ATTORNEY AT LAW
RA Dost & RA Bortfeldt, Gartenstraße 108, 10115 Berlin
R e g i s t e r e d M a i l
ATTORNEY AT LAW
Gartenstraße 108, 10115 Berlin
Telephone: (030) 5 35 33 97
|June 18, 2001|
Concerning: The bombing of civilians and of civil institutions in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by NATO states, here:
The bombing of the bridge at Varvarin on May 30, 1999 - Claims against the Federal Republic of Germany.
By handing over the attached certified copies of power of attorney, we are letting you know that we are representing the legal interests of the following citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia against the Federal Republic of Germany:
1. The married couple Mrs. Vesna (maiden name Randjelovic) and Mr. Zoran Milenkovic, parents and heirs of Sanja Milenkovic, age 15, killed through the bombing;
2. Mrs. Jasmina Zivkovic (maiden name Apostolovic), daughter and heir of Mr. Tola Apostolovic, age 74, killed through the bombing;
3. Mrs. Dusica Ciric (maiden name Ilic) and Mrs. Verica Ciric, widow, daughter and heirs of the priest Milivoje Ciric, age 66, killed through the bombing;
4. Mrs. Milena Marinkovic, mother and heir of Zoran Marinkovic, age 33, killed through the bombing;
5. Mrs. Radmila Ristic (maiden name Zivotije), widow and heir of Stojan Ristic, age 52, killed through the bombing;
6. Mrs. Zivadinka Savic (maiden name Miladinovic), mother and heir of Milan Savic, age 28, killed through the bombing;
7. Mrs. Gordana Stankovic, widow and heir of Vojkan Stankovic, age 30, killed through the bombing;
8. Mrs. Mirjana Terzic, widow and heir of Dragoslav Terzic, age 67, killed through the bombing;
9. Mrs. Marijana Stojanovic, who at the age of 15, was severely injured through the bombing;
10. Miss. Marina Jovanovic, legally represented through her mother Mrs. Evica Jovanovic, who at the age of 15 was severely injured through the bombing;
11. The preacher Macic, who at the age of 43, was severely injured through the bombing;
12. Mr. Dragoljub Arsenijevic, who at the age of 43, was severely injured through the bombing;
13. Mr. Miroljub Brakovic, who at the age of 40, was severely injured through the bombing;
14. Mr. Bozidar Dimitrijevic, who at the age of 66, was severely injured through the bombing;
15. Mr. Slobodan Ivanovic, who at the age of 54, was severely injured through the bombing;
16. Mr. Petar Mijatovic, who at the age of 27, was severely injured through the bombing;
17. Mr. Slavoljub Kovacevic, who at the age of 26, was severely injured through the bombing;
18. Mr. Predrag Savic, who at the age of 46, was severely injured through the bombing;
19. Mr. Milan Mitrovic, who at the age of 22, was severely injured through the bombing;
20. Mr. Predrag Milosevic, who at the age of 29, was severely injured through the bombing;
21. Mr. Miroslav Dakic, who at the age of 48, was severely injured through the bombing;
22. Mr. Goran Stojanovic, who at the age of 23, was severely injured through the bombing;
23. Mr. Vlastimir Vasic, who at the age of 40, was severely injured through the bombing;
24. Mr. Momcilo Jevtic, who at the age of 45, was severely injured through the bombing;
25. Mrs. Mirjana Nesic, who at the age of 29, was severely injured through the bombing;
1. The Facts of the Case
On Sunday the 30th of May 1999, fighter jets from NATO countries flew a "combat mission" over the small Serbian town of Varvarin. As a result, 10 people were killed, over 30 were injured and a bridge was destroyed.
At a press conference on May 31, 1999 in Brussels, the NATO countries confessed to the bombing. NATO's press secretary, at the time Jamie Shea, answering questions from journalists stated that the bombing was a "legitimate military target".
This statement from the press secretary was a lie to cover up a war crime. The attack was not directed towards a military target, wasn't legitimate, and can in no way be justified.
The definitive carrying out of "combat mission", the selection of the target to be bombed, the onsite circumstances, the time chosen and, the overall circumstances prove that the attack was aimed at killing and injuring civilians, as well as in destroying civilian objects.
In a first wave of attack, two NATO fighter jets flew from 13:00 to 13:25 on May 30, 1999 under full visibility, during a cloudless sky, and in full sunshine towards the bridge over the river Morava by the small town in Varvarin.
The bridge serves the ca. 4000 inhabitants of Varvarin as a direct route to town. The town then stretches all the way back to the river Morava, and thus back to the bridge. Eyewitnesses estimated the height of the incoming jet fighters at no more the a few 100 meters. The planes fired off two rockets at the bridge without any forewarning. The two detonated rockets thoroughly destroyed the bridge. As a result of the rocket hits, the bridge got separated from its center pillar. From the center pillar the bridge toppled into the river, away from the direction of town. The other end of the bridge slid up into the higher lying river embankment, so that the approximately 100 meter long bridge piece ended up lying destroyed with a steep slant into the river Morava.
Through this first attack, three people lost their lives and at least five others were severely injured. Although the bridge was already destroyed, according to the eyewitnesses we have, the NATO fighter jets, after about three to six minutes later returned and, in a second wave of attack fired two more rockets off that killed seven and severely injured twelve more who had rushed to the bridge in order to help.
At the time of the bombing, ca. 3000 to 3500 people were in the immediate vicinity of the bridge. A large amount of the these people were on the premises of the church that is located about 120 to 150 meters away from the bridge. There they were celebrating the festival of the holy trinity from where every year many believers from Varvarin and the surrounding area came to participate.
Another large congregation of people were gathered at around 200 to 250 meters from the bridge, namely at the regularly occurring Sunday market in Varvarin, where on this day, about 300 market stands were permitted to operate by the officials in charge at city hall. As a result, at the time of the bombing busy traffic was underway. Passenger traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists were using the bridge to go to and to come from town.
Under these over all circumstances, it must have been clear to those responsible in the NATO countries, even before the first attack on the bridge, that bombing the chosen target, due to its location, its situation on site, the time chosen, and its use by civilians would have inevitably led to civilian deaths and injuries. Should this apply to the first attack on the bridge, it especially applies to the second attack, in which the deliberate intent to kill cannot be overseen.
