BELGRADE, 10 May 1999
S P E C I A L I S S U E
NATO CRIMES AGAINST CIVILIANS
The Nato criminal aggression represents the most flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations since the inception of the world Organization, a violation of the Helsinki Final Act and the undermining of the very foundations of the international legal order. At the same time, this aggression is a crime against peace, stability and humanity.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has warned on time the United Nations Security Council of a possible aggression, and during the aggression itself it requested that it be immediately halted and most strongly condemned. Had this legitimate request of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia been met, enormous human sufferings and destruction would have been avoided. The most illustrative examples are given below.
I KILLING AND PLIGHT OF THE CIVILIANS
During the last forty-seven days of NATO aggression, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has been exposed to extensive civilian destruction, unprecedented in modern history of the world. The NATO aggressors systematically attack and destroy civilian targets in the entire territory of the FR of Yugoslavia, directly threatening the lives and fundamental human rights of the entire Yugoslav population. By bombing relentlessly the cities, towns and villages throughout Yugoslavia, the NATO aggressor has made twelve thousand air strikes by over a thousand warplanes. Furthermore, over three thousand cruise missiles have been dropped on the civilian targets thus far. Since the onset of the aggression against the FR of Yugoslavia over ten thousand tons of explosive were dropped with five times greater destructive power than the atomic bomb used in the attack on Hiroshima.
The NATO aggressor has killed so far more than 1 200 civilians, while
over 5000 people sustained injuries, many of whom will remain crippled
At the same time, several thousand private homes and flats have been ruined, mostly in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Pancevo, Nis, Cuprija, Aleksinac, Kragujevac Pristina, Valjevo, Surdulica, Kraljevo, etc. We shall present the most tragic instances of the killings and plight of the innocent civilian population.
(a) Killings of Civilians Caused by the Bombings of Urban and Rural Residential Areas
Towns in Kosovo and Metohija: More than four hundred civilians were killed in the bombing of Pristina, Djakovica, Prizren, Kosovo Polje, Urosevac, Kosovska Mitrovica, refugee centres in Orahovac and Srbica, Vitina, etc.
Belgrade: Several dozen civilians were killed and more than one hundred wounded in the bombing of various parts of the city, including its very centre: the building of Radio and Television of Serbia (16 killed and 19 wounded professional journalists and technical staff - see Chapter V-a), Embassy of the People s Republic of China (4 employees killed and more than 50 wounded - Chapter IV), the buildings of the federal and republican ministries (Chapter II-b), business centre "Usce", etc.
Surdulica: Twenty civilians were killed (including 12 children) and over 100 wounded (including 24 seriously) during the bombing on 27 April 1999.
Nis: Fifteen citizens were killed and more than 60 wounded in the bombing of the centre of the town by cluster bombs on 7 May 1999.
Kursumlija: Thirteen civilians were killed and twenty five wounded in an attack on this town.
Aleksinac: Twelve civilians were killed and forty wounded in the bombing of 5 April 1999.
Murino near Rozaje: Five civilians were killed and eight children wounded in the bombing of this village.
There were many civilian casualties during the air strikes against Pancevo, Cacak, Vranje, Nis, Valjevo and many other cities and towns.
(b) Killing of Children
Children are the most vulnerable category of population most affected by war atrocities. So far several dozen hospitals were destroyed or damaged, including inter alias, the greatest maternity hospitals in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis, Kragujevac and maternity wards in other medical centres in Serbia. NATO aggressors destroyed a large number of pre-school institutions, elementary and secondatry schools and university institutions, depriving the educational system of Serbia of infrastructure necessary for its normal functioning. Children are forced to live in shelters and deprived of elementary, health and social care. They are exposed to stresses which will permantly affect their development.
Many children were killed or wounded in the bombing of civilian structures and residental areas.which can be illustrated by following examples:
The killing of several dozen of children during the bombing of the train in Grdelica gorge on 12 April, the buss in Luzani on 1 May and buss on the Pec-Rozaje road on 3 May 1999 (See Chapter I-c).
