A Bosnian woman prays at the graves of Srebrenica victims on February 25 (AFP)
February 26, 2007 -- The United Nations' highest court ruled today that Serbia was not directly responsible for genocide or conspiring to commit genocide during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Serbia should have made efforts to halt massacres in Bosnia, and said the killing of nearly 8,000 Muslims by Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica amounted to genocide -- the first time the ICJ has called an event genocide.
However, The Hague-based court said that Bosnian Serb forces operated with a degree of independence from Belgrade, and that the Srebrenica killings "cannot be attributable" to Serbia.
Bosnia had accused Yugoslavia of genocide and demanded financial compensation, but the court said Belgrade would not have to pay reparations.
Earlier, Judge Roslyn Higgins said Montenegro is no longer part of the case because Serbia alone had assumed the "legal identity" of the former Yugoslavia.
The ruling comes with Serbia still facing challenges linked to the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
Closer ties with the European Union have been frozen over Belgrade's failure to hand over war crimes suspects for trial.
Serbia also faces final talks with the United Nations on the future of Kosovo, with the province heading toward near-statehood despite Serbian opposition.
(compiled from agency reports)