Serbian President Calls 1999 NATO Bombing a Crime on Anniversary

A glass and iron monument in Belgrade honoring to those killed in the 1990s conflicts in the Balkans was met with controvsery

by John Glaser, March 24, 2012

Serbian President Boris Tadic said Saturday the 1999 NATO bombing campaign that stopped his country’s offensive on Kosovo 13 years ago was a crime, and he paid tribute to the hundreds of Serbs the alliance killed.

“That was a crime against our country and our people, and I have nothing to add to that,” Tadic said during a ceremony marking the anniversary of the bombing in the central Serbian town of Aleksinac. A large, controversial monument memorializing those killed in the 1990s Balkan wars was unveiled in Belgrade, the capital, on Saturday.

Although the U.S.-led NATO campaign was framed as a humanitarian mission to protect Albanian Kosovars, Washington’s intentions were more about international interests in extending military and economic influence into the post-Soviet geographic sphere. Anyways, Washington’s support for atrocities far worse than those committed by Serbia, like those in East Timor at the same time for example, demonstrates the flawed humanitarian justification.

The 78-day NATO bombing campaign was not approved by the United Nations Security Council and targeted not just Serbian military targets but also civilian infrastructure like electricity and water supplies and communication systems, which are crimes under international law.

Serbian authorities say 2,500 people, about half civilian, were killed in the NATO bombings. Most estimates place the number of civilian deaths caused by NATO’s assault at about 500, with many more military casualties. The death count for the entire Kosovo conflict, which worsened considerably after NATO’s intervention, is about 10,000.

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