The killing of nineteen children in the refugee column near Djakovica on 14 April 1999 (Chapter I-d).
The killing of twelve children during the bombing of Surdulica on 27 April 1999.
The killing of nine children in the bombing of Kursumlija.
The killing of seven children in Srbica from cluster bombs.
The killing of six children in the bombing of a refugee centre in Djakovica.
The killing of five children from the Koxa family in the village of
Doganovici near Urosevac when six children were wounded by cluster bombs.
Three children and two adults killed by a cluster bomb in the village of Velika Jablanica near Pec on 2 May 1999.
Two children killed in Aleksinac on 5 April 1999.
The killing of a three-year old girl in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica, and many other cases.
Children are most often victims of the sprinkle cluster bombs with delayed effect. The death toll on children would have been even more tragic, had the missile exploded some thirty metres from the biggest Maternity Hospital in Belgrade.
(c) Killing of Passengers in Vehicles of Public Transportation Under the cynical explanation that they are hitting ?moving military targets?, NATO aggressors have destroyed thus far several buses with a great number of passengers on board. NATO aggressors must have known their scheduled time table. Equipped by the most sophisticated weapons of immense destructive power and burdened with an imperative call for a ?speedy and spectacular victory? advocated in vain by NATO propaganda machine through the controlled Western media, NATO pilots have been writing down during the last couple of weeks the darkest pages in the history of crimes against humanity. Listed below are some of the most loathsome crimes which they have committed.
Fifty-five passengers were killed and twenty-six wounded in the Grdelica gorge during the attack on the international passenger train on the Belgrade-Thessaloniki line on 12 April 1999.
Sixty passengers lost their lives and four were wounded during the bombing of the ?Nis ekspres? coach near the village of Luzani. On that occasion NATO warplanes bombed also the ambulance which came to help the victims when one doctor was injured on 1 May 1999.
At least twenty people were killed and twenty were injured during the attack on the coach on the Pec-Rozaje line on 3 May 1999.
(d) Killing and Plight of Refugees Particularly tragic is the fate of
ethnic Albanian refugees, who convinced that they should not believe the
propaganda ploys on the alleged ?ethnic cleansing? decided to return to
their homes in Kosovo and Metohija.
Legitimate authorities of the FR of Yugoslavia encourage them every day to do so and guarantee their safety.
On 14 April 1999, 75 citizens of the FR of Yugoslavia were killed and over 40 of them sustained serious injuries in the bombing of a large group of refugees on the Djakovica-Prizren road. The attack of NATO aircraft was systematically prepared and lasted for three hours. In this way, NATO has in the most brutal way ?demonstrated? that innocent civilians are constantly taken advantage of for NATO interests.
Over one hundred refugees were killed during the NATO bombing of refugee camps in which Serbs expelled from Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina were accommodated (Djakovica, Pristina, Kursumlija, etc). The victims were mostly the elderly, the frail and children. Thus, their tragic exodus which was brought about in the wake of the break-up of Yugoslavia was ruthlessly ended.
II SUFFERING AND INTIMIDATION OF CIVILIAN POPULATION
(a) The Use of Graphite Bombs and Destruction of Electric Power System of the FR of Yugoslavia.
The use of graphite bombs which have caused short circuits on long-distance power lines and collapse of the electric power system of Serbia is an incomprehensible example of inflicting mass suffering on population. More than five million citizens of Serbia were left without electricity in the first attack of this kind on 2 May 1999 at 9.50 p.m. and thus they could not meet their elementary needs (health, hygiene, etc). The most severely affected are hospitals (particularly maternity hospitals - incubators, etc), including all patients (especially emergency cases and those in intensive care units), as well as the residents in cities who live in the high-rises and others.
The graphite bombs were also used on 7 May 1999 in the evening. Immediately after the power failure in entire Belgrade started the most fierce of Blegrade ( bombing of the Embassy of China, hotel of "Jugoslavija", repeated bombing of the Ministry of Defence, the headquarters of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the buildings of the federal and republican ministries of the interior, etc.