The entire attack was thus aimed at spreading fear and horror among the civilian population. Not least of all, this is proven by the fact, that at no point at the ca. 200 kilometers from Kosovo lying Varvarin was there military stationed there, and so, the small town and its bridge were not involved in military transportation, therefore, the attack and the destruction of the bridge was not justifiable.
2. Killed and severely injured persons
2.1. Killed and severely injured persons (first wave of attack)
Through the first wave of attack, a total of three people were killed and an additional five people were severely injured. Seen from the site, there were five people at the time directly on the bridge, from which three people were killed from the rocket attacks and two were severely injured. Another three people who were severely injured through the first wave of attack were on the Morava river banks near the bridge.
2.1.1. Killed and severely injured persons on the bridge (first wave of attack)
Twenty-four year old Ratobor Siminovic was crossing with his mother Ruziza Siminovic (presently not represented) the bridge in the direction away from town in a red passenger car. As a result of the detonated rockets, they plunged with their car into the river. Only days later were their corpses able to be retrieved.
The following additional persons whose relatives we are representing in the cases involving death, and in those cases involving personal injury, were injured in the following way:
a) The youngest death victim of this brutal air attack was the then fifteen year old schoolgirl Sanja Milenkovic (see above list of clients, here figure 1)
She was crossing the bridge as a pedestrian at the time of the first attack, at the same time with her friends of same age and injured victims Mariana Stojanovic (see above list of clients, here figure 9) and Marina Jovanovic (see above list of clients, here figure 10) from the market, away from the direction of town. She was about halfway over the bridge as the three girls suddenly heard airplane or rocket sounds. About three seconds later, almost simultaneously, two rockets were detonated. The three girls were slung into the air and then landed on the bridge piece that plunged into the Morava. All three girls held onto a bridge piece slanting out from the water. Through the detonation an enormous heat developed. Marina Jovanovic thought she was smoldering. From the three girls she lay at the highest point on the bridge piece slanting out from the water. About a meter below her lay Marijana Stojanovic who was strugging to hold on. Another meter from her lay Sanja Milenkovic who was holding onto the bridge railing and at first horridly screamed. The two girls could see that Sanja Milenkovic was conscious, breathing heavily, but unable to talk. She had opened her eyes, looked into the direction of the other girls, and for awhile had lost consciousness. She was lying on her stomach with her face to the bridge and was heavily bleeding on her legs. The girls were holding out in this state for about five minutes before the detonation of two further rocket missiles. Again, an enormous heat developed, a large dark cloud formed, and their eyes started to burn. Marijana Stojanovic believed she was being burnt alive. As a result of the new detonations, Sanja Milenkovic could no longer hold on. She slid off from the bridge piece that was slanted out from out of the water and ended up lying half in the water with the river running over the bridge piece. There the bridge lying in the river was being gushed over with a strong currents. Marina Jovanovic was afraid that Sanja Milenkovic would drown, and, although severely injured herself, supported by her elbows, slid down to Sanja Milenkovic who’s head was half in the water. Marina Jovanovic standing up to her hips in water thus held up Sanja Milenkovic’s head so that it wouldn’t end up under water. Out of her knapsack that she had with her, she pulled out a water bottle to give Sanja Milenkovic something to drink, and that she used to douse water over her to keep her conscious.
Before the three girls could be retrieved from the destroyed bridge from the river embankment (in the direction away from town), approximately an hour had passed. The transport of the severely injured girls to the hospital in Varvarin only two kilometer away was impossible due to the destroyed bridge, so that they had to be transported to a hospital 70 kilometers away in Krusevac. Due to the dangers of NATO's jet fighters operating in the airspace of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the possible use of rescue helicopters was ruled out.
When Sanja Milenkovic was finally brought from the totally destroyed bridge on a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance she was still alive and conscious. The eyes were open and moving, through the movement of her chest, it was clear to the doctor and to Mrs. Vesna Milenkovic, the mother of the girl who in the mean time had arrived, that the girl was breathing. Mrs. Vesna Milenkovic repeatedly spoke to her daughter; through the movements of her eyes, through her painfully distorted face, and through the attempts to speak to her mother, it was clear to her mother that her daughter was still conscious.
Sanja Milenlovic survived the ca. 70 kilometer long ambulance ride. During the ride she repeatedly lost consciousness but always came back too. She had in the mean time lost an enormous amount of blood. Sanja Milenlovic's body was penetrated with splinter fragments. Large wounds were on her legs and on her back. One piece of shrapnel had lodged into her head. On various parts of her body were large burns, her clothes were almost totally burnt, and her sport shoes were burnt to charcoal. Shortly after her arrival in the hospital in Krusevac, this fifteen year old girl, Sanja Milenkovic, died from her severe injuries.
b) The at the time fifteen year old injured Marijana Stojanovic suffered through the bombing severe injuries. One by one, the facts as related to a) will be examined. A total of seventeen pieces of shrapnel penetrated her body, the severest shrapnel injuries occurred on her right leg. On her right arm, and on her shoulder area. Three pieces of shrapnel penetrated her stomach area. However, contrary to the first fears of the doctors her inner organs were not damaged. During her three week stay in the hospital in Krusevac, almost all shrapnel pieces were surgically removed. For seven months, she carried a fixture on her right arm. A piece of shrapnel still located in her right arm until now hasn't been removed because the doctors fear that by removing it a main nerve might get damaged. The risk to further damaging the arm, that is already severely limited in use, is at present too high. The shrapnel piece causes much pain. It has not been decided if another operation will be undertaken. The long term damages are still not clear. The fact is that she cannot carry anything with her right arm. The full use of her arm will be impossible. The shrapnel wounds have also left a range of ugly scars on the young girl's body.
