"Inevitable Accidents"

President Clinton said of civilians being killed by NATO that it was "inevitable." However, if the bombers know in advance that the death of civilians is unavoidable, then the consequence is intended and no accident. In fact, Mr. Clinton said April 16, 1999 "...there is no such thing as flying airplanes this fast, dropping weapons this powerful...and never have this sort of tragic thing happen."

Some NATO bombings that may constitute crimes of war were well reported:

Residential Novi Pazar

NATO acknowledged that one of its missiles "may have gone astray" after bombs slammed into an apartment block in the southeastern city of Novi Pazar May 31, killing at least 20 people.

-New York Times & Wall St. Journal, June 2, 1999.

Neutral Albania

Seven NATO bombs fell on neutral Albania near the main crossing point for refugees who are fleeing Kosovo. "Spokesmen for NATO said the bombing was a mistake, although one NATO official said the bombs were deliberately dropped."

-New York Times, June 2, 1999.

Hospital in Surdulica

NATO air attacks killed at least 18 civilians and wounded 43 when two missiles each made direct hits on a hospital and a retirement home in Surdulica. Dr. Srboljub Aleksic, the hospital director, accused NATO of war crimes. "This building is a hospital. There is a Red Cross sign on the roof. For NATO to say it didn't know this is a place for sick people is a lie."

-Boston Globe, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, June 1, 1999.

One civilian target missed, another hit

"NATO missiles aimed at a local television station hit an apartment building in Novi Pazar, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 20."

-New York Times, June 1, 1999.

Refugees killed in Korisa

The Kosovo village of Gorozhubi comes under attack from U.S.
B-52 bombers, Sunday June 6 1999. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

"NATO planes again bombed the village...killing what Serbian officials and survivors say were more than 80 Albanian refugees. The attack on Korisa killed perhaps more Albanian civilians than any other in the two-month-old NATO air campaign, which has been criticized for its fatal mistakes. At the time, NATO officials said the village was a legitimate military target..."

-New York Times, May 31, 1999.

Crowded bridge hit in daytime

At noon on a Sunday, market day, four NATO warplanes twice bombed a major bridge over the Juzna Morava River in the town of Varvarin. At least nine people were killed and 28 wounded. "Four NATO planes apparently struck the bridge once, and then struck it again." Mr. Stanojevic, the local school teacher, asked, "If it is a military target, why did they not bomb it at night when there are no people? It is well-known that Sunday is market day."

Federal prison bombed three times

The Dubrava Prison in Istok, Kosovo, was deliberately bombed three times killing at least 19 prisoners and guards, as well as the prison's deputy governor.

-Internatinal Herald Tribune, May 25; New York Times, May 22 & 23, 1999.

Hospital in Belgrade

NATO bombed the Dragisa Misovic Hospital in the center of Belgrade. Four people were killed and dozens wounded, including medical staff and two women struck by broken glass while giving birth. A missile reportedly aimed at an empty military barracks 500 yards away struck the hospital instead.

-New York Times, May 21, 1999.

Village of Korisa

More than 60 Albanians were killed and scores more badly wounded late Thursday night when bombs blew apart a village in southwest Kosovo near Prizren. "The attack in Korisa was said by Yugoslavia to have been carried out by NATO warplanes." The Pentagon said NATO warplanes were attacking in the general area around Korisa and it was investigating.

-New York Times, May 15, 1999.

Chinese embassy

NATO jet fighters bombed Belgrade's Chinese embassy after the CIA chose the target, killing three civilian embassy employees. The Chinese government has refused to accept the CIA's explanation that its agents simultaneously used three outdated maps in picking the target.

-New York Times, May 8 & July 17, 1999.

The remains of a 'Nis Express' passenger bus on a bridge near
the village of Lujane in Kosovo, after a NATO missile hit the
vehicle. The Yugoslav state news agency Tanjug said at least
40 people died when a missile hit the bus, cutting the vehicle in two
and incinerating the people inside. -Reuters photo

Civilian bus bombed in daytime attack on bridge

A NATO missile blew a civilian bus in half May 1 on a bridge 10 miles north of the capital Pristina, killing at least 24 people and critically wounding 16 others. Tanjug, Yugoslavia's official news agency, reported that 40 people had been killed. The private Beta news agency reported 60 people dead. The Yugoslav Foreign Ministry said 47 were killed. Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times reported that, "A bomb exploded on that bridge about 1:51 p.m., and when a clearly marked civilian ambulance tried to cross along a smaller, parallel bridge at 1:55 p.m., a second bomb struck. Shrapnel from that blast wounded a civilian medical technician in the forehead and prevented other ambulances from reaching the carnage at the destroyed bus."

