Skip to comments.Amnesty: NATO bombing of Serbian TV ‘war crime’
Posted on 04/23/2009 5:15:38 AM PDT by jerod
An international human rights group demanded Thursday that NATO be held accountable for civilian casualties in the bombing of Serbia's state television headquarters a decade ago, calling the attack a "war crime."
Sixteen civilians were killed and 16 others injured during the attack on April 23, 1999, on the headquarters and studios of Radio Television Serbia in central Belgrade.
Amnesty International called on NATO and its member states to ensure independent investigations, full accountability and redress for victims and their families....
....The bombing was a part of a 78-day air-raid campaign against then-President Slobodan Milosevic to halt his onslaught against Kosovo Albanian separatists in the former Serbian province.
"The bombing of the headquarters of Serbian state radio and television was a deliberate attack on a civilian object and as such constitutes a war crime," Sian Jones, Amnesty International's Balkans expert, said in a statement.
"Even if NATO genuinely believed RTS was a legitimate target, the attack was disproportionate and hence a war crime," Jones said.
The families of the victims gathered in front of the bombed TV headquarters early Thursday to demand why there was no advance warning that the attack would occur.
They believe top Serbian TV officials deliberately sacrificed their staff for propaganda purposes, even though they knew the building would be attacked.
Amnesty International said in the statement that NATO officials confirmed that no specific warning of the attack was given, even though they knew many civilians would be in the RTS building.
(Excerpt) Read more at lasvegassun.com ...
The TV station, train/bridge, and Chinese embassy bombings were not war crimes. Inept command? Poor execution and planning? Most definitely. Idiocy and imcompetence are not war crimes, however.
I agree I should have put the sarc tag
I've heard all about how the Bosnian intervention was supposed to take the focus off Monicagate and his impeachment. It has all the credence and credibility of Leftist nuts who believe we went to Iraq in 2003 so Bush 43 could get back at Saddam for planning to assassinate his father and take control of the oil.
Clinton took heat for not intervening in Rwandan genocide, but chose to act in Bosnia. I suppose if he had sent troops to Rwanda in 1994, people would have probably called it a distraction for actions taken by his administration in Waco the previous year.
The bottom line is we had no national interests in either Bosnia or Rwanda. However, your disagreement with the action and 1st Amendment right to say so does not make it a war crime.
Terms like treason, Nazi, torture, and in this instance, war crimes, are thrown around so loosely on internet forums these days, they've almost become relative and lost any true meaning of their definitions.
You're not helping.
Basically, American and NATO personnel knew from day one this was another dog-wagging episode for which nobody could plausibly be asked to go into harms way. They therefore tried bombing from 25000' for three or four weeks and, when they learned they could not harm the Yugoslav military from earth orbit like that, they embarked upon an entire series of what anybody would call war crimes and that included bombing out the entire Serbian civilian infrastructure which is in total violation of Geneva conventions, killing Yugoslav civilians in areas remote from anything which could be called military targets even in an imaginary world in which the operation itself was basically legal, and doing things like bombing out the petrochemical plant at Pancevo and thus dumping hundreds of tons of toxic chemicals into the Danube river which Russians rightly called an act of international terrorism.
That whole deal was basically a gigantic stain on the honor of the United States and in fact it cannot be realistically described without using the term "war crimes".
A multi-national force bombing innocent civilians into submission from a country who attacked no one, WAS a cowardly act -- and an illegal one.
But it was "a NATO action", not "a US action". The US Congress never authorized Bill Clinton to attack Yugoslavia and as a matter fact, there were members of Congress who actually sued Clinton for that action. It may have been a US President who called up NATO, but the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia only became a de facto US operation after the fact.
Yes, I have also heard people say that the reason for it " was to divert attention from Bill Clinton's wayward pants", but I don't buy it -- that may have been a perk of the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia, but it wasn't "a reason".
The real reason for the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia was to RESURRECT NATO -- who with the death of the Soviet Union and Cold War -- had been on its political deathbed. The alliance was falling apart -- 50 years of existence and it had never been activated. So rather than die the natural death that it should have done, NATO leadership created a mission for itself to stay alive.
It was no coincidence that the 50th anniversary of NATO happened during the 70+ day bombing of Yugoslavia -- "Happy Birthday NATO, you've got more life in you!".
It was no coincidence that within a couple of months of invading Kosovo, NATO began building Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, one of the largest NATO bases in the world.
If any of us were thinking with a clear head, it was obvious that moment -- in building Bondsteel -- that there was no way that Kosovo was headed any way other than toward "independence". Bush had to eventually sign off on recognizing Kosovo independence, or else face the humiliating consequences of having a NATO Base built on foreign soil with absolutely no permission to be there.