Marijana Stojanovic has been psychologically damaged by this event. Loud noises such as airplane noises, motor noises, or suddenly approaching sounds puts her into a state of shock. She claims to that she "lives through the experience" almost daily. In school she has great difficulty concentrating and her grades have fallen behind. She says that "this experience has stolen her youth, she feels a great weight on her, as if she is much older". Twice per month she has a depressive phase that lasts several days and makes it impossible to deal with daily life. Also, in regards to psychological injury, the long term damages are still to be determined. A noticeable improvement in her situation has, two years after the bombing, not materialized.
c) With the injured Marina Jovanovic a breakage on her right lower thigh and middle finger on her left hand was determined. A total of 66 pieces of shrapnel penetrated her body. Two of the shrapnel pieces are stuck in the sixth and seventh vertebra. Large open wounds were on the back and on the inner side of the upper thigh. Ten of the total of 66 pieces of shrapnel are two years after the bombing still in her body, in the chest, in the legs, in the neck, and in the back. Surgically removing them would be very risky. A particularly large scar is on her back that was caused by an almost one kilogram piece of shrapnel. This piece of shrapnel got stuck in her knapsack preventing an even greater wound from occurring and maybe even saving her life. There were many small wounds and burns on the whole body. On the whole body, ugly scars have remained, some as large as a fist. The lasting damages are still to be determined. The injured person can no longer participate in sports. Her leg is not fully functional, physical work is completely out of the question. Because of her life-long injuries, her career perspectives will remain minimal. The degree of disability is 70 percent. Because of her psychological complaints, the injured person is in regular therapy. Here also, the long term damages have not yet been determined.
2.1. 2. Severely injured persons on the banks of the Morava (first wave of attack)
d) The injured person, today 45 year old Predrag Macic, was standing at the time of the first attack on the bank of the Morava, on the side away from town, and was fishing ca. 20 meters down river from the bridge, when suddenly he heard airplane noises; immediately, thereafter, the fired off rockets detonated. As a result of the shock wave, he was hurled several meters into the air. A large smoke cloud developed and it became dark and hot. The water of the Morava looked as if it was cooking. A tree fell upon him, and for a moment he was unconscious. After regaining consciousness he walked away. After walking about 100 meters away from the bridge two more detonations occurred. How much time elapsed after that he can not say; he stood under shock. Predrag Macic suffered an array of shrapnel injuries. Eight of the splinters, two years after the bombing, are still in his left hip. They have not been surgically removed because the doctors feel the risk would be too high. It has not yet been determined if further operations will be undertaken. The long term effects have yet to be fully determined. The wounds on the body that were caused by the shrapnel have also caused burns to be left behind. Once or twice a day his left leg gets cold, and he is unable to move it for several hours. The injured person cannot walk properly. He is unable to do hard work. To what extent his walking disability will remain is not yet determinable. Since the bombing, his vision has also suffered greatly. He is also psychologically disabled. He has problems sleeping at night "the explosions take place in his head". When the injured person dreams of the explosions, he starts to suffocate. His doctors have prescribed him medication which he is unable to take because he lacks the financial resources to buy them.
e) The injured person, today 46 years old Dragolub Arsentjetvic, was standing about five meters from the just mentioned injured person Predrag Macic, and was also fishing on the embankment of the Morava, about 25 meters away from the bridge, down river of the bridge.
He also was injured in the first wave of attack. On his upper body he suffered abrasions and lacerations and also suffered burns to his legs. A huge scar has remained on his forehead. Through surgery, pieces of shrapnel have been removed from his left leg. The detonations shattered both of his eardrums in his left ear. He has 30 percent permanent hearing loss, and further loss of hearing is expected. He is easily shocked through loud noises. Due to the injury to his leg, he is unable to fully carry out his profession as a vulcanizer. He is unable to walk properly and his condition tends to be worsening. Here also, the long term damages can not yet be determined.
f) The injured person, today 42 year old Miroljub Brakovic was fishing on the river bank of the Morava at the time of the first attack, away from the direction of town, about five meters away from the injured person Dragolub Arsentjevic, and about 30 meters down river from the bridge. The injured person neither recognized the sounds of an airplane nor those of a rocket. Immediately, after the detonation the injured person felt a strong hit to his face, and immediately thereafter became unconscious. After regaining consciousness, he realized that the water of the Morava was hot. Instinctively, he dragged himself a few meters forwards, and only barely became aware of the second wave of attack moments later.
The injured person got hit by shrapnel. The most serious wound resulted to his head. On the left side of his face, between the side of his mouth and his nose, a piece of shrapnel slammed through his upper jaw, then penetrated the lower part of his head and ended up about 1,5 cm near the neck vertebra. To this day this piece of shrapnel has not been removed because of the high risk in removing it. The injured person has already undergone several operations, in which various pieces of shrapnel were removed. On his upper left arm, a piece of shrapnel caused a deep flesh wound that has left a scar about 6 cm long and 2 cm wide. A shrapnel piece that penetrated all the way through his upper thigh has left a large scar behind. It has not yet been decided if further operations will be undertaken. It is expected that other long term damages will ensue. The injured person suffers from constant fainting spells; for example, when he quickly moves his head, when people on the road quickly run past him, or when cars drive by him. Due to his fainting spells the injured person is unable to operate a vehicle. When traveling as a passenger in a vehicle, he will experience periods of dizziness and faint. His profession as a headwaiter he will practically no longer be able to carry out anymore. He is forced to avoid physical work. When on his feet for only a few minutes he is forced to take a break in order to regain his strength. He constantly experiences pain in his left leg, and during changes in weather he can "feel" his scars. There is a danger that the shrapnel piece lodged near his vertebra may result in a partial paralysis.
2.2. Killed and severely injured persons (second wave of attack)
In contrast to the first wave of attack, whose victims were civilians on the bridge and on the bank of the river, and away from the direction of town, in the second wave of attack, those killed or injured were solely civilians on the river bank and were towards the direction of town. The victims of the second wave of attack were exclusively civilians who had rushed to the bridge with the intent to aid the victims of the first wave to attack. Their intent to help cost them their lives and their health. With the detonation of two additional NATO rockets seven people who were trying to help died and twelve were made into cripples.
g) The at the time 68 year old injured Bozidar Dimitrivic, was at around noon time on May 30, 1999 at the market place in Varvarin to do some shopping. He was about 100 meters away from the bridge when suddenly from the direction of the bridge a large explosion took place. A large black cloud developed. Panic broke out at the market place, people hid themselves underneath the market stands, others were frantically trying to get away. Next to him was standing the (soon to die) Stojan Rictic, and Tola Apostolovic, with whom Bozidar Dimitrivic, immediately after the detonation, had ran to the bridge to try to help. When he arrived at the bridge he realized that the bridge was destroyed. In the river he saw a car with two people in it. Trying to help these people they climbed down the Morava river's embankment. Bozidar Dimitrivic and his companions had not yet reached the river due to the riverbank's steep slop, when the second detonation took place. The shock wave hurled him into the bushes. He got so hot he thought he was going to burn up. Around him people were being hurled through the air. The injured person became dazed and was under shock. Only after a period of time, did he realize that all this fingers and the thumb of his left hand had been ripped off, shrapnel had torn apart his left leg; in an area of about 30 centimeters long and about 20 centimeters wide his upper thigh was totally torn apart. The injured person in his first three months stay in the hospital at Krusevac was operated four times on his legs, numerous transplantations of skin and tendon needed to be carried out. In 2000 two further operations on his legs were undertaken. His degree of disability is 80 percent. He is unable to walk properly and unfit to do physical work.
