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NATO: Rights Group Critical Of NATO; Alliance Responds

London, 7 June 2000 (RFE/RL) - The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International is charging that NATO violated international law in the Kosovo crisis by bombing targets where it knew civilians would be killed. Amnesty says NATO member states must bring to justice any of their nationals suspected of responsibility for serious violations under international humanitarian law. It said the April 23, 1999 bombing of Serbian state radio and television in Belgrade, which killed 16 civilians, was a deliberate attack on a civilian object and thus is a "war crime."

In a statement, NATO said the allegations are "baseless and ill founded." It said NATO had scrupulously adhered to international law throughout the conflict and made every effort to minimize civilian casualties. It said the few cases of civilian deaths had to be "weighed against the atrocities that NATO's action stopped." The controversy comes on today's first anniversary of the end of the 11-week NATO bombing campaign.

Several days ago, the chief UN war crimes prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, said there was no basis for a UN investigation into allegations of NATO war crimes.