Everyone off on technicalities?

B92 is running a statement by the lawyer Tibor Varady regarding two suits involving the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ: 1992-2003), now the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (SCG: 2003-sometime soon). The suits involve a genocide charge filed against SRJ by Bosnia-Hercegovina and a genocide charge filed against NATO by SRJ.

Mr Varady's basic argument in the suit filed by Bosnia-Hercegovina is that the International Court of Justice does not have jurisdiction in the case because SRJ is not the legal successor of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ: 1945-1991), and therefore not a signatory to the conventions that give the court authority. What he is hoping is that the court will find that SRJ did not have standing to sue NATO for that reason, which would make it possible to argue that Bosnia-Hercegovina could not sue SRJ for the same reason.

Did you get all that? It's all a lot of good sophist fun if you are a lawyer. The essence of it is that if Mr Varady is right, the outcome does not depend on the merits of the cases.

Update: Good thing that last sentence was premised "if Mr Varady is right," because it seems like he is not. In February 2003, the ICJ ruled that the issue of successor representation of SFRJ in the UN could not be raised as a substantive argument regarding jurisdiction, because it did not affect SRJ's obligation to abide by international law. Thanks to Andras Riedlmayer for drawing my attention to the ICJ ruling, which was announced here.

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