As a result of these events his vision has suffered tremendously, he is in need of glasses that, due to his financial situation, he is not able to pay for. He is constantly dependent on pain killers to ease the pain in his crippled hand and his damaged leg. Eventually, he will need another operation on his leg. The long term damages are still not fully foreseeable. He will no longer be able to carry out his profession as a farmer. He is living a "hand to mouth" existence today.
h) The at the time 74 year old soon to die Tola Apostolovic ran together with the already mentioned injured person Bozidar Dimitrivic and with the, soon to die Stojan Ristic, after the first wave of attack to the bridge to try to help. He was killed at the bridge through the fired off rocket of the second wave of attack. He bled to death. The coroner report establishing the cause of death is at hand.
Photo documentation: corpse of Mr. Tola Apostolovic
Photo left: site at bridge embankment (in the direction of town) where corpse lay Photo right: after being retrieved
i) The at the time 56 year old soon to die Stojan Ristic was walking together with the already mentioned injured person Bozidar Dimitrivic and with the already mentioned killed Tola Apostolovic, after the first wave of attack to the bridge to try to help. He was killed at the bridge through the fired off rocket of the second wave of attack. He bled to death. The coroner report establishing the cause of death is at hand.
Photo documentation: corpse of Mr. Stojan Ristic
Photo left: site at bridge embankment (in the direction of town) where corpse lie Photo right: after being retrieved
j) The at the time 54 year old soon to be severely injured Slobodan Ivanovic, was at the time of the first wave of attack at the market place ca. 100 meters away from the bridge. After the rocket detonation he went to the bridge to try to help. When his arrived at the bridge he saw a red car lying in the Morava with two people in it. He also saw the three girls who were, in the direction away from town, hanging on the bridge piece. People were crying for help. He did not know who he should help first, but then decided to save a young man, who was lying in the water, at the side of the embankment towards the town. He climbed down the river embankment and pulled the injured man out from the water as the two further rockets detonated. Due to the shock wave he dropped the injured man and was himself thrown over. He was lying beneath the street level and saw people flying through the air. He tried to stand up and tried to support himself with his right hand. That was, however, not possible since his hand was totally torn apart, later his hand had to be amputated including a part of his underarm. His left leg was also hurt through shrapnel, the main muscle had been penetrated. The injured person received burn wounds and he lost 30 percent of his hearing. A number of operations were undertaken which included several months of rehabilitation. The degree of disability is 80 percent. He is unable to work because continual physical stress of any kind is impossible. After one and a half years he is now able to walk without help. The longer term consequences are still not fully determinable. He still suffers from pain in his leg and in his hand.
k) The at the time 26 year old later injured Aleksandar Mijatovic was with his friend, the later killed Zoran Marinkovic, during the detonation of the first wave of attack in the town of Varvarin. After the detonation they drove immediately with a motorcycle to the bridge in order to help. They barely were from the motorcycle, and noticed the destroyed bridge, and a car lying in the river when it came to the next detonation. Whereas the friend standing right next to the injured person was immediately dead, Aleksandar Mijatovic was severely injured. A piece of shrapnel slammed through his back and ended lodged next to his spinal cord. From a special clinic in Belgrad it was attempted to remove the shrapnel piece. This was, however, not possible without disabling the legs. The shrapnel is thus two years after the injury still lodged next to his spinal cord. The danger of a disabling of the legs, even without an operation, is still acute. A rehabilitation program has been started, and it has not yet been decided if an additional operation will be undertaken. Thus the longer term damages are still not foreseeable. He is unable to participate in sports, and is thus denied all the things that a person of his age would normally want to do. He is totally unable to work, and cannot even do the simplest of things.
Particularly, acute arethe psychological problems for the injured person. Latent states of fear and periodically reoccurring nightmares, in which he relives the bombing, have defined his life. He is always dreaming of his best friend's death, how he died, and of "all the horrors on the bridge". He suffers constantly from depression. The injured person himself states that in the last two years his condition has worsened. Here also, it is not know how this condition can be treated and what the long term consequences will be. For this 27 year old all hopes of a meaningful life, in the truest sense of the word, have died. He sees no purpose more in his life.
l) The at the time 33 year old later to be killed Zoran Marinkovic was killed through the rocket blast of the second wave of attack. The basic facts here will refer to the description under k). In the coroner report before us the cause of death is stated as resulting from the total destruction of the stomach and the large and small collarbone. The left leg and the left upper thigh were no longer connected to the body. The organs of the stomach were totally torn apart and mixed in with torn skin, pieces of bone and internal organs. Parts of the skin of the corpse as well as parts of the stomach were smeared with a black fatty substance. Death was violent and caused through bleeding immediately after the destruction of the organs.
