Nato must be called to answer for what it did in YU

GENEVA, December 8 (Itar-Tass) - The American Bar Association and a group of Canadian law scholars have called for the institution of criminal proceedings against the NATO leaders, who are responsible for the wholesale massacres of civilians and for other military crimes committed in the course of the aggression against Yugoslavia. The communique, released by the Association in Geneva, says that this demand was made known to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia Carla del Ponte on November 19.

Jacobs and Mandel handed over to this tribunal three large volumes of documents, testifying to the committed NATO crimes. Moreover, arguments, which prompted the Association to call for the trial of the NATO leaders, were explained orally.

These arguments were reduced to twelve "points" in the communique. The lawyers drew attention, among other things, to the huge number of evidence, proving that the sixty-eight leaders of the NATO bloc and of the NATO countries had committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the Geneva conventions, including "premeditated killing and injuring of thousands of civilians, as well as destruction of civilian property worth hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars". These actions, committed by the NATO leaders, were "premeditated and cannot be legally justified, while the war was unlawful from beginning to end". Irrespective of the responsibility borne by the Balkan politicians themselves, a huge share of the moral and legal responsibility for the current catastrophe in former Yugoslavia rests with the NATO leaders, the communique says. The list of those accused includes the heads of government, the foreign and defence ministers of all the NATO countries, as well as the leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance as a whole.

The decision to institute proceedings against President Slobodan Milosevic and other members of the Serbian leadership, made at the time when the aggression was at its head, made it incumbent on the chief prosecutor to bring charges against the NATO leaders, too. Since this was not done, the tribunal was exploited by the NATO countries as a most important instrument of their propaganda, helping them to wage this unlawful, aggressive war. Lack of indictment against the NATO leaders gives grounds for the continuation of the disastrous sanctions against Yugoslavia.

The communique of the American Bar Association stresses that the plaintiffs, who had filed a suit against NATO, are unable to understand why the Hague Tribunal cannot take any action on this and other complaints against the NATO leaders. There is an abundance of evidence against them. Much time has already elapsed, whereas the proceedings against Slobodan Milosevic were instituted with remarkable haste.

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