27 November, 2020

A Balkan Blunder

In cavalier disregard for international law, NATO invokes human rights against sovereignty

A Balkan Blunder
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

IN the extreme international climate hovering over the Kosovo question, the Yugoslav ambassador to India, Dr Cedomir Strbac, finds it apt to relate what he calls a "bitter joke". He says there is a new Jewish nation in Europe, ie Yugoslavia, which is blamed for all the region's evil. Like the Jews, the target of Hitler's Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia has become the target for the whole of Europe, says the ambassador.

The analogy may not be entirely accurate, since the Jews did nothing to provoke the Holocaust, but it is understandable. A single country, small and villainised, facing the might of nato firepower—the image invites one to paint Yugoslavia in the role of victim. This despite one obvious problematic: the Yugoslav security forces committed serious human rights violations in Kosovo now and earlier during the Bosnian civil war.

But Yugoslavia's case against nato's action doesn't rest on emotionalism alone. "True, lots of heinous crimes were committed, but what the US and nato have done is completely wrong in law," says V.S. Mani, professor of international law at...

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