(b) Bombing of the Government Buildings and Institutions. The bombings and destruction of objects and institutions which symbolise the State and national identity are aimed at intimidating and insulting national dignity of the population. Thus, the buildings of the federal and republican ministries of the interior (3 April 1999), the headquarters of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (19 April 1999), the Ministry of Defence and General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia (30 April and 7 May 1999), the Government of the Republic of Serbia (7 May 1999) were destroyed with no reason at all. The buildings of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the surrounding buildings, of great historical value which represent a protected architectual whole were also severely damaged.
The repeated bombing on 7 May of already destroyed buildings of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia, federal and republican ministries of the interior represent a brutality bordering on sadism, which ever greater consequences to the surrounding buildings including the building of the Foreign Ministry which has become unoperational.
The continuous indiscrimate bombing of civilian targets in the FR of Yugoslavia is the main cause of enormous human tragedy which affects the entire population. In some of the hardest hit areas in Kosovo and Metohija, the facilities of social infrastructure and supply lines were destroyed. By its uninterrupted bombings the aggressor makes it impossible for those in need to get help and in many cases it has even targeted the ambulances and their emergency medical teams. Therefore, a number of citizens are forced to find shelter in a safier place. Such development recorded in all areas in the world affected by warfare, NATO propaganda has systematically blowed out of proportion by a claim of alleged ?humanitarian catastrophe? trying thereby to make its aggression legitimate.
III ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC
An assassination attempt of the NATO aggressors on the President
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 22 April 1999 represents an organized
terrorist act without precedent in the history of modern Europe. This is
not only a crime against a Head of a sovereign State, but primarily an
attack on the democratically expressed will of a people and thus against
the fundamental democratic values of the civilisation. Although the residence
of the President of the FR of Yugoslavia was targeted, this attack has
also a symbolic meaning as if the targets had been the homes of all Yugoslav
citizens. This crime has caused abhorrence and condemnation by international
public, but the United Nations Security Council failed to condemn this
terrorist act or numerous killings of civilians and children.
IV BOMBING OF THE EMBASSY OF THE PR OF CHINA AND THE CONSULATE OF THE HELLENIC REPUBLIC
In the most fierce bombing of Belgrade so far, in the night between 7 and 8 May 1999, NATO aircraft hit with three missiles the building of the Embassy of the People s Republic of China in New Belgrade, a new structure of exceptional architectural value. Four employees were killed and more 50 were wounded including a doze who sustained severe injuries. This unprecedented crime fits into NATO strategy to undermine and discourage all on-going efforts of a constructive part of the international community, to which PR of China undoubtedly belongs, to stop the aggression against the FR of Yugoslavia and to have the problems in Austonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija resolved by political means.
The Consulate of the Hellenic Republic in Nis was hit on 8 May 1999 during the bombing the bridge on the Nisava river. The building of the Consulate as well as several official vehicles were badly damaged.
The bombing of diplomatic consular missions in the fry, as well as the headquarters of the Yugoslav diplomacy on two occasions, represents a barbaric attack on diplomacy an achievement of the civilization. These crimes, as well as disrespect of international insitutions and international legal order in general by NATO should serve as a dramatic warning that those in the forefront of the so-called new world order push the mankind to the brink of abyss which may have unforseeable consequences.
V CRIME AGAINST THE FREEDOM OF THE MEDIA
The aim of the destruction of a great number of private radio and television stations and more than two dozen TV transmitters was to suppress the right to a different opinion and to further expand war-mongering manipulation with the world public. Clearly, the intention of NATO aggressors is to prevent the world public from learning the extensive scope of their crimes, as well as to impose on the world their totalitarian and single-minded perception. The censorship imposed by NATO generals on Western media is an illustrative example of this practice.
(a) Bombing of Radio and Television of Serbia in Belgrade
On 23 April 1999, NATO aggressors demolished the building of the Radio and Television of Serbia in Belgrade, the largest radio and TV company in the Balkans with 7000 employees and the state-of-the-art infrastructure which was made available to seven hundred foreign correspondents. On that occasion 16 employees of the Radio and Television of Serbia lost their lives while 19 sustained severe injuries.
