By Liu Yonghai, Wang zhongkui, Liu Sizheng
June 10 marks the 23rd anniversary of the end of NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was launched 23 years ago by the US-led NATO without the approval of the UN Security Council and lasted 78 days. In these days, NATO dropped a total of 22,000 tons of bombs, including 15 tons of depleted uranium, directly killing more than 2,500 people, including 79 children, and turning more than one million innocent residents into refugees.
What is more distressing is that the suffering caused by the war has haunted until this day, from generation to generation. Experts point out that depleted uranium munitions have a long latency period for damage to human body and long-term effects on the environment and the human food chain.
In the 10 years following the bombing, about 30,000 people in Serbia developed cancer, of which more than 10,000 died. According to the Institute of Public Health in Belgrade, as of the end of 2019, 97,000 people were registered as suffering from cancer in Serbia. Studies by the Serbian Emergency Center show that children born in the country after 1999 had more ectodermal tumors between the ages of one and five, more malignant blood diseases between the ages of five and nine, and a sharp increase in the incidence of brain tumors between the ages of nine and 18. In addition, as of May 2019, 366 Italian soldiers involved in NATO military operations had died of cancer and 7,500 were suffering from the disease
Three thousand victims of depleted uranium bombs have commissioned international lawyers to file a lawsuit against NATO. However, NATO tried to exonerate itself under the guise of immunity, which is terribly shocking and infuriating.
"We have received a response to the NATO lawsuit," said Serbian lawyer Aleksic, who was leading the litigation team. “NATO claims to have immunity. It is absolutely not true. No country in the world, not only in Serbia, has the right to grant immunity to war criminals."
Aleksic told the media that NATO's liaison office in Serbia sent a statement to the Belgrade court whereby NATO argued that it had signed an agreement with Serbia and Montenegro on transit participation and support for peacekeeping operations in 2005, and another agreement with Serbia to set up a liaison office in 2006. NATO tried to justify itself to have full jurisdictional immunity in Serbia with these two agreements. In other words, NATO believed that they have privileges in Serbia, so the depleted uranium bombs dropped by NATO were also "legal." In response to the completely unjustified claims, Aleksic refuted that neither of the two agreements granted NATO jurisdictional immunity. And more importantly, even if there was immunity, it couldn’t be used retroactively. The two agreements were signed in 2005 and 2006, while the US war crimes of bombing the Belgrade were committed in 1999, and there is no justification for the latter agreement to explain the previous issues.
Generally speaking, what NATO did was to cover up its evil deeds after trampling on the national sovereignty of another country, trying to conceal its war crimes by using the so-called immunity argument. NATO's approach not only fails to prove its innocence, but also helps the whole world to fully reexamine its long list of war crimes.
Since its founding, its so-called military operations have never brought about peace and stability, but chaos and trauma.
War in Bosnia and Herzegovina
From April 1992 to December 1995, a war broke out among the three main ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina over its future and the division of its territory. On the eve of the Bosnia War, NATO hastily recognized the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina before the Serbs, Muslims and Croats had reached a consensus agreement on the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which undoubtedly aggravated the ethnic conflicts in the region. NATO launched massive air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs, and eventually forced the three ethnic groups to sign the Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a consequence of the war, 278,000 civilians were killed, more than 2 million people became refugees, direct economic losses amounted to more than $ 6.7 billion, and the vast majority of economic facilities were destroyed.
The war in Kosovo was triggered by ethnic tensions in Kosovo and promoted by the US-led NATO without the authorization of the United Nations. It lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999. On May 7, 1999 Belgrade time (May 8, 1999 Beijing time), the US-led NATO forces blatantly bombed the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by dropping five Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) from B-2 stealth bomber. Three Chinese journalists were killed on the spot, dozens of others were injured, and the embassy building was severely damaged. As a result of the three-month bombing, 1,800 civilians were killed, 6,000 were injured, 12 railroads were destroyed, 50 bridges were bombed, 20 hospitals were destroyed, 40% of oil depots and 30% of radio and television stations were damaged, and economic losses totaled $200 billion.
This is the first time since its establishment that NATO has launched a war against a sovereign state without the authorization of the United Nations, marking its shift from defensive to offensive and the pursuit of a new interventionist strategy and clear expansionist policy. Zivadin Jovanovic, the former foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, accused that NATO's use of force against Belgrade is a serious violation of the UN Charter and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and poses serious challenges to the basic principles of international law.