-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 2; New York Times, May 4, 1999.

Civilian bus and cars

NATO rocketed and strafed a bus and some cars at a police checkpoint 18 miles from the city of Pec, killing at least 17 people and wounding 40, Yugoslav officials said.

-New York Times, May 4, 1999.

Neutral Bulgaria

Thirty miles beyond the Yugoslav border NATO missiles destroyed a house in Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, which is a neutral state in the conflict.

-St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 30, 1999.

One-third of Surdulica demolished

NATO bombs destroyed one-third of the town of Surdulica. At least 20 people died, including seven from one family. Yugoslav officials said half of the dead were children. "We can confirm that one bomb went astray and impacted in an area where there were civilians," said NATO's Brig. Gen. Giuseppe Marani. Town officials said 300 houses were destroyed; an AP reporter saw 50 destroyed homes and 600 damaged. The nearest military installation 500 yards away had been evacuated after being ruined in an attack April 6.

-New York Times, April 28, 29; St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 28, 1999.

Federal television headquarters

"A NATO attack on Serbian state television headquarters killed at least 10 people, left 20 more buried in rubble." The attack caused a storm of international protest. Six bodies were later recovered from the studios, bringing the death toll to 20, the Yugoslav news agency said.

-St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 24; Chicago Tribune, April 25; New York Times & Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 26, 1999.

Vietnam era cluster bombs used

Five ethnic Albanian children died and six were hurt when they accidentally set off a NATO cluster bomb in a field where it had fallen without detonating.

-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 25, 1999.

Belgrade political and media offices

Three NATO cruise missiles set fire to a 24-story office building, knocking three TV stations off the air and demolishing the party offices of President Milosevic and his wife. The 3:15 a.m. attack was NATO's first assault on the media in Belgrade.

-New York Times, April 22, 1999.

Pancevo oil refinery burning, June 8 1999

Petro-chemical sites

NATO jet fighters bombed oil complexes and petro- chemical facilities near Belgrade, which local reporters said sent up giant clouds of phosgene and chlorine gas that poisoned 50 people.

-Knight Ridder News Service, April 20, 1999.

Two convoys of fleeing refugees

"NATO admits it hit 2nd convoy." NATO generals said they may have killed civilians in a second column of refugees. Yugoslav authorities say 74 ethnic Albanians died in NATO attacks. "NATO admits the mistaken bombing of civilians." The Media Center in Pristina said two separate refugee convoys were bombed, one near the Kosovo town of Djakovica, and a second between Prizren and Djakovica.

-St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 15; New York Times, April 15, 16 & 20, 1999.

Passenger train

International passenger train #393, travelling from
Belgrade to Tessaloniki, Greece, bombed by NATO
warplanes, Apr 12 1999 -photo by TV Leskovac

NATO Gen. Wesley Clark said the U.S. jet fighter that destroyed a passenger train on a bridge saw the train after it was too late to stop. But the jet circled back, and "A cockpit video of the second strike showed a missile headed directly into the train, hitting it for the second time. ...it remained unclear why the aircraft struck a second time." The bridge spanned the Junza Morava River in Serbia. Between 10 and 45 people were killed and at least 16 others badly wounded.

-New York Times, April 13 & 14; St. Paul Pioneer Press, April 15, 1999.

Kosovo's capital Pristina

Ten civilians were reported killed by three nighttime NATO attacks on the capital of Kosovo, Pristina. Five of the dead were members of a refugee family who were killed in their basement, the official news agency reported. At least 20 bombs landed on the center of the town, "reducing much of central Pristina to rubble," destroying the post office, the welfare center and many houses.

-New York Times, April 8, 1999.

Residential Aleksinac

At least seven people were killed and 50 wounded in Aleksinac, a town of 20,000, when NATO bombs destroyed two of its residential areas. "It is possible that one of our weapons fell short of the target, despite our meticulous and careful pre-attack planning," said Air Commodore David Wilby in Brussels.

-New York Times, April 7, 1999.

-compiled by John LaForge