Who Will Judge NATO?

by Grigoris Kalfelis

(“Nea”, February 5, 2001)

Is there an international court that can try the eventual crimes committed by NATO’s leaders with the dropping of depleted uranium bombs and the destruction of chemical plants?


The International Criminal Court. This court was created by the Treaty of Rome in July 1998. It expresses a promise for the dispensation of a universal justice that will prevent or punish the horrific crimes that arouse the revulsion of the international community, but America torpedoed this prospect from the very outset […]

The International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. This court was instituted in 1993 by UN Security Council Resolution 808 in the aftermath of the war in Yugoslavia. Its jurisdiction is not limited to war crimes committed during that conflict by the several implicated ethnic communities of the former single state of Yugoslavia only. In my opinion, this court is also competent to try offences of an international character, as clearly indicated in articles 2, 3, 4 and especially 5 of its charter. Moreover, the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia acquired, after its dissolution, an international dimension, as referring to relations between independent states. Consequently, this international tribunal is competent to judge the eventual crimes of the NATO leadership, if of course it is accepted that there is a causal connection between the dropping of the depleted uranium bombs and the development of leukaemias or cancers in military personnel from the UN peace-keeping forces. We must, of course, note that there are considerable procedural difficulties relating to the operation of this tribunal […]

International cynicism. The inescapable conclusion is that the regulatory framework is so fragmented that speaking of the dispensation of a universal justice has no meaning […] This also justifies the view that there are no universal rights beyond and outside national, economic or political interests. Nonetheless, I continue to believe that the above tribunal can and should look into the criminal liability of the NATO leadership. Otherwise, we should all be protesting with Hamlet, that “The time is out of joint”.

Grigoris Kalfelis is a Professor of Law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

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