Challenging the received wisdom on Kosovo
Mark Littman, QC, has produced a new, short and pithy paper on the [il]legal and political ins and outs of NATO’s attack on Serbia over Kosovo in 1999, drawing on new material that has come to light since his earlier (1999) paper, "Kosovo: Law and Diplomacy". The new booklet, dated 1 November 2004, is called: "Do You Remember Kosovo?", and the attentive reader will spot extraordinary contemporary Iraqi resonances in it. The full text is on my website. There are full references to sources and plenty of links to relevant texts, documents and websites — invaluable for researchers. If you have any comments on the paper, please leave them here (under "Comments" at the foot of this entry — log in as ‘anonymous’, giving your name and/or e-mail address in the body of the text if you wish, not if you don’t), or by sending me an e-mail to brianbarder[at]compuserve[dot]com: I will pass any such comments on to Mark Littman.
Another earlier (June 2000) piece on Kosovo by Mark Littman is still available here. And his comments on the legality, justification and morality (or lack of them) of the Iraq war (2003 and counting), based primarily on the evidence in the Butler Inquiry report, are here.
27 November 04
And of course the amended Milosevic indictment contains no allegation of Genocide. Though many at the time compared Milosevic’s behaviour to that of Hitler, the indictment names less than 350 Albanians killed by Serbs from the beginning of 1999.
I supported â€œhumanitarian interventionâ€? as the legal underpinning of NATOâ€™s Kosovo action. Iâ€™ve now changed my mind. After all both the State Department and the Foreign Office announced before the invasion Serbian forces had slaughtered over 100,000 Albanians. Those deaths were as elusive as the Iraqi WMDâ€™s!
Not only did Serbian genocide turn out to be, as you (Tony) say, just as elusive as Iraqi WMD, but the new asserted doctrine of ‘humanitarian intervention’ dreamed up to try to provide a legal fig-leaf for the NATO attack on Serbia over Kosovo, without Security Council approval or any question of self-defence, is so obviously wide open to massive abuse if made universally available that it seems obviously doomed to rejection by a huge majority of the countries of the world — as indeed Mark Littman’s paper points out.
IOW, even if tens of thousands of corpses of victims of Serbian atrocity had been discovered when the international peace-keepers arrived in Kosovo, the NATO bombing would still have been illegal. And by the same token, even if huge stockpiles of Iraqi nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, all ready for use within 45 minutes, had been found when the British and American troops moved in to Iraq, the attack and invasion (and occupation) would still have been illegal, too.