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An overview of the nato aggression against serbia in 1999

Verrier, ibid, at 330. Notwithstanding the designation of specific targets and the attempt, at least by US Army Air Force commanders on occasion, to conduct a precision bombing campaign, for the most part World War II bombing campaigns were aimed at area targets and intended, directly or indirectly, to affect the morale of the enemy civilian population.

It is difficult to describe the fire bombing of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo as anything other than attacks intended to kill, terrorize or demoralize civilians.

An overview of the nato aggression against serbia in 1999

Whether or not these attacks could be justified legally in the total war context of the time, they would be unlawful if they were required to comply with Protocol I.

Technology, law, and the public consensus of what was acceptable, at least in demonstrably limited conflicts, had evolved by the time of the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict.

Technological developments, such as precision guided munitions, and the rapid acquisition of control of the aerospace by coalition air forces significantly enhanced the precision with which targets could be attacked.

NATO member-states to be sued for 1999 attack on Serbia

Target sets used during the Gulf Conflict were: Schwarzkopf added the Republican Guard as a category and Scuds soon emerged as a separate target set. After the beginning of Desert Storm, two more categories appeared: Murray, Air War in the Persian Gulf 1995 32 45. These objectives were to: Phases of the Campaign. Phase 0 was the deployment of air assets into the European theater.

Phase 1 would establish air superiority over Kosovo and degrade command and control over the whole of the FRY. Phase 2 would attack military targets in Kosovo and those FRY forces south of 44 degrees north latitude, which were providing reinforcement to Serbian forces into Kosovo. Phase 3 would expand air operations against a wide range of high-value military and security force targets throughout the FRY. Phase 4 would redeploy forces as required.

A limited air response relying predominantly on cruise missiles to strike selected targets throughout the Phase 1. At the NATO Summit in Washington on April 23, 1999, alliance leaders decided to further intensify the air campaign by expanding the target set to include military-industrial infrastructure, media, and other strategic targets. Strikes on tactical targets, such as artillery and field headquarters, had a more immediate effect in disrupting the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.

Strikes against strategic targets, such as government ministries and refineries, had long term and broader impact on the Serb military machine.

Strategic targets included Serb air defences, command and control facilities, Yugoslav military VJ and police MUP forces headquarters, and supply routes". Most of the targets referred to in the quotations above are clearly military objectives. The precise scope of "military-industrial infrastructure, media and other strategic targets" as referred to in the US statement and "government ministries and refineries" as referred to in the NATO statement is unclear.

Whether the media constitutes a legitimate target group is a debatable issue. If the media is used to incite crimes, as in Rwanda, then it is a legitimate target. If it is merely disseminating propaganda to generate support for the war effort, it is not a legitimate target. The main problem with the principle of proportionality is not whether or not it exists but what it means and how it is to be applied. It is relatively simple to state that there must be an acceptable relation between the legitimate destructive effect and undesirable collateral effects.

For example, bombing a refugee camp is obviously prohibited if its only military significance is that people in the camp are knitting socks for soldiers. Conversely, an air strike on an ammunition dump should not be prohibited merely because a farmer is plowing a field in the area.

Unfortunately, most applications of the principle of proportionality are not quite so clear cut. It is much easier to formulate the principle of proportionality in general terms than it is to apply it to a particular set of circumstances because the comparison is often between unlike quantities and values.

One cannot easily assess the value of innocent human lives as opposed to capturing a particular military objective. The questions which remain unresolved once one decides to apply the principle of proportionality include the following: The answers to these questions are not simple.

It may be necessary to resolve them on a case by case basis, and the answers may differ depending on the background and values of the decision maker. It is unlikely that a human rights lawyer and an experienced combat commander would assign the same relative values to military advantage and to injury to noncombatants.

Further, it is unlikely that military commanders with different doctrinal backgrounds and differing degrees of combat experience or national military histories would always agree in close cases.

It is suggested that the determination of relative values must be that of the "reasonable military commander". Although there will be room for argument in close cases, there will be many cases where reasonable military commanders will agree that the injury to noncombatants or the damage to civilian objects was clearly disproportionate to the military advantage gained.

Much of the material submitted to the OTP consisted of reports that civilians had been killed, often inviting the conclusion to be drawn that crimes had therefore been committed.

Collateral casualties to civilians and collateral damage to civilian objects can occur for a variety of reasons. Despite an obligation to avoid locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas, to remove civilians from the vicinity of military objectives, and to protect their civilians from the dangers of military operations, very little prevention may be feasible in many cases. City planners rarely pay heed to the possibility of future warfare.

Military objectives are often located in densely populated areas and fighting occasionally occurs in such areas. Civilians present within or near military objectives must, however, be taken into account in the proportionality equation even if a party to the conflict has failed to exercise its obligation to remove them.

