Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Crossing the Rubicon: 24th March 1999
It was a great honour to attend and speak at a recent meeting in the Houses of Parliament to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia. 11 honourable MPs voted against the NATO aggression in 1999, including Tony Benn, Alice Mahon, and Bob Wareing, all of whom were present and spoke at the meeting. We must never forget the significance of what happened eight years ago: for the first time NATO launched a war of aggression which was not only in contravention of the UN Charter, but also in contravention of its own consitutition, which authorised military action only in the case of an attack on a member state. As Mark Littman QC has stressed, the night of 24th March 1999, when NATO planes took off to bomb Yugoslavia, was a historic landmark in the post-WW2 world. For it was at that moment that the post-war international settlement, based on the respect for the sovereignty of nations and adherence to international law was torn up. As we survey the devastation of Iraq nightly on our television screens, and consider the nightmarish developments in Kosovo, where over 200,00 Serbs, Roma, Jews and other minorities have been ethnically cleansed since the "humanitarian" intervention, we can see quite clearly where contempt for international law, national sovereignty, and the Charter of the United Nations has led us.