(b) Bombing of Radio and Television of Serbia in Novi Sad
On 3 May 1999, destroyed was also the building of the Radio and Television of Serbia in Novi Sad, the second largest TV centre in the FR of Yugoslavia, which broadcast programmes in the languages of all national minorities living in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. Each day 56 hour programme was broadcast in the Hungarian, Slovakian, Ruthenian, Romanian and Romany languages which is in the line with the committment of the FR of Yugoslavia to guarantee equal rights to information to all its citizens.
(c) Bombing of the Business Centre "Usce" in Belgrade
By the bombings of the business centre ?Usce? in Belgrade on 21 and 27 April 1999, the headquarters, as well as production and broadcasting infrastructure of the three private TV stations and four private radio stations were destroyed.
(c) Bombings of TV Transmitters and Relays Several dozen TV transmitters
and relay stations used by State-run or private TV and radio stations were
destroyed during the NATO air strikes.
The TV transmitter on Mt Avala, the biggest transmitter in the FR of Yugoslavia, which according to its architectural design was unique in the world, was raised to the ground. NATO destroyed also the TV transmitters on the business centre ?Usce?, on Fruska Gora, Goles (Pristina) and others, as well as relay stations in Krnjaca, Borca, on Bukulja, Cer, Crni vrh, Jasterbac, Ovcar, Tornik, etc.
Making good on its threat to "destroy the nerve centres of Serbia", the aggressor warplanes destroyed satellite station "Jugoslavija" near Ivanjica which transmitted PTT and TV signals worldwide. Also destoryed were telephone exchanges in Pristina (7 April 1999), Kragujevac and Uzice ( 7 May 1999), while many others were damaged or made unoperational in other towns of Serbia.
For all champions of the freedom of speech and for all people committed to the right to freedom of expression, these destructive acts represent the last warning alarm before NATO censorship take control over all media of the so-called ?free world?.
VI DESTRUCTION OF VITAL YUGOSLAV ECONOMIC FACILITIES
According to the assessment of experts from Western countries, the damage done to date by NATO air strikes is well in excess of one hundred billion US dollars. By the destruction of factories, business capacities and production facilities, more than half a million people have lost their jobs and over two million of them remained without any kind of income. Destroyed are the industrial complexes in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Nis, Pancevo, Cacak, Kraljevo, Valjevo, Pristina, Vranje, Kursumlija, Kosovska Mitrovica, Krusevac, Kula, Gnjilane, Sremska Mitrovica and in other towns and cities.
The petrochemical industry of the FR of Yugoslavia has been totally destroyed, as well as the largest Yugoslav factory of artificial fertilisers in Pancevo.
Private entrepreneurs are a particular target of NATO aggression and the most glaring example of it is the destruction of the ?Usce? business centre in Novi Beograd which housed more than a hundred private firms in full business expansion, foreign representative offices, seven private Radio and TV stations and one of the most modern poli-clinic in the FR of Yugoslavia. Also the builiding of the business center is one of the landmarks of modern Belgrade.
VII DESTRUCTION OF BRIDGES
On the false pretext of ?neutralising the military power of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?, the NATO aggressor started systematic destruction of Yugoslav road and rail traffic routes. So far, over fifty bridges have been demolished, damaged or made inoperational for traffic. Also, several dozen major and local roads, airports, railway tracks, railway stations, etc. have been destroyed. All ruined facilities were part of costly capital investments, into which the resources and the efforts of several generations of Yugoslav citizens were pooled and they all are strategic part of the European traffic infrastructure. It should be noted that some bridges were destroyed although they were still in the process of construction (a big bridge on the Sava river near Ostruznica), while some of them are of historical and cultural importance (?The Wailing Bridge? in Novi Sad, on which the Fascists killed thousand Jews in the Second World War).
About 30 bridges have been destroyed including those at the strategic European E-75 corridor. By the destruction of the bridges on the Danube river the aggressors have blocked the entire river navigation at this traffic artery of the greatest importance for European economy and the shortest link between the Northern and Mediterranean Sea (The Rhein-Mein-Danube route). Thus, the European shipping companies suffer each day the damage of over 20 million DM.