Photo documentation: corpse of Mr. Zoran Marinkovic
Photo left: site at bridge embankment (in the direction of town) where corpse lie Photo right: after being retrieved
m) The at the time 28 year old later severely injured Predrag Milosevic was in the church at the time of the first wave of attack, which is about 120 meters away from the bridge. The shock wave of the blast shattered the church windows. He and other worshipers ran out of the church. Together with the two priests, the later killed Milovoje Ciric, and the later injured Tomislav Gajic they ran to the bridge to try to help. When he arrived at the bridge with the priests he saw that the bridge was destroyed and lying in the water. In the river was a car with people still in it, and he could see three the girls in the river who were clinging to the bridge piece that was lying in the river. People were coming from the church and from the market place to the bridge to help. He did not know whom he should help first. He could not help the girls because the bridge lay in the water. He was standing with his back to the bridge as he heard a loud whiz sound and further detonations. He had no chance to react, immediately after the whiz sound, the detonations followed. Between the detonation of the first wave of attack and the second wave of attack, to his estimation, were 4 to 5 minutes. The shock wave knocked him out, and after coming too, a few minutes later, he realized that his left leg was almost torn off. It was hanging on only through pieces of skin. He smelt like burnt shin and he was bleeding profusely. Next to him, motionless, was lying his friend Goran Veskovic. He screamed for help and crawled up the street. Later he was operated on in the hospital in Krusevac. It was a difficult operation, and he pleaded with the doctors not to remove his leg that was still hanging on to him with pieces of skin. The operation was successful. He lay in bed for 146 days. The leg received a special metal construction/fixture and the bones were screwed together to help them grow back together. After three and half months he was able to stand for the first time in order to begin training to walk.
At first he would constantly fall into unconsciousness. For months the pain was so unbearable that he had to take strong pain relieving pills. Even two years after the bombing he suffers from the pain in his leg and has to daily take pain relievers. He has undergone two rehabilitation programs, the first lasted for 140 days the second for 40 days, and he will also be undergoing a third rehabilitation program.
The leg of the injured person is now four centimeter shorter, and further disabilities are expected, particularly problems to the spinal cord and to the feet. His walk is severely disabled, more than 15 minutes of walking is not possible, and after that it becomes blue and "dies off". Physical work of any kind is impossible for him. The injured person is no longer able to operate a vehicle. His left leg does not have the necessary dexterity to do so. It would be possible with a specially designed steering wheel, for him to operate a vehicle, but he lacks the money to pay for such a vehicle. Per year he needs three pairs of orthopedic shoes which he is, however, unable to pay for. The detonations also damaged the tendons in his knee. He is still in therapy. In addition, he has 30 percent hearing loss. The doctors believe his hearing loss will worsen. The injured person is unable to work. Up until the bombing he had worked as a tailor in a textile factory.
The psychological consequences are very grave. The injured person suffers from anxiety, and panic attacks, depression and insomnia, and he is unable to sleep at night without the lights being turned on. To guard against anxiety and panic attacks he leaves at night his television or radio on, and quiet and darkness causes him to panic. When he is able to sleep he dreams of the bombing. He feels "shocked to death" when he hears loud noises. He says he has lost the ability to laugh. Still worse, he has lost the will to live. He can't see any prospects left for his life, and he does not know what will happen to his family, how is he to support them. The longer term consequences even after two years after the bombing are still unforeseeable.
n) The at the time 76 year old later killed priest of the parish in Varvarin Milivoje Ciric, ran after the first detonation together with his colleague, Tomislav Gajic, the already mentioned injured Predrag Milosevic, and the injured Mirjana Nesic to the bridge to try to help. When pertaining to the basic facts they will refer to m) and y). He was killed from the detonated rockets from the second wave of attack. The priest's head was torn off his body from the shrapnel debris flying through the air. His colleague, Tomislav Gajic, at the time was standing precisely next to him. In the deposition we have before us of his statement before the investigating judge he says that his colleague's brain got splashed all over his face.
Photo documentation: corpse of the priest Milivoje Ciric
Photo left: site at bridge embankment (in the direction of town) where corpse lie Photo right: head severed from the trunk
o) The at the time 22 year old later injured Milan Mitrovic went, after taking part in the holiday celebration of the holy trinity at the church in Varvarin, together with friends, including the later injured, Goran Stojanovic, to a cafe about 500 meters from the bridge. They had just ordered some drinks when the detonations of the first wave of attack took place. The windows shattered, and from the direction of the bridge, a large mushroom like cloud appeared. He decided, along with his friend, Goran Stojanovic, to go to the bridge to try to help. Immediately, after arriving at the bridge, the second wave of attack took place. As a result of the detonations the injured person was knocked over from the shock waves. His right leg was from the knee down from shrapnel totally shattered. The shin-bone had broken loose and was sticking out from the upper thigh. On his left shoulder he suffered a deep flesh wound with a diameter of ca. 15 cm. He suffered burns over his entire body. On the right upper arm is a large scar (burn scar) with a diameter of about nine centimeters, and a total of seven scars (burn scars) are on his chest. Through surgery (to date, two operations) the leg was able to be saved, but it is 4 1/2 centimeters shorter. The injured person's degree of disability is 80 percent. Further operations are planed, when however, has not yet been determined. The foot is bent inwards and the injured person is unable to control the movements of his leg during walking. He continues to have severe pain and is constantly dependent on pain killers. With the further planed operations lengthening of the leg is planed. The long term consequences resulting from the incurred damages will, according to doctors, be determinable only after two years.
The injured person says, that on March 30, 1999 considerably more persons were present in Varvarin for the market days than is usual. Because of the religious holiday (celebration of the holy trinity), people were coming to Varvarin from all over the nearby areas. The injured person believes several 1000's of people were at the time of the bombing residing in town. Like all other witnesses and injured persons, Mr. Milan Mitrovic states that at no time in Varvarin was military stationed there, and at no time were military maneuvers taking place. According to the injured person, in all certanty, this applies to the 30th of May 1999, since on this day he himself was in town. Approximately, 20 kilometers from Varvarin a military unit was stationed.
p) The at the time 22 year old injured Goran Stojanovic was likewise injured from the rockets of the second wave of attack. He had gone with his friend, Miroslav Dakic, to the bridge in order to help. The basic facts are those pertaining to o). The injured person was hit with an array of shrapnel across his entire body. These were surgically removed. The most severe injury was to his right arm, and tendons needed to be transplanted into his arm. The degree of disability is 40 percent. Further physiotherapeutic care and rehabilitation measures will be needed. The arm is no longer fully moveable, and full recovery will be impossible. The injured person was, up until the bombing, employed in a farm factory. Since his injury he has had to write in sick. His arm can no longer tolerate hard work so he is thus no longer able to carry on with his former work. The doctors will, only after one or two years, be able to determine the long term consequences.
