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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Nato in dock over Belgrade bombing
The remains of RTS in Belgrade
The TV bombing was one of the most controversial attacks
The European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear a case against Nato member states for the bombing of the Belgrade television station during the Kosovo conflict.

Bombing victims
At least 18 people were injured in the attack
The case has been brought by one of the survivors and some of the relatives of the 16 victims of the attack.

They argue that the 17 European Nato members violated the European convention on human rights by allowing the air raid to take place.

The hearing comes as a Serb court considers charges against the former head of the TV station. He is accused of not evacuating the building despite having prior warning of the bombing.

'War crime'

The applicants to the Court of Human Rights argue that the individual Nato member states are responsible for the bombing, even though it was carried out by Nato forces.

The initial hearing, which is scheduled for next Wednesday, will establish whether the case is admissible.

Countries accused
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Luxembourg
The Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Spain
Turkey
United Kingdom

If the states are found responsible, the survivor and families could be awarded damages.

The bombing in April 1999 has been described by Amnesty International as a war crime and both Yugoslavia and Russia have called for it to be considered by a UN court.

But the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Carla del Ponte, has said there is no case to be heard against Nato.

TV chief on trial

Dragoljub Milanovic, the former head of the TV station, has already been charged with responsibility for the deaths of 16 members of his staff.

A court in Serbia is considering accusations that he knew that Nato planned to bomb the station but did not order the building evacuated.

Yugoslav media reports have said that those employees that had good relations with the management were made aware of the bomb threat and stayed away from the buildings.

Foreign media representatives, who used the buildings to transmit their reports, are also reported to have been warned about the bombing.

See also:

17 Jul 00 | Europe
Serb families to sue Nato allies
07 Jun 00 | Europe
Nato accused of war crimes
02 Jun 00 | Europe
Nato escapes war crimes probe
12 Mar 00 | Europe
Behind the Kosovo crisis
01 Jun 99 | Europe
Nato's bombing blunders
31 May 99 | Europe
Picture gallery: Nato destruction
23 Apr 99 | Europe
Nato defends TV bombing
07 Jun 00 | Europe
3,000 missing in Kosovo
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