It is not possible to list all destroyed bridges, but let us mention the most important ones: Sloboda Bridge, Wailing Bridge, Zezelj Bridge and the bridge in Beska (all in the city of Novi Sad), the bridges on the Danube river near Smederevo and Backa Palanka, several bridges on the Ibar primary road and Belgrade-Bar, Belgrade-Thessaloniki, Belgrade-Bukarest and Belgrade-Budapest railway line, as well as on other major railway and road lines. Both the railway and new road bridges near Ostruznica were demolished although they were crucial structures on the Belgrade roundabout route.
VIII ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER
Concurrently with the humanitarian, NATO strikes have caused an environmental catastrophe which is endangering not only the FR of Yugoslavia, but also the neighbouring countries and the entire European continent. The NATO aggressor is thus teetering on the brink of another Chernobyl in the heart of Europe. The destruction of petrochemical installations, the warehouses storing semi-processed and finished products of the chemical industry have already caused significant adverse effects on the health of the population of the FR of Yugoslavia and the neighbouring countries. During some of the air strikes it was pure luck that an environmental catastrophe was not provoked spreading all over Europe.
The aggressor?s attacks did not spare even huge forests, tourist centres and the national parks on the mountains of Serbia (Kopaonik, Zlatibor, Divcibare, Tara, Prokletije, Sara, Fruska Gora). The ozone layer was depleted by the exhaust gases and by large scale fires. The Black Sea, Aegean and the Adriatic basins, practically the entire Mediterranean, are threatened by environmental pollution.
Examples: Nitrogen factory in Pancevo, the oil refineries in Pancevo and Novi Sad, the chemical company ?Prva iskra? in Baric and others.
IX HOSPITALS AND HEALTH INSTITUTIONS
The aggressor?s bombings, calculated to provoke the greatest possible
confusion and panic among innocent people, have damaged many clinical and
hospital centres, inflicting not only great material damage to property
(destruction of buildings and expensive medical equipment), but also causing
new health problems and intensifying psychological traumas among the sick
people. The destruction of all the three bridges in Novi Sad totally cut
off and left, without the supply of water, the largest Yugoslav centre
for the treatment of cardio vascular diseases in Sremska Kamenica, to which
several million people gravitate. Four hospitals and two maternity hospitals
in Belgrade were damaged including the biggest hospital in the Balkans
(Military Medical Academy Hospital ? VMA), the hospitals in Cuprija, Aleksinac,
Pristina, Valjevo and Pancevo, sanatorium in Surdulica, as well as medical
centres in many other towns. The striking example is also the destruction
of the Secondary School for Nurses in Cuprija. NATO also targeted and damaged
the medical centre in Nis on 6 and 7 May 1999.
X DESTRUCTION OF PRE-SCHOOL INSTITUTIONS, SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
The NATO aggression has put a stop to the education of close to one
million pupils and students in the FR of Yugoslavia. Over three hundred
facilities built for the education and upbringing of children and young
people of all ages were destroyed. This will inevitably be reflected on
the development and social integration of young people. Hard hit are university
centre in Nis (Machine Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electronical, Technical,
Law and Economics faculties), in Pristina (Agricultural and Machine Engineering
faculty) and Novi Sad (Faculty of Philosophy) and university centre in
XI DESTRUCTION OF WORLD CULTURAL HERITAGE ON THE SOIL OF THE FR OF YUGOSLAVIA
The entire territory of the FR of Yugoslavia and Kosovo and Metohija
in particular, is a treasury of European culture and civilisation since
ancient times. By violating all international conventions on the protection
of civilisation and its heritage, and in the pursuit of the spirit of aggressive
nihilism and new barbarity, more than 50 monasteries and churches have
been severely damaged thus far, as well as a couple of dozen of other cultural
and historic monuments, some under UNESCO protection.
