NORTH AMERICAN SOLIDARITY WITH YUGOSLAVIA DELEGATION — HUMANITARIAN AND HUMAN RIGHTS MISSION
(Sponsored by the Jasenovac Research Institute, a non-profit human rights organization and research institute in the state of Michigan)
13 August 1999
For the past two weeks the North American Solidarity With Yugoslavia Delegation has traveled across Serbia to investigate evidence of NATO war crimes. Among the cities visited were Novi Sad, Nis, Panchevo, Aleksinac, Kraguevac, Surdulica, Cuprija, Grdelica, as well as many areas of Belgrade including Rakovica. The delegation traveled to many other smaller sites of destruction around Serbia. They witnessed and documented with video and dozens of on-site testimonies the wide array of violations of international law and conventions regarding the rights of civilians in wartime. The delegation presented its preliminary findings at a press conference in Belgrade today. Among the violations of international law and human rights documented by the delegation were the destruction of electrical plants and the thermal heating system for Belgrade affecting the survival of more than two million people this winter; the deliberate destruction of petrochemical, ammonia and other plants using toxic and carcinogenic chemicals contaminating the water, soil and air of Yugoslavia as well as the Danube River, creating an ecological catastrophe for the entire Balkan region; the use of depleted uranium at civilian industrial sites; the apparently deliberate and repeated targeting and destruction of civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, bridges, trains, buses and market places; the use of internationally outlawed weapons such as cluster bombs, whose sole purpose in innumerable cases was to kill civilians; the deliberate and repeated destruction of Yugoslav industry and the economic self-sufficiency of the people. In addition, the delegation collected dozens of videotaped testimonies confirming the physical evidence, including testimonies of victims and eyewitnesses of NATO atrocities, expert witnesses on the consequences of NATO aggression, as well as testimonies by Serbian, Roma, Egyptian and Albanian refugees from Kosovo which confirm KFOR complicity in forced expulsions and war crimes. According to the delegation’s leader, Barry Lituchy, a lecturer in history at the City University of New York, “the evidence when drawn together indicates a systematic plan to destroy not just individual civilian targets but the entire nation of Yugoslavia. The use of different weapon systems with contrasting effects on the civilian population taken together actually complements the overall plan of biological destruction of a people,” said Lituchy. Other members of the delegation added their insights to the delegation’s findings. The delegation announced its plans to organize further humanitarian aid and human rights activities for Yugoslavia on their return to the United States and the presentation of their evidence to the Ramsey dark Commission investigating NATO war crimes.