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher reported from Sarejevo that the verdict was received by the Bosnians with "anger, resentment and even resignation".
"Because the Bosnians believed that they took the action not just for themselves but for every country threatened by genocide.
"Now they feel they are badly let down by the world court." Agencies