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Yugoslavia Reports on Dead Children


The Associated Press
Monday, March 20, 2000; 10:38 a.m. EST

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia

Marking the anniversary of NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, President Slobodan Milosevic's government is to publish details on each of the 79 children killed in those attacks, a high-ranking official said Monday.

"This will be an unprecedented public charge against those responsible for the aggression," government liaison official Margit Savovic told the state-run Tanjug news agency.

The document is to be published Friday, the one-year anniversary of the beginning of NATO's 78-day air strikes. The attacks were launched to halt Milosevic's crackdown on Kosovo Albanians.

"It is unacceptable that children too became 'collateral damage,'" Savovic said, using a NATO phrase on civilian casualties in the campaign last spring.

Savovic said the document will provide detailed information on each of the 79 children her government says were killed by NATO air strikes "more than one child for each day of the bombings." The book is to be sent to UNICEF and the U.N. international war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia, based in The Hague, Netherlands.

There is no data on the precise number of children injured in the bombings, but Savovic estimated that the figure was in the hundreds. All of the country's 3 million children suffered in the bombing, she said, estimating that 10 percent have permanent psychological consequences such as post-traumatic fears, neurotic behavior or full-blown psychosis.

Most in jeopardy are refugee children, Savovic said, adding some 100,000 Kosovo Serb children fled the province after NATO deployment there. The Yugoslav official tally for the number of Serb refugees who fled the province in fear of Kosovo Albanian revenge attacks is 350,000.

The $3 million in UNICEF aid for Yugoslavia's children is "more than inadequate considering their needs," Savovic said.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press


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