Urgent Call For Protection Of Kosovo's Civilians
Because of Belgrade's suppression of local independent media and expulsion of foreign journalists, little information is reaching the international community regarding the ethnic cleansing and widespread destruction now being perpetrated against the civilian population by Serbian military, security and paramilitary forces.
The most recent human rights violations have been savage. These have included such atrocities as the schoolyard execution of 20 male teachers in the village of Goden, the assassination of prominent ethnic Albanian leaders, and the forced march of thousands of Kosovar Albanian civilians, surrounded by tanks, on the road from Qirez to Glogovac. To address such violations and secure the protection of civilians, we urge the United States and its NATO allies to:
1. Make protection of civilians the priority of the current operation.
2. Declare that the continuing atrocities in Kosovo constitute war crimes on the part of top Serbian political and military leaders, including Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj.
3. Provide full and immediate cooperation, making available all intelligence and other information necessary for the effective prosecution of these leaders, to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
4. Immediately cripple the Milosevic propaganda machine, which remains an integral part of ethnic cleansing and war-mongering, by destroying the transmitter network of Serbia's state television and radio network.
5. Release and publicize in the Balkans and in NATO countries available satellite imagery showing the destruction of civilian areas, refugee concentrations, and mass population displacement caused by Serbian forces in Kosovo.
6. Accelerate preparations for deployment of a NATO protection force, whether in a permissive or non-permissive environment, to begin safeguarding Kosovo's civilian population as soon as possible.
The international community has rightly justified NATO's aerial campaign against Serbian forces on humanitarian grounds. The U.S. and NATO must now ensure that the humanitarian crisis that made this forceful intervention necessary is swiftly alleviated through further steps in support of that fundamental and worthy purpose.