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SERBIAN victims of the 1999 Nato bombing of Yugoslavia filed claims against the alliance today over its use of banned chemical weapons during the devastating air strikes.
Lawsuits were filed in five cities – Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Nis and Vranje – on behalf of those killed and survivors who are suffering the long-term effects of the depleted uranium ammunition.
Lawyer Srdjan Aleksic confirmed that a team of legal experts has been working on the cases and has submitted claims for at least €300,000 (£265,655) for each of the victims.
“The victims are natural persons — deceased and sick soldiers and police officers of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who were in Kosovo in 1999,” he said.
“At the first stage, we want them to be identical cases, as in the Italian military.”
The case is being supported by Italian lawyer Angelo Fiore Tartaglia, who represented members of the Italian military in a similar case after 366 soldiers who served in the Balkans died, at least 7,500 of them having been poisoned with depleted uranium.
“He has 181 court rulings, which have already entered into force in Europe. He will be a member of my legal expert team,” Mr Aleksic said.
“We have more than 3,000 pages of materials, including verdicts, expert opinions, materials of a special Italian government commission. We have collected enough evidence.”
Nato’s bombing campaign was carried out without the approval of the United Nations security council with the aim of breaking up what remained of Yugoslavia under the guise of humanitarianism.
The alliance insisted that the air strikes, which continued from 24 March to June 10 1999, were justified by allegations of “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo.
There was a concerted propaganda exercise, with most mainstream news outlets amplifying the case for war, but many of the claims have since been debunked.
Some of the wildest claims became mainstream narrative, including the fabricated report – peddled by the BBC – that Serbian snipers were paid 2,700 French francs for every child they killed.
A particular low point was a report in the Daily Mirror and subsequently Germany’s Bild am Sonntag and the Italian daily La Repubblica claiming a Bosnian woman had died “after being forced to give birth to a dog” by Serbs.
Some 2,500 people, including 89 children, were killed and about 12,500 people injured in the bombings, which caused material damage to an estimated value of $100 billion (about £70bn).
If the compensation claims are accepted, they will be forwarded to Nato within six months and it will have 30 days to respond.
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