U.S., Yugoslavia Trade War-Crime Accusations: Blame Each Other for Kosovo Horrors
Skrlec, Jasminka, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The United States and Yugoslavia yesterday accused each other of war crimes, with Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright presenting evidence of atrocities in Kosovo and Belgrade telling the World Court that NATO was guilty of genocide.
Yugoslavia's legal representative, Rodoljub Etinski, asked the court in The Hague to order a halt to the air strikes, which began March 24 to stop Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from repressing majority ethnic Albanians in the southern province of Kosovo.
"The acts of bombing against Yugoslavia are not just illegal acts, they constitute a violation of human rights and genocide," Mr. Etinski said, claiming the air strikes violated international law.
Yugoslavia says more than 1,200 civilians have been killed so far in the NATO bombardments and 4,500 seriously injured. It has accused 10 countries, particularly United States and Britain, of bombing its territory in flagrant violation of the U.N. charter and other international treaties.
In Washington, Mrs. Albright spoke of execution, rape and ethnic cleansing by Serbian forces in Kosovo as she released a State Department report of atrocities in Kosovo.
"Horrific patterns of war crimes and crimes against humanity are emerging in Kosovo: systematic executions, organized rape and a well-planned program of terror and expulsion," Mrs. Albright told reporters.
More than 90 percent of ethnic Albanians have been expelled from their homes in Kosovo by Serbian forces and civilians, the report said.
There are reports of mass graves in six villages and in the Pagarusa Valley. Refugees say that Serbian forces systematically separated military-age men from their families. …