cj#957> “Belgrade Under the Bombs” + Ramsey investigation


Richard Moore

X-From_: •••@••.•••  Wed Jun  2 19:41:45 1999
From: "Leonard Uwiringiyimana" <•••@••.•••>
Organization: University of Dayton
To: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 14:10:28 -0500
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Subject: (Fwd) Belgrade Under the Bombs
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B E L G R A D E    U N D E R    T H E    B O M B S

R e p o r t   f r o m   a   v i s i t

June 1, 1999

"The lack of empathy and solidarity with the 11 million citizens of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia whose society is being destroyed is as
amazing as it is deplorable. Remember when people of culture, science,
politics, media and humanism flocked to Sarajevo when it was under siege?
Where are they now? Journalists flock to Macedonia and Albania - admittedly
for very good reasons - and they flock to NATO's well-staged press
briefings. But seeing for oneself what it means to be the object of the
worst military, economic and social destruction in Europe since 1945 seems,
remarkably, not to be as good a reason," says TFF director Jan Oberg and
adds that the most urgent peace activity now is to protest the bombs here
and go there.

Where are those who believe Yugoslavia is a dictatorship? Supporting fellow
human beings suffering under dictatorship is a noble reason to go but those
around the world who hold this view stay away. Where are the human rights
activists when numerous human rights are being violated by NATO? Where is
the sympathy with innocent citizens who endure the systematic destruction
of a European society and capital in the name of Western civilization?

So much for humanism, intellectualism and civil courage at the end of the
20th century. In spite of the war, it is perfectly possible to go there and
freely meet anyone you like. I did that," says Dr. Oberg. "It is
mind-boggling that even intellectuals seem to be able to hold only two
categories in their head at a time: if you are anti-NATO's bombings, you
must automatically be pro-Milosevic or pro-Serb. Or, if you go there, you
support the regime and is disloyal to the West. I am afraid that those who
hide behind such banal dichotomies are responsible for a gross
civilisational injustice done to every and all citizens in today's

I believe it is possible to be against all the violence -
Yugoslav/Serbia's, that of the Albanians and NATO's. None of them will help
solve the original problem of mistrust between Serbs and Albanians. All of
them have made the situation worse. And I believe it should be possible to
recognise and respect the human suffering of all sides - that of the
Albanians, the Serbs and that of every other group in all of Serbia and

Yugoslavia has 25 national/ethnic categories, a majority of Serbs and
Yugoslavs and 650.000 Serb refugees from Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and the
Kosovo-province. Evidently, in international politics and media their lives
and human rights do not count - as refugees in, say, Africa don't count -
as much as those of other peoples'. Painful to say, this tendential racism
- the view that Third World people, Serbs and Yugoslavs are 'Untermenschen'
- is a fact of today's Western civilization. UNHCR spends about 11 cents a
day per refugee in Africa. In the Balkans, the figure is $1.23, more than
11 times greater, as Los Angeles Times recently reported (see:

The international so-called 'community' indicts President Milosevic and a
handful of leaders. It's doubtful that they will ever end up in the Hague.
But those who are suffering under this leadership are being killed,
punished, isolated and humiliated by NATO. Any taxi driver in Belgrade will
tell you with sardonic humour: "We only have two problems: 12 years with
Milosevic and now NATO's bombs, otherwise everything is fine here!"

Yugoslavia's opposition, independent intellectuals and peace movements will
tell you exactly the same: 'You, the West, is making everything so much
more difficult for us now - and a generation's time ahead. What are your
real interests? We are the ones who WANT to be part of the modern world,
who STRUGGLE for a democratic Yugoslavia and DESIRE integration with the
West. Don't you understand how counterproductive these bombs are to us?'

