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Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
39 I.L.M. 1257 (2000)


Facts

In 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (defendant) launched a bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), aiming to force FRY to grant independence to Kosovo and to end human-rights abuses in the region. NATO aircrafts carried out thousands of air strikes during the extensive campaign, targeting military-industrial infrastructures, government ministries, media-communication installations, and refineries. During the bombings, NATO pilots received orders to fly higher than 15,000 feet in order to elude FRY’s defensive attacks. The orders were condemned by some who contended that these instructions limited the pilots’ abilities to distinguish between military and civilian targets. NATO continued to expand the campaign in response to the FRY leaders’ refusals to negotiate. Both during and at the conclusion of the bombings, various groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (plaintiffs), raised doubts about NATO’s methods and targets. As a result, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) created a committee to examine the NATO bombing campaign and determine whether the ICTY should commence an investigation into the campaign.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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