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Serbian lawsuits over NATO bombing likely to fail

Staff Writer |
A team made up of Serbian and foreign lawyers and doctors plans to prepare lawsuits against NATO countries for using depleted uranium during the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, but legal experts doubt whether the cases will succeed, Serbian public broadcaster RTS reported on Sunday.

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The lawyers and doctors will try to connect an increase in severe illnesses to the use of depleted uranium in the bombing, so they can file charges against 19 members of NATO. They believe they can do this within two years.

“Current statistics show an enormous... epidemic of malignant diseases and anomalies in offspring,” Radomir Kovacevic, a member of the team and a toxicologist at the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Radiological Protection, told RTS.

NATO launched air strikes in Serbia on March 24, 1999, without the backing of the UN Security Council, after Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic refused to sign up to a peace deal to end his forces’ crackdown on Kosovo Albanian rebels seeking independence.

By the time Milosevic eventually conceded 78 days later, the civilian death toll from the bombing campaign was put at around 500 by Human Rights Watch.

The use of weapons with cancer-causing depleted uranium is also believed to have killed dozens of Italian soldiers during missions to Kosovo, according to European NGOs.

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