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    Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj (R) surrounded by his supporters holds a burning NATO flag during an anti-government rally on March 24, 2015, in front of the building of the former federal Interior Ministry in Belgrade

    Serbia to Sue NATO Over Damage Caused by 1999 Bombing of Yugoslavia

    © AFP 2017/ ANDREJ ISAKOVIC
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    Serbia has launched a team of lawyers tasked with the preparation of a lawsuit against NATO over the damage it had caused to the country during the 1999 bombing. The team will include the best lawyers from Serbia, as well as from the EU, Russia, China and India and will be headed by prominent Serbian lawyer Srdjan Aleksic.

    "We want to bring to trial the NATO states that participated in the aggression against Yugoslavia. These are 20 states that directly or indirectly participated in it. The lawsuits will target directly each of these states," Aleksic told Sputnik Serbia.

    According to Aleksic, the lawyers do not plan to apply to the International Court of Justice. Instead, the lawsuits will be filed with the national courts of each of the 20 states.

    "We believe that this is within the competence of national courts. These states violated the principles set forth in the seventh chapter of the UN Charter, which prohibits aggression against any state. In addition, NATO has violated chapters 5 and 6 of its own charter, since NATO is a defensive alliance, and not an offensive one. This is about a violation of international law, in particular conventions, which prohibit aggression and the use of force against sovereign states," the lawyer explained.

    Members of Aleksic's team are expected to prepare about 20 cases supported by convincing material evidence, like medical documents that indicate a connection between the use of depleted uranium munitions during the bombing and the increase in the number of oncological diseases in Serbia over the last two decades.

    "They dropped from 10 to 15 tons of depleted uranium on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The increase in the number of cancer patients has caused serious concerns. Malignant tumors are found annually in 33,000 Serbian citizens. Every day this terrible disease is diagnosed at least in one child in our country. Compared with 1999, the number of cancer patients has increased by five times, primarily in the south of Serbia, as well as Kosovo and Metohija," Aleksic said.

    According to the lawyer, outstanding Serbian doctors, oncologists and toxicologists will participate in the preparation of the lawsuit.

    "All our statements are evidenced by the fact that 45 Italian soldiers who served in those areas of Kosovo which were affected by the bombing with depleted uranium eventually got cancer. The court acknowledged the fact that the responsibility for the incident must be borne by the State of Italy, and now it pays serious compensation, from 200,000 to 1,200,000 euros to each person diagnosed with the disease. Our lawsuit will be based on that," the lawyer said.

    The lawsuit will also take into account the consequences of the use of cluster bombs, resulting in numerous human casualties, as well as the bombings of chemical and oil facilities that have damaged the environment.

    In 1998, an armed conflict broke out between Kosovo Albanian independence supporters and Yugoslavia, as militias were seeking independence for Kosovo and Metohija. The following year, NATO intervened in the conflict without UN approval and started bombing Yugoslavia.

    The bombing killed hundreds of civilians, and destroyed the country's infrastructure including bridges, industrial plants and public buildings.

    Related:

    Serbia to Commemorate All Victims of 1999 NATO Bombings of Yugoslavia
    When History Teaches Nothing: Anniversary of NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia
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    lawsuit, Bombing of Yugoslavia, NATO, Serbia
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