So next question: "Was it a war crime?" Hell, yes! It was a naked act of aggression that can't be framed as anything other than war crime(s)!
But, once again, the players in this game were allowed to use the US to hide behind, but this wasn't initially a US action, it was a NATO action. And it is NATO who should shoulder the blame!
This is not to say that the members of Congress who drug us into taking responsibility for Clinton's actions -- people like Biden, Lieberman and McCain -- don't deserve whatever punishment they deserve from the American people for disgracing us, but that is another story.
By that measure, all of our strategic bombing campaigns in any conflict have been war crimes. It's always prudent to deny the oppostion movement, communication, and supplies. That would require taking out radio/TV stations, power plants, bridges, refineries, and fuel depots. Naturally, that's going to have a direct effect on civilian infrastructure and environment. I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Strenuously.
I'm not asking a leading question or trying to goad you, I'd just like to inquire seriously: What's your opinion on Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings? Were they war crimes?
For once, I’m with AI.
But Kosovo is still a special case and a sort of an archetypal demokkkrat war. To my thinking everybody who was involved in it disgraced himself or herself and by rights the military careers of anybody who did anything other than resign a commission over it should have ended on Jan 20, 2001.
The U.S. military does not exist for the purpose of bombing innocent Christians for the benefit of narco-terrorists, savages, and white trash.
“It just wasn’t cool to protest Clinton’s wars.” - Janeane Garofalo.
If you want US officials tried for war crimes by international courts then you are an enemy of American sovereignty.
....He (Ljubisa Ristic) explains what happened at the June 2 meeting. Ahtisaari opened the meeting by declaring, We are not here to discuss or negotiate, after which Chernomyrdin read aloud the text of the plan. (4) Ahtisaari says that Milosevic asked about the possibility of modifying the plan, to which he replied, No. This is the best that Viktor and I have managed to do. You have to agree to it in every part. (5) Ristic reports that as Milosevic listened to the reading of the text, he realized that the Russians and the Europeans had put us in the hands of the British and the Americans.
Milosevic took the papers and asked, What will happen if I do not sign? In answer, Ahtisaari made a gesture on the table, and then moved aside the flower centerpiece. Then Ahtisaari said, Belgrade will be like this table. We will immediately begin carpet-bombing Belgrade. Repeating the gesture of sweeping the table, Ahtisaari threatened, This is what we will do to Belgrade. A moment of silence passed, and then he added, There will be half a million dead within a week. Chernomyrdins silence confirmed that the Russian government would do nothing to discourage carpet-bombing. (6)
The meaning was clear. To refuse the ultimatum would lead to the deaths of large numbers of civilians and total devastation. President Milosevic summoned the leaders of the parties in the governing coalition and explained the situation to them. A few things are not logical, but the main thing is, we have no choice. I personally think we should accept To reject the document means the destruction of our state and nation. (7) For Ristic, acceptance meant one thing: We had to save the people. (8) Three weeks after Ahtisaari and Chernomyrdin delivered NATOs ultimatum, Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovich explained to both chambers of the Assembly why the government had accepted terms. Our country was faced with a threat of total annihilation. Through diplomatic mediators and through the media, the aggressors spoke of the future targets to be bombed, including civilian victims counted in the hundreds of thousands. (9)
If this account is true, the the RTS, train and bridges were just "a warning" of what was to come, rather than specifically identified legitimate targets.
If you want US officials tried for war crimes by international courts then you are an enemy of American sovereignty.
The hard part on this one Joe, is that the same people who willingly gave up our sovereignty to NATO in this case, are the same ones who are trying to hide behind "US sovereignty" to protect them from their crimes done in our name.
Clinton should have been tried here in the US -- first, for what he did as president that violated the US Constitution -- before anything else. But it never happened and it never will happen. (If it had, do you think Hillary would be Sec of State now?)
I'd like to see Bill Clinton and that whole little globalist rabble indicted by the World Court, because it would be real justice to see them hung by their own rope. Then, and only then, we in the US, say, "No, we'll try Clinton et al here. We clean up our messes (not just pretend that they didn't happen.)."
That's invoking real US sovereignty, Joe, not just giving this elite shelter where they continue to destroy the very US sovereignty you are defending!
thanks for that
funny how I never heard the cry of warmonger when Clinton was bombing places around the world
I’ve seen first hand how the Serbs live in fear and how they have been forced from their homes
those ethnic Albanians took over that country by force and Clinton helped them
disgusting and thank you for the video
we heard that Iraq never attacked us and yet neither did the serbs infact they were a great ally to us
Iraq did attack the US when Saddam made an attempt on GHB life while in Kuwait. Any country whose government is found to have been behind that assasination attempt, that in my book is automatic regime change, i.e declararion of hostilities/war on my Govt.