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U.N. round-table debate condemns NATO aggression on Yugoslavia
20 August 1999
Belgrade (Tanjug) - Non-governmental organisations have held a round-table debate in the United Nations' Palais des Nations in Geneva about the Balkan crisis and its effects on international law and humanitarian conventions.
According to a Yugoslav government statement on Thursday, the participants in the debate condemned NATO's March 24-June 10 aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as being in complete contravention of the existing international order.
They stressed that NATO's deliberate bombings of oil refineries and chemical factories have polluted for a long time to come the natural resources which are vital to the life of the people both in Yugoslavia and in the whole world.
The rapporteurs were Alejandro Teitelbaum of the U.S. legal society, Rosalie Bartell, Canada's president of the international public health institute, and World Health Organisation (WHO) expert Luke Haffner, Swiss army judge and Geneva lawyer.
Teitelbaum stressed that non-governmental organisations must take massive and urgent action through the U.N. system to stop the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo-Metohija of its Serbs and Romanies, for which NATO and the international KFOR force in the territory are to blame.
Bartell, for her part, said that the NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia were a disaster both for Yugoslavia and for the planet, because the Rio declaration specifies that natural resources are the shared heritage of mankind.
Haffner, in turn, said it is incredible that the NATO aggression should have taken place at the time of the 50th anniversary of the Geneva conventions.
NATO's insistence on the alleged legitimacy of its targets was in fact nothing but a screen to protect it from accountability for violating the Geneva conventions, he averred.
The participants agreed to take joint action through the U.N. system to condemn the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia and explain the actual situation in the Yugoslav republic of Serbia's KFOR-protected province of Kosovo-Metohija, which NATO is deliberately obscuring.
A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that the ICRC has sent teams to Yugoslavia and that their preliminary findings indicate that numerous norms of international law were violated.
Return to the 'NATO Bombing - has it brought peace to the Balkans?' Alert.