June 10, 2000 International Tribunal for U.S./NATO War Crimes in YugoslaviaAGGRESSION - A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY By H.E. Mr.Vladislav Jovanovic,
Statement Of H.E. Mr.Vladislav Jovanovic, Ambassador, Permanent Mission Of The Federal Republic Of Yugoslavia To The United Nations, New York, 10 June 2000
Those who decided to bomb the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia last year, who ordered and commanded the air raids, committed a crime against the peace - a crime of aggression. The founding fathers of the United Nations emphasized that peace is one of the fundamental purposes and the highest value of the world Organization. By Article 2, Para. 4, of the United Nations Charter, the member-States undertake to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any state...". In its resolution 3314 (1974) of 14 December 1974, the General Assembly adopted a definition of aggression, proclaiming a war of aggression a crime against international peace. The resolution was adopted by consensus.
The member-States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the countries that took part in the aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, also agreed to the definition. In Article 5 of the Annex of the said resolution, adopted unanimously, it is said that "No consideration of whatever nature, whether political, economic, military or otherwise, may serve as a justification for aggression." In the explanatory notes on the Article, the General Assembly reiterates the principle from the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations according to which "No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State."
The aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is a continuation of interference in the internal affairs of that State that dates back to a much earlier period and is exemplified, among others, by the instigation of secessionism in some of its former Republics, which resulted in civil war. It is beyond any doubt that the armed intervention from 24 March to 10 June 1999 had nothing to do with humanitarian reasons.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia never conducted a policy of discrimination against the Albanian ethnic minority in Kosovo and Metohija. The problems in that autonomous province of the Yugoslav constituent Republic of Serbia arose when certain groups of ethnic Albanian criminals, espousing ethnic Albanian separatism and financed from abroad, resorted to terrorism to secede this Serbian province and adjoin it to the Republic of Albania.
The Yugoslav Government went to great lengths to calm the situation. To that end, it concluded an agreement with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in October 1998 in which it acquiesced to the deployment of a 2 000-member OSCE monitoring mission in Kosovo and Metohija. Unfortunately, this mission was abused by the head of the mission, William Walker. He used it to foment and strengthen ethnic Albanian terrorism in Kosovo and Metohija.
Throughout 1998 Yugoslavia was openly threatened by NATO. The threats culminated at Rambouillet (France) where U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the Yugoslav delegation that Yugoslavia would be bombed and destroyed if it did not accept the draft Agreement. Her very statement is a crime. Accordingly, NATO did not intervene to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. In March 1999, some 1,400 OSCE monitors were still in Kosovo and Metohija. Norwegian Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Vollebaeck withdrew the monitors two days prior to the aggression.
The aggression caused a humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo and Metohija and throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Human losses, economic destruction and psychological damage have been enormous.
The aggression and the deployment of KFOR were followed by genocide against the Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija, and the countries that took part in the aggression did nothing to prevent it.
Today, the Serbs and other non-Albanians of Kosovo and Metohija live in a system of apartheid. Serbian demonstrations to protest the killing of their fellow-Serbs by ethnic Albanian terrorists, which occur every day, are broken up by KFOR whose soldiers set dogs on protesting Serbs. Never in history, including the Axis occupation in World War II, was the situation so difficult for the Serbs and other non-Albanians of Kosovo and Metohija. It is equally difficult for those ethnic Albanians of this Serbian province who refuse to toe the line of ethnic Albanian terrorist separatists.
The aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, alongside the encouragement and support to the terrorist so-called Kosovo Liberation Army and the promotion of its ringleaders into political leaders, accounted for the destabilization of the entire region, including the neighboring States, as it lent a helping hand to forces which are in the business of creating a Greater Albania.
WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
International humanitarian law, exemplified by four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocol of 1997, provides for the protection of civilian population, civilian facilities, cultural institutions and shrines and the protection of the environment.
Civilian population and certain civilians enjoy general protection from dangers that derive from military operations. Civilian population and certain civilians must not be objects of attack. Acts aimed at spreading terror among civilian population are banned.
And it was precisely to these banned acts that NATO resorted in its aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. When it became obvious that they could inflict no significant losses to the Yugoslav military, those who decided on military actions elected to proceed to terror bombing. Bombs and missiles were used the payloads of which were far in excess of the need of the destruction of a target and which, in the jargon of callous NATO apologists, caused enormous "collateral damage." Certain targets were hit many times within short intervals. A typical example was the repeated bombing of a bridge in Varvarin on a busy market day about noon, i.e. at a time when it was fair to assume that many civilians were going to cross the bridge. As a consequence, many of those who rushed to help those hurt in the first raid were hurt in subsequent raids.