q) The at the time 42 year old later injured Miroslav Dakic was at the time of the first wave of attack in an area near the market place about 50 meters away from the bombed bridge. Through the bomb blast he was thrown to the ground, however, at first not injured. After standing back up someone came to him asking him to come with to the bridge because there were injured and dead people there. Arriving at the bridge he saw the three girls who, on the other side, were clinging to the collapsed bridge and loudly screaming. Suddenly, someone hollered: "The planes are coming back, they're flying in low". He couldn't see the planes himself because he immediately tried to throw himself behind a parked car. He was, however, unable to do so, when suddenly there were two almost simultaneous detonations. The shock wave swept him away, and he lost consciousness. After regaining consciousness he discovered that his left leg was twisted out of place and that it had a huge open wound. Two large injuries were also incurred to his lower under arm. The needed surgery took place hours later in the hospital in Krusevac. The doctors there wanted the patient to be brought to a special clinic in Belgrad to be operated on, but they would have had to use a helicopter to do so, this was, however not done, due to the danger from NATO aircraft.
The injured person was for two months in stationary care. Bone transplantations and skin transplantations were carried through. The leg is now 4 1/2 centimeters shorter than before. The degree of invalidity is 60 percent. The healing process is irregular, and the bones have not yet grown properly together. The injured person was again, between the beginning of October 1999 and May 1999, and again in December 2000, for two weeks in hospital. A final prognoses to the long term condition of the patient is at the time not possible, and further operations may have to be undertaken. The injured person was up until the bombing a self employed farmer. This type of life he will no longer be able to do since his farming loses were to great. He is now living "from hand to mouth".
In addition, the injured person has suffered hearing loss, the full extent to which is not yet known. And, in addition, since the bombing he has suffered memory loss. His teeth are brittle and are falling out. The doctors attribute this to psychological causes.
r) The at the time 25 year old later killed Milan Savic was at around 10:00 on the 30th of May 1999 at the market in Varvarin to do some shopping. Immediately, after the second wave of attack, he was found dead on the embankment of the bridge (in the direction to town). There is not doubt that he was killed as a result of the fired off rockets. In the coroner report, at hand, it is stated that the collarbone was smashed. In his open wound one could see parts of the stomach organs, muscle tissue, and pieces of skin and bone. The upper thigh was totally smashed, and the shin bone was separated from the rest of the body. Death was caused through bleeding due to the destruction of the vital organs in the stomach, and the destruction of the upper thigh and blood vessels.
Photo documentation: corpse of Mr. Milan Savic
Photos: after being retrieved
s) The at the time 30 year old later killed Vojkan Stankovic was at the time of the first detonation of the first wave of attack, with his wife and child in his apartment ca. 300 meters from the bridge. After the first detonation he left his apartment to go to the bridge to try to help. There he was killed through the rockets of the second wave of attack. According to the coroner report, we have at hand, his entire abdomen and legs were torn to pieces. Death was caused through bleeding. The killed person was an agricultural economist by profession and the family's main income earner. He leaves behind his wife and their five year old daughter. They have lost their economic foundation.
Photo documentation: corpse of Mr. Vojkan Stankovic
Photos: after being retrieved
t) The at the time 46 year old later injured, Jevitc Momcilo, at the time of the detonation of the first wave of attack, was at home about 100 meters from the bridge. He is a fireman and went immediately after the first detonation to the bridge to help. Immediately, after arriving to the bridge, the rockets of the second wave of attack detonated. He through himself to the floor and put his hands over his head for protection. Nonetheless, he got hit with 64 pieces of shrapnel, primarily to this legs. The left hand was mutilated, and the thumb was almost twisted off. The thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger have in spite of surgery remained stiff. In a first operation, at the hospital in Krusevac, 62 pieces of shrapnel were able to be removed. To remove the other two pieces of shrapnel, three additional operations were unsuccessfully undertaken, because the risks were to high. Whether or not further operations will be undertaken to remove the two pieces of shrapnel has not yet been decided. An additional operation will be undertaken to straighten the thumb on the left hand. He is currently being treated in a special clink in Belgrad, on a 14 day basis. At the present time, the long term consequences are not yet determinable. The injured person still has severe pain in his legs. He can no longer undertake long walks. His left hand cannot be used for hard work, and the full movement of his finger is not possible. He will no longer be able to work as a fireman. The degree of invalidity is 40 percent. He is still unable to work and remains on sick leave.
u) The at the time 38 year old later injured Vlastimir Bozidar was at the market place, and by chance glanced in the direction of the bridge ca. 200 meters away, as he suddenly saw a projectile flying in. A fraction of a second later the detonations occurred on the bridge. A shock wave forced him to the ground, and he saw a black smoke cloud rising up, and at first he remained unharmed. After getting back up he ran to the bridge. He was one of the first who after the first wave of attack has reached the bridge. On the river bank towards town he could not detect any injured or killed people. In the river lay a red car, and he could detect a swinging arm sticking out of the car. A drowning person was obviously trying to free himself. Vlastimir Bozidar was anxious and distraught and wanted to get away from the bridge as suddenly two further detonations followed. He got hit from shrapnel. The entire left underarm was cut open to the bone and almost completely severed. Both arms, particularly, the elbows were burnt. He had severe burns on his chest and on his lower left side. Two large shrapnel wounds were caused, one on his shoulder blades and, one on his buttocks. His entire back was burnt and his hand was burnt charcoal black. The injured person was brought to the hospital in Krusevac and was under treatment for three months. No operations were needed. And relatively seen, the wounds have healed well, although he has an array of scars on his body. Nevertheless, his left arm is sensitive to pain, he can only use it for a short time, and he has limited movement. The long term consequences, particularly to his arm, are not yet discernable.
v) The at the time 68 year old later killed Dragoslav Terzic ran from the church after the first detonations, and to the bridge to help. He was killed through the rocket fire of the second wave of attack. In the coroner report at hand is stated that the brain of the killed person was smashed from a piece of shrapnel so that the brain got pressed out of the head. Death was caused through the destruction of the brain.
