Serbia and Croatia did not commit genocide against each other's populations during the 1990s wars that culminated in the breakup of former Yugoslavia, the UN's highest court has said.
The International Court of Justice added that both Croat and Serbian troops committed crimes during the Croatian War of Independence, fought between 1991 and 1995, but they did not amount to genocide.
Peter Tomka, president of the court, said that neither country intentionally aimed to "destroy a population in whole or in part" and called for the two nations to collaborate towards "consolidating peace and stability in the region".
Croatia filed a case against Serbia in 1999.
"Croatia has not established that the only reasonable inference was the intent to destroy in whole or in part the (Croatian) group," Tomka said and added that the court rejected also Serbia's counter-claim of genocide, filed in 2010.
"What is generally called ethnic cleansing does not constitute genocide," he said. "Acts of ethnic cleansing may be part of a genocidal plan, but only if there is an intention to physically destroy the target group."
It is estimated that around 20,000 people, mainly Croatians, died between 1991 and 1995.