Oberg continues, "I watch the heavy bombs and cruise missiles fall at night
- 'successfully' according to NATO's spokesmen a few hours later. I hear
the roaring thunder of the explosions. I feel the shaking of the building
and ground. I note sirens at any time of the day and the night, NATO
permits no one to sleep for long. I feel the rage inside, the utter
meaninglessness, my own powerlessness and humiliation in the face of mighty
high-tech destruction and I think, 'this is my culture, it is my political
leaders who do or support this.' I know now how true it is that one has to
be there to sense it and I experience how much stop working when we are
without electricity - water pumps, cookers, street lights, computers,
phones. There is only one word for what I feel: I am ashamed of the culture
that does this."

"I walk around Belgrade and Novi Sad to see the surreal landscapes of
destroyed buildings, bridges, ministries, police stations, hotels, radio-
and TV stations, apartment houses, schools and embassies. The oil refinery
in Novi Sad is still burning, three weeks after the hit. What was once big
trees are now black, charred stumps. I know it is different, but it reminds
me of images of Hiroshima.

I experience how life becomes harder by the day. People don't sleep at home
if it is close to a potential target. They queue for cigarettes and other
luxuries. They shop for hours for certain foodstuffs and medicine and care
for the old, the sick and the handicapped in ways they didn't have to
before. So many ask me what the chances are to get their children out -
thousands already have fled abroad. Men between 18 and 65 may be called up
any day. Below-the-minimum-of-existence-salaries and pensions are paid,
months after they should have been. Life is ruined when big industries in
small towns are destroyed. People plan what to do to get their parents,
their children, their animals and themselves in safety, if...Life is now
one big IF.

People generally put up a brave face, quite defiant, actually. They seem
not aggressive but rather pitying countries with so much military and so
little intellectual and moral power. Many find Western civilization
barbaric and ridiculous, its leaders conceited. Should anybody think that
this is a citizenry that will give up soon, a visit to Yugoslavia will help
cure that delusion.

I listen to courageous, independent-minded people in academia and NGOs
telling me that I must no longer expect constructive social activism, not
even anti-NATO protests on the bridges at night. 'We are at war, it's
dangerous, we may be seen as fifth column;  hardline politicians have
published lists of potential 'traitors.' They refer not only to the last
sixty-some days but to the last 10-12 years when Yugoslavia has been
demonized, under sanctions and otherwise isolated. 'We can't travel, we no
longer know what the future will bring - land invasion, civil war, poverty?
More than one million demonstrated for change in 1997 but we got no Western
support. We are simply exhausted.'

BBC reports that, according to Serb sources - that we have been told we
can't trust - a hospital has been hit. It's pretty easy to verify the truth
when in Belgrade. I find less propaganda here than in the West and this
place is at war, the West is not. It bombs Yugoslav media and force
Eutelsat to stop broadcasting Serbian television, so they cannot inform
citizens in the West of the consequences of  NATO's aggression. The Dutch
government refused to grant visas to anyone with a Yugoslav passport
seeking to participate in the Haag Peace Conference earlier this months -
while Kosovo-Albanian refugees correctly got theirs."

Says Jan Oberg, "I have begun to wonder whether there is any decency, any
sense of fairness, any true humanity left when all the above causes little
protest throughout the West. Perhaps Western leaders had become too
ecstatic with their own triumphalist power after 1989 and could use a
wake-up call to reality: that there are limits to naked power, to double
standards, to ignorance, to megalomania and to pop ideology. NATO's getting
stuck here may be it.
After all, the Yugoslavs have helped the West before."

For security reason, Oberg was prevented from going to the Kosovo province.
He will try again during hsi forthcoming mission to Macedonia.

© TFF 1999

You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but
please retain the source.


Dr. Jan Oberg
Director, head of the TFF Conflict-Mitigation team
to the Balkans and Georgia


Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
Vegagatan 25, S - 224 57 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46-46-145909 (0900-1100)
Fax +46-46-144512


X-From_: •••@••.•••  Sat Jun 12 03:08:08 1999
From: "viviane lerner" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Ron" <•••@••.•••>, "Robert Aitken" <•••@••.•••>,
        "Nelson Ho" <•••@••.•••>,
        "Kathy Kelly" <•••@••.•••>, "June Shimokawa" <•••@••.•••>,
        "Gerdine" <•••@••.•••>, "Ed Clark" <•••@••.•••>,
        "Bob Akamine" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw: [GSN] Ramsey Clark to form Int'l War Crimes Tribunal &  Russia
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 16:04:49 -0700
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Priority: 3

