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NATO leaders war crimes
For release 7 June
LAWYERS TO MEET WITH PROSECUTOR OVER WAR CRIMES CHARGES AGAINST NATO
Lawyers from three NATO countries and the American Association of Jurists will meet with Chief Prosecutor Judge Louise Arbour at The Hague on June 9 to discuss charging NATO leaders with war crimes for the way in which they have conducted the war against Yugolsavia.
The three separate complaints, originating from Canada, Greece and the United Kingdom, charge the individual NATO leaders with violations of international criminal law in causing civilian death, injury and destruction in the bombing campaign that started on March 24.
The crimes charged are similar to those for which the Tribunal issued indictments two weeks ago against Serbian authorities, including President Slobodan Milosevic . They include "grave violations of international humanitarian law" including "wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering and serious injury to body and health, employment of poisonous weapons and other weapons to cause unnecessary suffering, wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, unlawful attacks on civilian objects, devastation not necessitated by military objectives, attacks on undefended buildings and dwellings, destruction and wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences."
The Tribunal has compulsory jurisdiction over the individual leaders and the offences are punishable with up to life imprisonment.
The lawyers will meet with the Justice Arbour at Tribunal headquarters in The Hague on Wednesday to discuss their charges and to urge her to proceed upon them.
The Canadian complaint charges 67 named individual leaders including American President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, NATO officials Javier Solana, Wesley Clark and Jamie Shea. It was drafted by law professors from Toronto's York University and lawyers with the American Association of Jurists.
The Greek complaint charges "NATO's political and military leaders and all responsible NATO personnel." It was drafted by international lawyer Alexander Lykourezos of Athens and has been signed by more than 1,000 Greek citizens.
The United Kingdom complaint was drafted by international lawyer Glen Rangwala of Cambridge University on behalf of the Movement for the Advancement of International Criminal Law. Its charges are directed against British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Defence Secretary George Robertson.
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