Photo documentation: corpse of Mr. Dragoslav Terzic
Photo left: site at bridge embankment (in the direction of town) where corpse lie Photo right: after being retrieved
w) The at the time 46 year old later injured Predrag Savic went after the first detonations to the bridge to help. Through the detonations of the second rocket fire he got hit from shrapnel in the head and in the hip. He was operated at in the hospital in Krusevac. To the present day the longer term consequences are not foreseeable. The fact is that since the bombing the injured person can no longer put together consecutive sentences. He suffers from severe speech problems. His speech is very unclear. In addition, two years after the bombing, he suffers from constant headaches which periodically occur and last for several weeks, and are so severe that he then for several days "can't live and can't die". Through the injury to his hip he is unable to walk properly and thus can only partially do his work as a farmer. He is still under medical treatment. The longer term damages are still not foreseeable.
x) The at the time 29 year old later injured Mirjansa Nesic was at the time of the first detonations in the church attending a feast. The detonations caused the plates on the table to shatter, and the church foundation shook and received cracks. Together with the injured Predrag Milosevic, and the priests she went to the bridge to try to help. The basic facts will relate to those in m) and n). She could see that the bridge was totally destroyed. Then she heard someone hollering: "the airplanes are coming back, run away!". She tried to run away when suddenly already the next detonations took place. She was hit on the head and on the shoulder with shrapnel. The shrapnel pieces penetrated both her head and her shoulder. She was also hit in the back and in the stomach with shrapnel. The shrapnel pieces were surgically removed at the hospital in Krusevac. Doctors would like to have had her brain diagnostically examined, however, to this day she has not had this done because she lacks the financial resources to have it done. She is unemployed. Irrespective, of the fact that the injured person does not have the resources to have further examinations done, a long term prognosis is at this time not possible. The doctors fear that she could, due to her head injuries, among other things, develop convulsions (epilepsy), or suffer other temporary or permanent impairments. Two years after the bombing the injured person still cannot fully turn her head. She has memory loss, and also suffers from constant headaches, which are particularly acute during weather changes.
3. The Legal Merits
The NATO air attack on the bridge at Varvarin on the 30th of May 1999 violated the rules of international law regulating armed conflicts (ius in bello), and also German law.
The international rules pertaining to an international armed conflict apply according to international common law irregardless of the cause of the conflict, for all parties involved in the conflict. This was specifically stated in the 1977 preamble of the Protocol Additional (Protocol 1) to the Geneva Conventions (hereafter referred to as PA 1):
"Reaffirming further that the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and of this Protocol must be fully applied in all circumstances to all persons who are protected by those instruments, without any adverse distinction based on the nature or origin of the armed conflict or on the causes espoused by or attributed to the Parties to the conflicts..."
The destruction of the bridge, the killing and injuring of civilians, as well as causing material damages to their property, were done in violation of the strict prohibition against attacks on civilians. It is partial to the oldest and most elementary rules of humanitarian international law that, during military action, a clear distinction be make between military goals and combatants on the one hand, and civilian objects and the civilian population on the other, and that it is prohibited to attack civilians and civilian objects (Article 48 PA 1)
"In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives."
Those seen as military targets are those according to Art. 52 of PA 1
"military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage."
None of these, characteristics described, to justify a destruction, apply in the case of the bridge at Varvarin. The bridge was in no way being used militarily. The condition, location, purpose and the use of the bridge at Varvarin, cancels out any military use by the Yugoslav army.
But even hypothetically arguing a military use of the bridge at Varvarin by the Yugoslav army, does not justify the destruction of the bridge by NATO at the particular time, because the necessary characteristics of a "definite military advantage" were not present.
But even then, when one hypothetically argues (in favor of the NATO states) that the bridge could have contributed to military action, or furthermore, by destroying it could have provided a "definite military advantage", the decision to destroy, and the destroying of the bridge were illegal, because the amount of destruction caused to the civilian population stood in no relation to the (hypothetically claimed) direct military advantage anticipated. Art. 51 Paragraph 5 b) PA 1 entails the strict prohibition of an attack through bombing when:
"An attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated."
The attack, on the exclusively from civilians used bridge in the small Serbien town of Varvarin, free of military equipment and troop movements, more than 20 kilometers away from the nearest military object, more than 100 kilometers from Kosovo and the armed conflict, the bombing at mid-noon time, on a church Friday, on a market day, at a time when several 1000's of people were situated near the bombed bridge, was therefore not only a "indiscriminate attack" in the sense of the above quoted Art. 51 Paragraph 5 b, but in particular, a premeditated attack aimed at inflicting death and injury to civilians. The bridge had served simply as an object of revenge against the civilian population (Art. 52 Paragraph 1 PA 1). This, in no way justifiable intent to kill and injure, in which the bombing of the bridge served solely as a target, (allegedly destroyed as an act of self protection), is exemplified in particular, through the combat method used - the method of the second wave of attack.
The fighter planes of the NATO states attacked the bridge without any forewarning, and therefore, in an insidious and cunning way. Also the bridge was already thoroughly destroyed in the first wave of attack. But that was not enough for them, in spite of the destruction through the first wave of attack, minutes later, they flew a second wave of attack on the already destroyed bridge, in which predictably, civilians would be killed and injured. Predictably, because it is normal that after an attack people would go to the area in order to help the injured.
In addition, the chosen method of combat rendered the attack an "indiscriminate attack" according to Art. 51 Paragraph 4 b) and c) PA 1. Therein, attacks are prohibited that,
"(a) Those which are not directed at a specific military objective;
(b) Those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or
(c) Those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction."
A war, respectively, an armed conflict, is no excuse to indiscriminately kill, injure or destroy. All parties involved in an armed conflict are obligated to take certain precautionary measures to protect the civilian population and civilian objects. These precautionary measures are to be undertaken before the attack. The results of these precautionary measures determine whether or not an attack can take place, or if a shot can be fired in the first place. With these set of rules determining the precautionary measures to be taken before an attack, is further determined, that in terms of justifying an attack, legally it makes no difference, if fighter planes fire off rockets, or bomb at a height of 10 000 meters or during a low-level attack. Art 57 PA 1 regulates the following precautionary measures:
"1. In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.
2. With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
(a) Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:
(i) Do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects...
(ii) Take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life...
(iii) Refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life,... which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;
(c) Effective advance warning shall be given of attacks which may affect the civilian population, unless circumstances do not permit."
