Lord Robertson, NATO Secretary General,
in response to Amnesty International Report ""Collateral Damage"
or Unlawful Killings/Violations of the Laws of War by NATO During Operation
The allegations made in the Amnesty International report today that NATO
violated the laws of war in its conduct of the Kosovo air campaign last
year are baseless and ill-founded.
Madame Carla del Ponte, the Chief Prosecutor of the UN's International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, told the UN Security Council
last week, "I am very satisfied there was no deliberate targeting
of civilians or of unlawful military targets by NATO during the bombing
campaign." She stated, "I am now able to announce my
conclusion, following a full consideration of my team's assessment of
all complaints and allegations, that there is no basis for opening an
investigation into any of those allegations or into other incidents related
to the NATO bombing."
NATO scrupulously adhered to international law, including the law of
war, throughout the conflict and made every effort to minimise civilian
casualties. Unfortunately, as we have always acknowledged, among over
ten thousand bombing missions, in a few cases mistakes were made, or weapons
malfunctioned, leading to civilian deaths or injuries. We deeply regret
such incidents. But such incidents must be weighed against the atrocities
that NATO's action stopped.
NATO's air campaign put an end to the most brutal ethnic violence seen
in Europe since World War II. Extensive documentation by the OSCE, Human
Rights Watch and the media show that Serbian military and police forces
engaged in a deliberate, massive, and prolonged campaign of violence against
Kosovar Albanian civilians in gross violation of international law and
civilised norms of behaviour. The clear priority now is to bring to justice
the war criminals that perpetrated this violence against the people of