In the Kupreskic Judgment Case No: As an example of the way in which the Martens clause may be utilised, regard might be had to considerations such as the cumulative effect of attacks on military objectives causing incidental damage to civilians. In other words, it may happen that single attacks on military objectives causing incidental damage to civilians, although they may raise doubts as to their lawfulness, nevertheless do not appear on their face to fall foul per se of the loose prescriptions of Articles 57 and 58 or of the corresponding customary rules.

However, in case of repeated attacks, all or most of them falling within the grey area between indisputable legality and unlawfulness, it might be warranted to conclude that the cumulative effect of such acts entails that they may not be in keeping with international law.

Indeed, this pattern of military conduct may turn out to jeopardise excessively the lives and assets of civilians, contrary to the demands of humanity. Its practical import, however, is somewhat ambiguous and its application far from clear. The committee understands the above formulation, instead, to refer to an overall assessment of the totality of civilian victims as against the goals of the military campaign.

V Casualty Figures 53. Between 62 and 66 percent of the total registered civilian deaths occurred in just twelve incidents. These twelve incidents accounted for 303 to 352 civilian deaths. These were the only incidents among the ninety documented in which ten or more civilian deaths were confirmed. A review of this publication indicates it provides an estimated total of approximately 495 civilians killed and 820 civilians wounded in specific documented instances.

For the purposes of an overview of the nato aggression against serbia in 1999 report, the committee operates on the basis of the number of persons allegedly killed as found in both publications. It appears that a figure similar to both publications would be in the range of 500 civilians killed. During the bombing campaign, NATO aircraft flew 38,400 sorties, including 10,484 strike sorties.

During these sorties, 23, 614 air munitions were released figures from NATO. As indicated in the preceding paragraph, it appears that approximately 500 civilians were killed during the campaign. These figures do not indicate that NATO may have conducted a campaign aimed at causing substantial civilian casualties either directly or incidentally.

The choice of targets by NATO see paras. All an overview of the nato aggression against serbia in 1999 must meet the criteria for military objectives see para.

If they do not do so, they are unlawful. A general label is insufficient. The targeted components of the military-industrial infrastructure and of government ministries must make an effective contribution to military action and their total or partial destruction must offer a definite military advantage in the circumstances ruling at the time. Refineries are certainly traditional military objectives but tradition is not enough and due regard must be paid to environmental damage if they are attacked see paras.

The media as such is not a traditional target category. To the extent particular media components are part of the C3 command, control and communications network they are military objectives. If media components are not part of the C3 network then they may become military objectives depending upon their use. As a bottom line, civilians, civilian objects and civilian morale as such are not legitimate military objectives.

The media does have an effect on civilian morale. If that effect is merely to foster support for the war effort, the media is not a legitimate military objective. If the media is used to incite crimes, as in Rwanda, it can become a legitimate military objective. If the media is the nerve system that keeps a war-monger in power and thus perpetuates the war effort, it may fall within the definition of a legitimate military objective.

As a general statement, in the particular incidents reviewed by the committee, it is the view of the committee that NATO was attempting to attack objects it perceived to be legitimate military objectives.

The committee agrees there is nothing inherently unlawful about flying above the an overview of the nato aggression against serbia in 1999 which can be reached by enemy air defences. However, NATO air commanders have a duty to take practicable measures to distinguish military objectives from civilians or civilian objectives. The 15,000 feet minimum altitude adopted for part of the campaign may have meant the target could not be verified with the naked eye.

However, it appears that with the use of modern technology, the obligation to distinguish was effectively carried out in the vast majority of cases during the bombing campaign. In the course of its review, the committee did not come across any incident which, in its opinion, required investigation by the OTP.

The five specific incidents discussed below are those which, in the opinion of the committee, were the most problematic. The facts cited in the discussion of each specific incident are those indicated in the information within the possession of the OTP at the time of its review.

A 5-carriage passenger train, travelling from Belgrade to Ristovac on the Macedonian border, was crossing the bridge at the time, and was struck by both missiles.

The various reports made of this incident concur that the incident occurred at about 11. At least ten people were killed in this incident and at least 15 individuals were injured. The designated target was the railway bridge, which was claimed to be part of a re-supply route being used for Serb forces in Kosovo. After launching the first bomb, the person controlling the weapon, at the last instant before impact, sighted movement on the bridge.

The controller was unable to dump the bomb at that stage and it hit the train, the impact of the bomb cutting the second of the passenger coaches in half. Realising the bridge was still intact, the controller picked a second aim point on the bridge at the opposite end from where the train had come and launched the second bomb. In the meantime the train had slid forward as a result of the original impact and parts of the train were also hit by the second bomb. It does not appear that the train was targeted deliberately.

US Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre stated that "one of our electro-optically guided bombs homed in on a railroad bridge just when a passenger train raced to the aim an overview of the nato aggression against serbia in 1999. We never wanted to destroy that train or kill its occupants. We did want to destroy the bridge and we regret this accident.