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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 10:12 GMT
Court throws out case against Nato
Zivana Stojanovic of Yugoslavia, left, one of the six plaintives in the case
One plaintiff (left) lost a son in the bombing
The European Court of Human Rights has thrown out a case brought against Nato over the bombing of Belgrade's main TV station during the Kosovo conflict.

Six Yugoslav nationals had brought the case on behalf of the station's employees, saying the attack, which killed 16 people, was in breach of Europe's human rights charter.
Serbian state TV bombed
Nato said Serbian state TV was a "ministry of lies"

They argued that the air strikes were illegal under the charter, which governs the right to life and freedom of expression, and asked for compensation.

But the court declared the case inadmissible.

The lawyers for the 17 defendants - the European members of Nato - had argued that the human rights court did not have the right to judge because the bombing took place in a country which is not a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights.

Christopher Greenwood, a British government lawyer arguing for the defendants, also stressed that the two Nato members that played a central role in the Kosovo campaign - the United States and Canada - were not named in the suit.

Propaganda war

On the night of 23 April 1999, Nato aircraft attacked the government-run studios of Radio Television Serbia (RTS) in Belgrade, in which those killed, most of them production workers, had been ordered to report for work.

The attack was part of Nato's air campaign to force the Yugoslav Government of former President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw its forces from Kosovo.

At the time, Nato defended the air strike by saying the TV station was a legitimate target because of its role in what Nato called Belgrade's campaign of propaganda.

The BBC's Alix Kroeger
reports from Belgrade
See also:

07 Jun 00 | Europe
Nato accused of war crimes
01 Jun 99 | Europe
Nato's bombing blunders
23 Apr 99 | Europe
Nato defends TV bombing
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