January 23, 2004

ERP KiM Newsletter 23-01-04b

Kosovo ombudsman asks NATO alliance to consider possibility of compensation for families of victims of 1999 bombing

In an open letter to new NATO secretary general of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Kosovo ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki asks for consideration of the possibility of compensation for families of victims of the 1999 bombing

ERP KIM Info Service
Gracanica, January 23, 2004

(Photo: Marek Antoni Nowicki in search of justice for victims of NATO bombing)


In today's newsletter we include a letter sent on January 22, 2004 by Kosovo ombudsman Marek Antoni Nowicki (Poland) to the new NATO secretary general Jap de Hoop Scheffer regarding several requests by families of victims killed during the NATO bombing of Kosovo and Metohija in 1999 for monetary compensation and public acknowledgement, providing moral satisfaction of responsibility for attacks on objects that were civil, not military, in nature. The letter cites especially the bombing of a passenger bus in Luzani (near Podujevo) resulting in the deaths of 47 persons and the injury of many more, and the bombing of the post office in central Pristina. Nowicki states that so far all attempts by these persons to obtain compensation or public acknowledgement from NATO for their losses have been in vain, as they have met with absolute silence on the part of NATO.

Nowicki sent the same request earlier to former secretary general Lord Robertson but never even received a response to his letter. Mr. Nowicki therefore stresses in his new letter:

"In this context, I would respectfully ask you to provide me with a response as to why NATO persists in its unwillingness to provide these people with some kind of relief. Such relief includes, but is not limited to the possibility of compensation. I sincerely hope that you will give this request more consideration than your predecessor did."

Mr. Nowicki concludes his letter with the statement that he considers it his moral duty as Kosovo ombudsman not to allow the fate of these people to be forgotten, emphasizing that he looks forward to a positive response from NATO his letter.

We enclose the letter we received from the Office of the Ombudsman Mr. Nowicki in its entirety.



Marek Antoni Nowicki
Ombudsperson

Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo
Institucioni i ombudspersonit nė Kosovė
Institucija ombudspersona na Kosovu

_______________________________________________________
Address: Agim Ramadani Str. (Ex "Kosovodrvo" building), Pristina KOSOVO
Adresa: Rr. Agim Ramadani (Ish ndėrtesa "Kosovodrvo"), Prishtinė KOSOVA
Adresa: Ul. Agim Ramadani (Bivsa zgrada "Kosovodrvo"), Pristina KOSOVO
Tel: ++381 (0) 38 501 401, 545 303, 540 447, 548 087, Fax: ++381 (0) 38 545 302
e-mail: ombudspersonkosovo@ombudspersonkosovo.org
web site: www.ombudspersonkosovo.org


22 January 2004


Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Secretary General
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
Blvd. Leopold III
1110 Brussels
Belgium


E-mail: natodoc@hq.nato.int


Dear Mr. de Hoop Scheffer,

Over the years, following the establishment of the Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo in 2000, a great number of residents of Kosovo have approached me regarding the loss of family members during the NATO air strikes in 1999. Many of these cases refer to incidents acknowledged by NATO to having been mistakes – examples are the bombing of a passenger bus on a bridge near the village of Lluzane, causing 47 dead and injuring many more and the bombing of a post office in central Prishtinė/ Priština.

So far, these persons’ attempts to obtain some sort of compensation or public acknowledgement from NATO for their losses have been in vain, as they have met with absolute silence on the part of NATO. On 21 May 2001, I sent a letter to your predecessor Lord George Robertson asking him for some type of recognition in this matter, including the provision of compensation. Copies of the letter were sent to the Foreign Ministers of all NATO Member States and to Javier Solana, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The letter to Lord Robertson met with no response. I enclose it in copy for your information and convenience.

Given the amount of grief caused by these incidents and the fact that the families of the victims have been waiting for over four years now to receive an official recognition of the anguish suffered as a consequence of these tragic incidents, I consider it important to address this issue yet again.

In this context, I would respectfully ask you to provide me with a response as to why NATO persists in its unwillingness to provide these people with some kind of relief. Such relief includes, but is not limited to the possibility of compensation. I sincerely hope that you will give this request more consideration than your predecessor did.

I am well aware of the fact that I have no formal jurisdiction over NATO or any of its member states, but I still consider it as my moral duty as Ombudsperson in Kosovo not to let the fate of these people be forgotten. The Ombudsperson Institution in Kosovo is still prepared to serve as a contact point between NATO and the families of the victims, should this be requested by either side.

I hope for and would appreciate your attention in this matter and look forward to a positive response, expected and hoped for by these families and the people of Kosovo,



Yours sincerely,


Marek Antoni Nowicki
Ombudsperson



cc. Harri Holkeri, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UNMIK
Holger Kammerhof, KFOR Commander
Foreign Ministers of the NATO Member States

encl. Letter of 21 May 2001 to Lord Robertson,
former Secretary General of NATO


Reference:

NATO bombing of Serbia, 1999
The White book: Documents, facts, photos
(the original link on the web-site of the former Yugoslav Foreign Ministry was removed with all material referring to the bombing campaign. However the materials have been preserved on some other links and we are enclosing one of them)

Book1: http://www.aeronautics.ru/archive/yugoslavia/milosevic/bela/bela/index.htm

Book2: http://www.aeronautics.ru/archive/yugoslavia/milosevic/bela/bela2/NATO_agr.htm


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