MEMORANDUM ISSUED BY THE I.P.O. ON THE APPLICABILITY OF THE CONVENTION ON THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE OF DECEMBER 9, 1948
Vienna, 19 July 1995/K/JC/14883/c-is
By having failed to live up to their legal commitments under their own resolutions for the creation of "safe areas" for Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica and Zepa, the permanent members of the Security Council have become accomplices to the crime of genocide against the Muslim people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Those member states of the Security Council, among them the USA and the UK, gave guarantees for the safety of the Muslim citizens in those areas in resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and on the condition of disarming the Muslims in this area. They have now left the people without any defence and they have de facto assisted the Serb occupation army in carrying out its policy of "ethnic cleansing" and in committing atrocities against the defenseless civilian population.
Art. I of the Genocide Convention states that genocide "is a crime under international law." It obliges the Contracting Parties to prevent and to punish the crime of genocide. Art. II of the Convention describes as genocidal acts "committed to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."
The permanent members of the Security Council have not only failed in their affirmative obligation according to the Convention and refused to prevent genocide against the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in surrendering the "safe areas" created by themselves they have actively supported and are still supporting this international crime.
In addition to that, those very member states of the United Nations have illegally imposed and maintained an arms embargo upon the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in violation of Art. 51 of the UN Charter while acting in their capacity as permanent members of the Security Council. They have aided and abetted the ongoing genocide against the Muslim people of Bosnia by actively opposing all of the efforts by other states to lift this illegal arms embargo.
In view of the foregoing, those member states of the Security Council have violated Art. III, Paragraph (c) of the Genocide Convention that expressly prohibits "complicity in genocide." They have furthermore destroyed the credibility of the United Nations Organization as an organization committed to the preservation of the rule of law in international affairs.
According to international law, there exists a direct legal responsibility of the political leaders of the above mentioned member states of the Security Council under the Genocide Convention. The same responsibility is carried by UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and his special envoy Yasushi Akashi. These governments and political leaders are both jointly and severally liable for all the harm that has been inflicted upon the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina because through their actions they are aiding and abetting genocide under the Genocide Convention and international criminal law.
In this connection legal proceedings may be instituted by any Contracting Party before the International Court of Justice in regard to the violation of the terms of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948.