The Srebrenica massacre of Bosnian Muslims constituted one of the main charges of genocide against the Serb forces at The Hague International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia. Here, the Serb forces deliberately mixed up the remains of the victims in five separate locations so as to hinder identification.

But does not this itself show that the Serb forces were well aware of the gravity of the crime against them by how they were attempting to hide the evidence? It's not a question of hindsight, they knew well what was international and customary law.

Q. Why was it neccessary for the Hague to establish 90% verification of the identity through DNA analysis when such a bar of evidence wasn't neccessary at the Nuremberg Trials?

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    I’m voting to close this question because it belongs on history.stackexchange.com Nov 28, 2020 at 16:22
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    Because DNA analysis wasn't available in WWII? Nov 28, 2020 at 16:22
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    @BlueDogRanch on the other hand, the German authorities during WWII kept meticulous records of the people they were interning and killing. I am not aware of records of this sort in the Bosnian war.
    – phoog
    Nov 28, 2020 at 23:42
  • @phoog That's true; I forgot about that. (They were German, after all.) Nov 29, 2020 at 0:17

1 Answer 1


The Nuremberg trials were different in that they were not The Hague. Also, DNA was unknown at the time. And the proof for most of the charges had been preserved in abundance by the Nazis: There were dozens of copies of protocols that acted as proof of the plan to exterminate several groups of people to the last; the measures taken to that goal were documented to the millions and evidence as well as surviving witnesses were available. Similarly, other war crimes and crimes against the peace were so abundant and so well documented, that one didn't need to dig deep to find what was needed - and remember, they only put the most egregious people into the first group. Göring and Heß for example. The 12 follow-up trials were mostly group trials for in total 185 more - and even that was only the tip of the iceberg. Who they could find and had solid evidence against. In some cases, the whole trial was mainly a thing of formality.

There is criticism in the Nuremberg Trials, and many of those critics did and do influence how the Hague does structure and work its trials.

All in all: The rules are different now because the rules evolved.

  • @phoog I had chosen to use Den Hague and Nürnberger Prozesse as a pointer to the country they are/were in, but I understand that the English might be better in this case.
    – Trish
    Nov 29, 2020 at 10:11

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