-----Original Message-----
From: Janet M Eaton <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.••• <•••@••.•••>
Date: Friday, June 11, 1999 8:59 AM
Subject: [GSN] Ramsey Clark to form Int'l War Crimes Tribunal & Russia

From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>

Given  the comments of   former Nuremberg prosecutor  WALTER
J. ROCKLER  in a CBC Radio Interview last night[June 10th]  that it
would be unlikely that NATO War Crimes would be taken
seriously by the ICTY- since it was hardly likely to bite the hand
that feeds it -and given the untimely  departure of Madame Justice
Lousie Arbour from the ICTY -  this announcement by Ramsey Clark and
the International Action Center  seems timely and encouraging.

And I note in my directory tonight as well that on June 9th the
Russian State Duma passed a draft resolution which says that 20
lawmakers [MPs] will make up an adhoc commission to investigate "the
crimes committed during the   aggression of the North Atlantic
Alliance against Yugoslavia". See article below the IAC one which

All the best, janet


1] International Action Center
39 West 14 St., #206   New York, NY  10011
(212) 633-6646   fax: (212) 633-2889
http://www.iacenter.org   email: •••@••.•••

June 11, 1999



A Commission of Inquiry for an International War Crimes Tribunal has
been initiated by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.  Mr.
Clark is the chairperson of the International Action Center.  The
Commission of Inquiry will hold hearings to collect eyewitness,
direct, and expert testimony, video footage, photographs, documents,
and other evidence as part of an investigation into crimes against
peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed during the
U.S./NATO bombing war against Yugoslavia.

The Commission of Inquiry will include international jurists, human
rights activists, trade unionists, medical personnel, environmental
experts, rank-and-file soldiers from NATO countries, and people who
have been in Yugoslavia during the bombing.

Mr. Clark is in the process of outlining a multi-point indictment of
the U.S. government's conduct in the war against Yugoslavia.  This
indictment will serve as the basis of the Commission's work.

We are now in the process of organizing similar hearings throughout
the United States, in other NATO countries, in Russia, and elsewhere.
At the conclusion of these hearings, there will be convened an
International War Crimes Tribunal that will consider all of the

We are now assembling an international research team and will be
dispatching investigators and researchers wherever evidence can be

The July 31 Commission of Inquiry hearing will take place at the
Fashion Institute of Technology campus in New York City.  We are
urging anti-war activists to come to New York that weekend to
participate in the Commission of Inquiry hearing and to join us in a
national organizers' planning conference that will prepare the work of
the Commission of Inquiry in cities throughout the United States.

If you are interested in being a volunteer, an organizer, or a member
of the research staff, please contact Sarah Sloan at (212) 633-6646 or
email us at •••@••.•••.

Sara Flounders and Brian Becker
Co-Directors, International Action Center


2]   20 Russian MPs to investigate NATO crimes in Yugoslavia.

   MOSCOW, June 9 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian State Duma passed a draft
   resolution on Wednesday which says that 20 lawmakers will make up
   an adhoc commission to investigate "the crimes committed during the
   aggression of the North Atlantic Alliance against Yugoslavia".

   The commission has to submit the results of investigation by
   December 1, 1999. It is to collect and analyse information,
   cooperate with government agencies and also "interact with the
   International tribunal for legal persecution of those responsible
   for serious violations of the international humanitarian law
   committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991".

   Earlier the Duma passed a resolution on the creation of such a
   commission which said that the "undeclared NATO war against
   Yugoslavia results in numerous civilian casualties, the elimination
   of the industrial and transport infrastructure, communication and
   life-supporting systems".

   "NATO actions are a rude violation of the generally accepted
   principles and norms of the international law. NATO aggression
   against Yugoslavia should be viewed as a military crime and its
   leadership should be punished for the crime", the resolution said.


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