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Yugo Gov't Must Take Action on DU NOW!

Statement of the Socialist Party of Serbia, January, 2001

The Socialist Party of Serbia has always publicly charged that the use of DU ammunition is a crime against humanity for which the leaders of NATO and above all, the outgoing American administration bear responsibility. Now, such assessments are being made by the great majority of the world's political, expert, and scientific leaders and by public opinion in general.

The Socialist Party of Serbia urgently calls on the [present] Federal Government to take appropriate measures in order to decrease the unforeseeable consequences [of DU contamination] in the humanitarian, environmental and economic fields.

The first steps to be undertaken are the cessation of the production of depleted uranium ammunition. The World Health Organisation should monitor all DU manufacturing facilities as well as the all reserves of existing ammunition pending their destruction.

It is necessary to create an international team of DU experts that will, under the auspices of the World Health Organisation and the UN Environment Protection Programme, organize the gathering of data in the territories of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Srpska on a permanent basis, that will follow up and research the consequences of the use of depleted uranium ammunitions. Such a team or special body should also be responsible for coordinating the decontamination of all areas affected by the use of the DU ammunition.

The Socialist Party of Serbia reminds all parties that even in the course of NATO aggression, on April 25th 1999, the Federal Government of FRY brought brought charges before the International Court of Justice (1). The FRY accused the highest representatives of NATO and the leaders of ten NATO member countries with crimes against peace and humanity and with genocide and demanded compensation for war damage. A special section of these charges related to the use Depleted Uranium (DU) ammunitions which represents a "contravention of the ban of [the] use of prohibited weapons and the prohibition of causing long term damage to the health and environment", as it is envisaged by the international conventions.

The Federal Government officially informed the UN Security Council, the UN Program for Environmental Protection (UNEP) and the World Health Organisation, including in the form of] the "White Book" issued on May 26th 1999 (ISBN 86-7038-020x). The United Nations was notified by a special document from the Federal Government, dated April 27, 1999, about the dangers of the use of DU missiles launched from A-10 planes. This appeal to immediately cease the use of such weapons was circulated in New York [at the UN] as an official UN document (E/CN.17/1999).

In August last year Federal Government submitted to the United Nations an official document containing all gathered and processed facts on the consequences of the use of DU ammunition. The most competent experts from the Federal Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Health and Social Policy, Development, Science and Environment, as well as those from the Interior Ministry of Serbia were engaged for several months in compiling that historically important document.

That document, of which several thousand copies were printed, also contains official correspondence between UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and NATO Secretary General Robertson, commencing with the quotation of a statement from the French Airforce Commander attached to NATO, General Joffre, (2) who said, "The Airforce received orders to annihilate life in Serbia". This Document was officially, through diplomatic channels, handed over to the governments of over 170 countries, to governmental and non-governmental organizations, to parties, Green movements, to the media, scientific and educational institutions, and also is available on the Internet. The Socialist Party of Serbia expresses its regrets that the UN Security Council was blocked [from discussing these documents], passing silently over all the Yugoslav requests and documents with hard evidence on the use and consequences of DU ammunition. The Socialist Party of Serbia expresses its conviction that the International Court of Justice as an independent UN organ shall act effectively and responsibly in further handling the suit of the Federal Government regarding NATO crimes because world public opinion expects that.

Beginning with the fact that Yugoslavia and its citizens are direct victims of NATO aggression and the crime of using DU ammunition with consequences that may not be limited in time nor space, the question arises why the current Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is keeping silent and does not undertake measures both domestically and internationally. It is very hard to explain that in the period when governments and the public of European countries, who had or still have limited numbers of soldiers in Kosovo and Metohija and in the Republic of Srpska [Bosnian Serb Republic] have virtually proclaimed a state of emergency, the current Yugoslav Government does not find it necessary to come out with a statement on its views of the situation, continuing with the activities of the preceding Government in the interest of our country and the people.

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1) The International Court of Justice is a legitimate body and should be distinguished from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) or War Crimes Tribunal, which is literally a U.S. government creation, thoroughly illegal, which violates all normal legal safeguards and which is directly financed by contributions from NATO countries, particularly the U.S. or more on the War Crimes Tribunal, see, for example:

2) We have requested a copy of the General Joffre document.

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