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BBC on line 
   Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 19:40 GMT 20:40 UK
UN rights chief slams Nato bombings

   United Nations top human rights official Mary Robinson has criticised
   Nato attacks on Yugoslavia for killing large numbers of civilians and
   has questioned the legality of the bombings.
   Mrs Robinson told the closing session of the UN Human Rights
   Commission in Geneva that the international war crimes tribunal could
   investigate both sides in the conflict.
   The former president of Ireland also repeated her criticism of the
   Serbs, saying they had callously mistreated women, children and the
   [ image: width=150]
   Correspondents say this is the first time she has spoken out against
   Nato so strongly and is some of the harshest worded criticism to
   emerge from the UN about the air strike campaign.
   "In the Nato bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, large
   numbers of civilians have incontestably been killed, civilian
   installations targeted on the grounds that they are or could be of
   military application and Nato remains sole judge of what is or is not
   acceptable to bomb," Mrs Robinson said.
   "In this situation, the principle of proportionality must be adhered
   to by those carrying out the bombing campaign.
   "It surely must be right to ask those carrying out the bombing
   campaign to weigh the consequences of their campaign for civilians in
   the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
   She also called for fresh diplomatic and political efforts to resolve
   the Kosovo crisis.
   "Unless diplomacy succeeds, Kosovo will be thoroughly cleansed of
   Albanians, while Serbs will, on present performance, be bombed without
   end," she warned.
   "There must be a better way," she said.
   "I call for reason to prevail on all sides and for a return to
   diplomacy and peacemaking."
   Trip to Yugoslavia
   She told journalists after her speech that she planned to meet
   Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic towards the end of a 12-day trip
   to the Balkans which begins on Sunday.
   Her trip, which starts in Skopje, Macedonia is expected to be followed
   by stops in Tirana, Sarajevo, Zagreb and Belgrade.
   [ image: width=150]
   Referring to the International Criminal Tribunal for former
   Yugoslavia, she told the Commission: "Under the tribunal's statute,
   the prosecutor may investigate war crimes committed by any of the
   parties to the armed conflict.
   "The actions of individuals belonging to Serb forces, the Kosovo
   Liberation Army (KLA), or Nato may therefore come under scrutiny, if
   it appears that serious violations of international humanitarian law
   have occurred," she added.
   Mrs Robinson said the passage referring to potential war crime
   indictments, including Nato officials, was taken from a letter from
   Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor of the Hague-based tribunal.
   However when asked by journalists whether she believed Nato generals
   should be indicted, she replied: "No, I have not made any assessment
   or judgment in that regard."
Internet Links

   Kosova Press 
   UNHCR Kosovo news 
   Serbian Ministry of Information 
   Text of the speech by Mary Robinson 

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