The US-led NATO coalition launched a war against al-Qaida and the Taliban on Oct. 7, 2001, as a retaliation for the Sept. 11 attack. As of May, 2021, with the sudden and irresponsible withdrawal of US and NATO troops, a total of 241,000 people were killed during the war in Afghanistan, 71,000 of whom were civilians, and millions of people became homeless, according to a study by Boston University. The 20-year war has also brought huge economic losses to the people in Afghanistan. According to the scholars’ assessment of Kabul University, the war has resulted in an average economic loss of about $60 million per day. The war in Afghanistan has also brought about the disorder of Afghan society. It is reported that during the war in Afghanistan, 72% lived below the poverty line, and 3.5 million children were deprived of the opportunity to go to school. The chaos in Afghanistan has also held the candle to the devil, the terrorist networks such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and Al-Qaeda have taken advantage of the opportunity to expand in Afghanistan, further exacerbating the chaos of order in the region.
On March 20, 2003, multi-nation troops led by the United States and United Kingdom launched the military operation against Iraq . The United States circumvented the United Nations Security Council and unilaterally launched a military attack against Iraq on the grounds that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction and secretly supporting terrorists. The war has resulted in more than 100,000 casualties among the Iraqi civilians and tens of thousands of refugees. Most importantly, the devastation of the war takes a long time to heal and mend.
Libya Civil War
2011年3月20日包括美国、英国在内的多国联军开始空袭行动，空袭行动一直持续到10月份。根据联合国《第1973( 2011) 号决议》:"禁止一切飞行是保护平民以及保障运送人道援助的安全的一个重要因素"。其目的显然是为了限制利比亚空军的飞行活动以防止其对无辜平民的军事轰炸, 而非明确授权北约对利比亚使用武力包括对利比亚政府军的轰炸与对卡扎菲及其家庭成员的轰炸等。显然，北约的这次空袭，根本没有获得联合国的授权。而在空袭中，北约除了对利比亚政府军的坦克等军事设施进行轰炸以外, 还对电站、桥梁、公路等民用设施进行了轰炸, 使得利比亚居民的食物供给、电力及其他基本生活设施遭到严重破坏，完全违背了联合国的初心和本意，更谈不上符合联合国授权这么一说。
On March 20, 2011, the multinational coalition of forces led by the United States and the United Kingdom, began an airstrike on Libya that lasted until October. UN Resolution 1973 (2011) stipulates that the ban on all flights is an important element for the protection of civilians and the safety of the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The purpose was not to authorize NATO's use of force against Libya, but to prevent the Libyan Air Force from bombing innocent civilians. So, the NATO airstrikes were actually not authorized by the UN at all. In addition to destroying the Libyan government's tanks and other military facilities, NATO also bombed power stations, bridges, roads and other civilian facilities, causing serious damage to the food supply, electricity and other basic living facilities of Libyan residents, which is completely contrary to the original intention and intent of the United Nations, not to mention the United Nations authorization.
Alan Cooperman, an associate professor from the University of Texas at Austin, wrote that NATO launched airstrikes on Libya in 2011 when the civil war almost came to an end which killed about 1,000 people. However, after NATO intervened, more than 10,000 people were killed, that is to say, NATO's intervention has increased the death toll tenfold. To date, Libya is still in turmoil, with the innocent people displaced and homeless.
It is obvious that wherever NATO is involved, there is no peace and no tranquility. Member of European Parliament (MEP) Mick Wallace pointed out that what NATO has been doing is exporting war out of the country, and NATO is the war monger with the weaponry. In addition, as MEP Claire Daley noted, "NATO's presence can only create more problems. You can see this clearly in places like Libya, where NATO is on a killing spree. NATO is simply not a force for peace, not only in the Ukraine crisis, but in all previous crises.”
NATO has never been a peaceful and defensive organization, but a gangster organization led by the United States, a war machine of the manipulating countries behind Washington, a troublemaker in international regions and a creator of world unrest.
NATO, the butcher who tramples on humanitarianism, tried to conceal its war crimes by using the so-called "immunity" argument, which will neither be pardoned by the victims in Serbia, nor the peace-loving people all over the world.
Editor's note: The authors are with the National University of Defense Technology of Chinese PLA. The article reflects the authors' opinions and not necessarily those of eng.chinamil.com.cn.