Banned attacks were carried out without a selection of targets with the use of methods and means of combat that, by their nature, cannot be limited to military targets. They include cluster-bombs and depleted uranium ordnance. Consequently, civilian casualties were extensive and unexploded cluster-bombs continue to kill people a year after the aggression, while radio-activity in the affected areas has increased manyfold.
The intensity and frequency of banned attacks, likely to cause civilian casualties and material damage, were incommensurate with prospective military gains. What military gains, for instance, were obtained by the bombing of military barracks vacated much before the attacks took place. But "collateral damage," to return to the notorious phrase, was enormous.
As to the so-called passive subjects against whom crimes were committed, it should be pointed out that, in the overwhelming of cases, their victims were civilians. This is borne out by the bombing of two refugee convoys, a passenger train near Grdelica, a number of buses, refugee camps and often of apartment blocks. The fatalities of these attacks were many and many people were crippled for life. The number of dead amounts to 2,500, while those wounded number over 10,000. The number of those whose property was destroyed or damaged will probably never be established.
The infrastructure and communications used exclusively or preponderantly by civilians were also targeted. Bridges and roads linking cities and towns were destroyed without apparent reason. Television and radio transmitters were attacked, obviously not because they could be used by the military but because they spread the word of vandalism taking place. How else could one explain the bombing of Belgrade Television at the time when its building was occupied only by civilians (mainly TV technicians and reporters preparing programs for the next day).
NATO raiders did not spare the economy of the country, exhausted by years-long sanctions. Many plants were completely destroyed or seriously damaged. This had very significant civilian ramifications, such as the creation of an army of the jobless.
Food stores, bakeries and heating plants were also targeted. Particularly gruesome were attacks on water and power generation and supply systems. To "put lights out in Belgrade", as NATO hawks clamored from day one, NATO used graphite bombs to temporarily incapacitate transmission lines and put out of commission power generation plants. Power outages lasted for days on end. Water supply was also affected; large areas and sometimes even entire towns or villages were left without running water for months.
The environment was among the first victims of the NATO aggression and sustained long-term damage. From day one, NATO focused its attacks on oil refineries and chemical plants, as well as on power transformers that contain highly toxic substances. As a consequences, entire cities, notably Pancevo, had to be evacuated as release of vast quantities of toxic gases from its refinery and fertilizer plant made it uninhabitable.
CRIMES OF GENOCIDE AND APARTHEID AGAINST THE SERBS AND OTHER NON-ALBANIANS IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA AFTER THE ARRIVAL OF KFOR
The arrival of KFOR in Kosovo and Metohija signaled the beginning of the crime of genocide against the Serbs and other non-Albanians. More than 1 000 people have been killed and over 960 kidnapped. "Death to Serbs" is the pet theme of Pristinas graffiti writers. Even international officials are not spared: a UNMIK member was killed because ethnic Albanians misunderstood his mother tongue as Serbian. And women, children and the elderly unable to flee their homes are special targets.
About 350,000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been expelled from Kosovo and Metohija. The remaining Serbs are clustered in ghettoes, without freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression. They are harassed by KFOR, arrested arbitrarily on trumped-up charges of ethnic Albanians and detained without trial for months. The few remaining Serbs in Pristina and Pec run the gauntlet every day. They are not safe even in their homes, let alone in the street. They are afraid to venture out for food or medicine, they are provided no utility services. They live the life of apartheid, which was the sad and sorry fate of some people in colonial Africa.
Kosovo and Metohija has become a recruitment center and a boot camp for terrorists. It is a haven for seamy figures of international organized crime, traders in narcotics and smugglers of arms, purveyors of prostitution and money-launderers. UNMIK and KFOR have done nothing to put an end to the scourge and are indifferent to the veritable genocide and apartheid taking place before their eyes.
They have, however, undertaken to carry out voter registration and prepare elections in the situation when 350 000 Serbs and other non-Albanians have been expelled from Kosovo and Metohija and 200 000 Albanians crossed the border from Albania and settled in this Serbian province. They intend to hold elections in the situation when conditions hardly exist for a mere survival of the Serbs and other non-Albanians, let alone for their political organization and activism.
The responsibility of those who committed the crimes is clear and beyond doubt. They are guilty of grave breaches of international law, justice and humanity. And they have conjured up a convenient hiding place: the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Judge del Ponte will loyally mind the store.
Established to serve the political interests of certain Governments, the Hague Tribunal discredits the idea of international criminal law. It is precisely for that reason, as well as for the reasons of the maintenance of international peace and universal values envisaged in the Charter of the United Nations, that the trial instituted by the New York International Action Center with the participation of peace organizations and prominent individuals from all over the world is of exceptional importance. At this moment, the judges of the court are rescuing the international community from chaos and lawlessness, bringing it back from the bound of no return.
back to schedule and presentations