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Raju G. C. Thomas

The US and NATO is violating a number of international laws in attacking Serbia over Kosovo which is part of a sovereign independent state.

(1) It is a violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter that prohibits the use of force against a sovereign state where it has not committed aggression on other states. Serbia did not attack any neighboring states outside its sovereign borders. The Security Council did not sanction the use of force here. If the issue had been submitted to the Security Council, it would certainly have been vetoed by Russia and China. NATO knows it and therefore bypassed it. Efforts to justify these actions through earlier resolutions or Chapter 7 of the Charter are acts of distortion and convenience.

(2) It is a violation of NATO's own charter which claims it is a defensive organizations and is only committed to force if one of its members is attacked. No member of NATO was attacked.

(3) The so-called Rambouillet "Agreement" (there was no "agreement" by Serbia ) is a violation of Articles 51 and 52 of the 1980 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which forbids coercion and force to compel any state
to sign a treaty or agreement. Serbia is being asked to sign this "Agreement" through NATO bombs and missiles.

(4) It is a violation of the Helsinki Accords Final Act of 1975 which guarantees the territorial frontiers of the states of Europe. What this so-called peace plan offers is (a) the severance of Kosovo through NATO bombing with immediate effect; or (b) the severance of Kosovo through NATO occupation three years later. The Serbs chose (a).

(5) If the sequel to the bombing is recogntion of Kosovo as an independent state, this will violate international law that prohibits recognition of provinces that unilaterally declare independence against the wishes of the federal authorities.

Contradicting my claim that NATO had violated at least five accepted norms of international law, several respondents argued that the NATO's attack on Serbia was justified under the 1948 Genocide Convention and/or other general humanitarian principles.

(1) NATO cannot unilaterally invoke the Genocide Convention and authorize such attacks. Only the Security Council can do so which was deliberately bypassed by NATO because it knew that Russia and China would veto such an attack.

(2) There was no genocide going on in Kosovo when the attack was launched. Cries of Serbian agression and genocide within its own province were being made in the US Congress in April 1998 when only 80 people had died and less than 100,000 internally displaced. At the time of the attack, 2,000 had died on all sides and 250,000 Albanians had been displaced. It was the threat of NATO attack and the subsequent terror bombing that parallels the fire bombing of Tokyo and Yokohama during the Second World War that triggered the Serbian retaliation and humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo.

(3) There was no humanitarian intervention by the US and the West when the Nigerian authorities crushed the Biafra separatist movement between 1967 and 1970 causing the deaths of one million Ibos, when Pakistani forces
killed one million and drove out 10 million Bengalis during the East Pakistani secessionist struggle in 1971, when the Pol Pot regime killed one million Cambodians, to name just a few cases. In the latter two cases, the US condemned India and Vietnam for their interventions and threatened military action against them.

(4) Ethnic cleansing is not genocide. If it were, the Allied powers were guilty of genocide for the expulsion of some 12 million Germans from Poland, Czechoslavkia and elsewhere at the end of the Second World War, and
surely European Jews committed genocide when it drove out nearly a million Palestinians to carve out the state of Israel in 1948.

(5) There is now an ethnically pure Greater Croatia. There are almost 900,000 Serbian refugees ethnically cleansed from Croatia and the federation, 300,000 in Republika Srpska and 600,000 in Serbia. This is more
than any other ethnic group. Croatia conducted the largest single ethnic cleansing of the war with American military support.

For the record, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute determined that about 35-50,000 people died on all sides during the Bosnian civil war, not 250,000. The investigative team for the Hague Tribunal
interviewed only 223 Bosnian women claming to be raped, and collected another 575 affidavits. Allegations of 20-60,000 rapes are guesses.

Russia, China and India, representing half the human race, got it right about the Kosovo crisis. NATO, the only alliance left in this galaxy, committed aggression on Serbia. This is all about saving NATO's face at a very heavy price for the Serbs.

If NATO is above international law, then so is every other state and organization. It has set a terrible precedent.

Raju G. C. Thomas


George C. Thomas (Raju)
2231 W. Appletree Road, Glendale, WI 53209-3309
Tel: (414) 351-3699; 351-0629

Raju G. C. Thomas
Department of Political Science, Marquette University,
P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Tel: (414) 288-6840; Fax: (414) 288-3360

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