Serbia Will Start Collecting Material on NATO’s Airstrikes in 1999

Translated by Ollie Richardson


The collection of materials on the consequences of the bombing of Serbia by NATO aircraft in 1999 will start on June 12th, said the head of the Department of Oncologolgy in the Clinical Center of Serbia Danica Grujičić.

The Skupština (parliament) of Serbia in the middle of May approved the structure of the commission, which is called to define the consequences of NATO bombing for the population of the country. Earlier the president Aleksandr Vucic said that the use of shells with depleted uranium by aircraft of the North Atlantic Alliance is the reason for the growth of oncological diseases in the country.

“We, with representatives of three ministries – healthcare, the environment, and the Ministry of Defence, determined that the start date of the work of the coordinating body will be June 12th … It consists of practicians — physicists, chemists, doctors, then advisers, mainly representatives of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the governing board headed by the Minister of Environmental Protection Goran Trivan, where there will also be the Minister of Healthcare Zlatibor Lončar and the Minister of Defence Aleksandr Vulin,” reports the newspaper “Vecherne novosti”, citing Doctor Grujičić’s words.

According to her, the exchange of information with representatives of Italian military personnel from the international peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo who developed cancer as a result of the consequences of the use of depleted uranium by NATO aircraft will become one of the first steps.

“Our task will be much wider, since along with consequences of bombing with depleted uranium we will investigate the consequences of pollution from the destruction of industrial objects and chemical companies… The most important thing is to track the change in incidence rates over the last 19 years. Not only oncology, which definitely grows, but also autoimmune diseases, infertility, and mental diseases,” head of the Department of Oncologolgy in the Clinical Center of Serbia.

It is expected that the created coordinating body will also conduct economic and legal research. The collected material can form the basis of a presentation of a claim by Serbia to 19 member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance that participated in the aggression.

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In 1999 the armed confrontation between Albanian separatists from the Kosovo Liberation Army and the army and police of Serbia led to bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) (at that time consisting of Serbia and Montenegro) by NATO forces. The Airstrikes of NATO continued from March 24th to June 10th, 1999.

The exact number of victims is unknown. According to the estimates of the authorities of Serbia, during the bombing about 2,500 people, including 89 children died. 12,500 people were wounded. The material damage, according to different data, is estimated to be from 30 to 100 billion dollars.

The military operation was undertaken without the approval of the UN Security Council and on the basis of the statement of the western countries that the authorities of the FRY carried out ethnic cleaning in the Kosovan autonomy and provoked a humanitarian disaster there.

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