The Congress of North American Bosniaks, an umbrella organization representing the interests of 350,000 American and Canadian Bosniaks, applauds the decision of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to remove Judge Christoph Flügge from the Karadžić’s case.
Judge Flügge made headlines when he questioned the Srebrenica genocide in an interview given to the German weekly magazine “Der Spiegel”. According to the article, Judge Flügge stated that “the term genocide to define these crimes is unnecessary” instead preferring to refer to it as “mass murder”. He claimed that there was no reason to differentiate between “a group that is murdered for their nationality, religion, ethnicity, or race, as is regulated by the Hague Statute” and a group that “happens to be gathered at a specific location”.
Judge Flügge was unable to show impartiality to the case and was in a clear violation of The Hague’s Rule 15(A). His statement also directly violated previous ICTY rulings which confirmed that the atrocities committed against Bosniaks in Srebrenica constitute genocide, in accordance with the definition from the Geneva Convention of 1949.
For these reasons, CNAB had requested that the Court remove Judge Flügge from his role in the proceedings against Radovan Karadžić, or in any case dealing specifically with charges of genocide. CNAB is pleased with ICTY’s decision to comply with our request, but we still demand an official apology be issued to the victims who have been hurt by Judge Flügge’s statement.
Let us conclude with the words of honorable Theodor Meron, former presiding judge of the ICTY from his speech deliver in Potočari on 11 July 2005 at the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide:
“By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks], the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general.
They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity. The Bosnian Serb forces were aware, when they embarked on this genocidal venture, that the harm they caused would continue to plague the Bosnian Muslims.
The Appeals Chamber states unequivocally that the law condemns, in appropriate terms, the deep and lasting injury inflicted, and calls the massacre at Srebrenica by its proper name: genocide. Those responsible will bear this stigma, and it will serve as a warning to those who may in future contemplate the commission of such a heinous act.”