Severe damage was caused to the monastery of the Patriachate of Pec (12th century), Zica (13th century), Decani and Gracanica (14th century, under UNESCO protection), medieval towns of Zvecan (13th century) and Smederevo (15th century), Petrovaradin fortress (18th century), seventeen monasteries on Fruska Gora (15-18th century), monastery in Rakovica and many other priceless historical monuments. The bombs have even destroyed many cemeteries all across the FR of Yugoslavia including Orthodox cemetery in Pristina. Obviously.
XII USE OF PROHIBITED WEAPONS
In NATO attacks, the state-of-the-art weapons have been used, but also those prohibited under international conventions, such as cluster bombs and slow activating bombs. In its attacks on civilian and other facilities in Serbia, NATO aircraft fired more than 100 containers with almost 20 000 cluster bombs. As many as one fourth of those cluster bombs were used in the attacks against towns in Kosovo and Metohija: Pristina, Urosevac, Djakovica, Prizren, etc, and against many other places and facilities in Serbia.
The latest severe case is the bombing of the centre of Nis by cluster bombs on 7 May 1999 when 15 civilians were killed and several dozen were wounded.
In their numerous air strikes the enemy?s warplanes used uranium depleted artillery ammunition. NATO committed thereby a very serious criminal act with unforeseeable consequences not only for the victims but for all those who may be exposed to the released radiation therefrom (the Gulf syndrome of US soldiers who participated in the Desert Storm).
Before the attacks, radio locators were dropped from the aircraft, found in the vicinity of many civilian and business facilities in Serbia.
XIII COORDINATION OF NATO WITH TERRORISTS OF THE SO-CALLED KLA?
Before the onset of the aggression, the Albanian terrorists counted on the NATO planes as an air support to their armed groups. Now Albanians living in the USA and other Western countries are being armed, trained and transported with a view of taking actions in the territory of the FR of Yugoslavia. The aim is to create armed units which could be used as ground forces of the ?Alliance?.
Albanian terrorists are being trained and armed in camps in the northern part of Albania ? Tropoje, Kukes and Bairam Curri by British, American and Turkish commandos and then they are being illegally infiltrated into Kosovo and Metohija. The latest incident of an organised assistance to terrorists was in Ancona when on 12 April 1999 thirty tons of the most sophisticated heavy arms shipped from Germany were discovered in the three trucks marked by the symbols of the humanitarian organisation "Caritas". Similar activities, which are directly in contradiction with United Nations Security Council resolution 1160, were intensified when plans started to be made about the invasion of the FR of Yugoslavia by ground forces. Several hundred terrorists have been transported from the USA and Western Europe into Albania. There are plans to equip, arm and train about six thousand Albanians for co-ordinated actions with NATO warplanes.
Encouraged by the support of NATO countries, the members of the so-called KLA have committed 2733 terrorist acts since 1 January 1998 to 2 May 1999 , out of which 1078 were against citizens and civilian facilities. They killed 335 citizens, out of whom 187 Albanians, 71 Serbs and Montenegrins, 8 Romanies, 3 Muslims, one Turk and 65 persons whose identity has not been established. In 1999 alone the Albanian terrorists committed 850 crimes out of which 322 against the citizens and civilian facilities. They killed 162, injured 183 and kidnapped 62 persons.
* * *
At the moment it is difficult to perceive and evaluate all the humanitarian,
economic, environmental, health and other consequences of the NATO criminal
aggression against the FR of Yugoslavia. The greatest victim of the aggression
is the entire Yugoslav people and its material and cultural resources.
At the same time, by the violation of the Charter of the United Nations,
the NATO has created a precedent which may cast a shadow over the future
of all peoples and sovereign States. The cause for concern is all the greater
because, by combining pressure and promises, NATO is drawing an increasing
number of countries into its aggression against the FR of Yugoslavia, endangering
thereby peace and security. Thus the energies are taken away from
the goals of developmentcausing enroumous material losses. Attempt by NATO
to justify its brutal aggression by an alleged care for the refugees may
bring about an irreversible degradation of the United Nations and involve
this highest international forum in the crime against a country which is
one of its founding members.