World Court To Hear Belgrade vs. NATO Case In May


The United Nations' top court said on Thursday it would hear on May 10 and 11 an unprecedented Yugoslav suit against 10 NATO states, including the United States and Britain, aimed at halting the allied bombing of its territory.

The International Court of Justice will consider separate complaints against the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Portugal and Spain in a first round of legal argument.

«At a meeting held today, the court decided that hearings on provisional measures would open on Monday 10 May 1999 at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT). They are expected to last two days,» the court said.

Yugoslavia is accusing the 10 of bombing its territory in breach of their obligations under international law not to use force against another state.

It also charges they have meddled in Yugoslav internal affairs and violated its national sovereignty.

Belgrade is basing its case on a string of international treaties including the 1949 Geneva Convention, the 1948 Convention on Free Navigation of the Danube and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The World Court's decisions are binding and without appeal.

«Yugoslavia maintains that if the proposed measures are not adopted, there will be new losses of human life, further physical and mental harm, further destruction of civilian targets, heavy environmental pollution and further physical destruction of the people of Yugoslavia,» the court said. Its statement followed a day of hectic meetings among the world court's 15 international judges, legal sources said.

The Yugoslav embassy in The Hague had filed its complaint on Thursday morning. The application also asks the court to declare the 10 named states liable to pay compensation. «Yugoslavia asserts that both military and civilian targets have come under attack during the bombings,» the court said.

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Lorenzo Peña

Director de ESPAÑA ROJA

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Lorenzo Peña
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