If, as in the case at hand, the bombing of the bridge at Varvarin, it were not the intent to kill or to injure civilians, then as a result of undertaking these precautionary measures, the attack would not have been carried out. The actions taken, however, were completely contrary to these precautionary measures; during the planing and in carrying out the attack, practically everything was done to guarantee that civilians and civilian objects were targeted. The measures taken were to insure losses among the civilian population. In order to effectively achieve this aim no warning was given to the civilian population. The bombing occurred, in effect, contrary to all the rules governing war. It was not collateral damage, it was a war crime.
The killing and injuring of civilians through the attack on the bridge at Varvarin, as well as the resulting material damages, were clearly violations of the rules of international law applicable to armed conflicts. The responsible party is, therefore, in accordance with Art. 3 of Hague Convention IV, as well as Art. 91 of the Protocol Additional (Protocol 1) liable to pay compensation.
Irrespective of their citizenship, civilians have, who were damaged by the armed forces of the NATO states through the military actions of NATO in the so-called Kosovo-War between March 24. and June 10, 1999, in violation of the rules of international law applicable in armed conflicts, a claim to compensation against the member states of NATO, and thus against the Federal Republic of Germany.
Next to the compensation claims that the attacked state and its citizens have a right to, there is also, the general claim to compensation resulting from violations of the rules of armed conflict (ius in bello). All states involved in the conflict have a right to this compensation as well as the individual citizens affected. For the injured persons these claims result not only from international law, but also from German law. These claims, in as far as they pertain to the injured persons, are hereby being asserted.
In the preamble as well as in Article 1 of PA 1 it is stated that the rules of international humanitarian law are "in all circumstances" to be maintained. In so doing, it is emphasized that these rules present minimal standards, that even under the severe conditions of armed conflict the life of protected persons are to be protected. To their protection is also included that these protected persons have, in the case of a violation of these rules, an individual right to compensation.
The same is true today of the so-called Hague rules, in particular, the Hague rules of war on land, which are part of the Hague Convention IV of 1907, their universal authority as international common law explicitly affirmed in the verdict of the Nuremberg Tribunal.
Irrespective of whether or not the war was a violation of international law - or if, for example, a war led in self defense in compliance with international law - the state is still liable for damages incurred from soldiers, violating the rules of war (ius in bello) to foreign persons and states. This liability was in Hague Convention IV of 1907 in Art. 3 explicitly reaffirmed.
"A belligerent party which violates the provisions of the said Regulations shall, if the case demands, be liable to pay compensation. It shall be responsible for all acts committed by persons forming part of its armed forces."
This rule today is an integral part of international common law. It is, in accordance with Art. 5 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, immediate binding law, as it is stated by the Jigh Court of Cologne (OLG), 27. 08. 98; 7 U 167/97. This rule applies also in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and to PA 1.
Controversial has until now only been whether or not the claim can come from the injured person himself in terms of a civil procedure, or if, only under the diplomatic protection of the country of the person's origin. Without probing the individual elements of the claim's foundation, the prevailing thought has for a long time been that such claims can only be initiated from state to state i.e., under diplomatic protection.
But by a correctly interpreting Art. 3 of Hague Convention IV and considering the entire development of human rights in international law since 1945, it reveals, that claims resulting from violations of the rules governing armed conflict are not only claims under international law, but also claims rooted in the legal system of the Federal Republic of Germany.
From the old school of thought on the exclusivity of only states being the subject of international law, and the principle of diplomatic protection, evolved the notion of "exclusivity", that only states can claim compensation from consequences of war; which practically excludes the individual from his rights, this however, doesn't actually exist in international law. Quite correctly, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has stated that "such a rule on exclusivity in general international law" does not exist.
"The assumption that such a principle can also exclude claims, that are accorded by German law, rests upon an insufficient differentiation between claims according to international law and claims according to national law." (NJW 1996, 2717)
The following case presents a parallel claim between the just described regulations of international law (ius in bello) and German tort law according to § 823 BGB; upon here the claims of our clients are based.
The responsibility for the bombing, (officially called air operations), of Yugoslavia between March 24, 1999 and June 10, 1999 is carried by NATO, as well as by every individual NATO member state. The planing and execution of the NATO air operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia compulsorily required the consent of all the NATO member states. Without a unanimous decision from the member states the mission would not have been possible. From an array of German government statements, documents, and statements from German military officials, it can be seen that the target planing and target selection was decided on through the representatives of the member states within NATO.
In the ending statements to the German Bundestag on October 12, 1999 (Drucksache 13/11469) was stated from the German government:
"The general secretary of NATO states that under the extraordinary circumstances in the crises situation in Kosovo, as it is presented in UN security counsel Resolution 1199, the threat of, and if need be, the use of force is justified. The Federal Administration shares this legal assessment with all 15 NATO member states. The alliance has decided to prevent the development of a humanitarian disaster through the deployment of armed forces.
We are not judging here the correctness or legal merits of this decision. We are simply establishing that the Federal Government affirmed that it freely participated in this decision, and thus, also carries the responsibility for damages that incurred as a result of the violations of the rules of war, that resulted from the carrying out of this decision. Resulting from the structure of NATO, this responsibility is independent, of whether or not, in the actual case of damages in violation to international law, these were caused by German, American or English bombers, or if as a result from orders from German, American or officers of another nationality. Every NATO member is responsible for the military actions that take place under NATO's command. This is even then true when all the details of a particular military action are not known.
In case of damages incurred through a NATO military action in violation of the rules of war the claims to compensation are directed to every NATO member. The damaged party does not have to prove that it ensued through American, British or German bombers. As a rule this is not even possible. Since the war was led in agreement by all partties of the alliance, every party is liable for the whole. This principle of joint and several liability, which is found in 421 BGB and in § 830/840 BGB is extended to torts is also valid in international law, where several countries act jointly.m
The principle of joint and several liability is applied within NATO i.e., between the NATO states themselves, as Art. VIII, Abs. 5 lit. e ii and iii of the NATO armed forces statute of June 19, 1951 shows. The joint and several liability of the NATO treaty parties is particularly valid in relation to third parties , and especially when they involve civilians.
4. The Claims
In the name of our clients, these claims for compensation, resulting out of the above described reasons, are being made against the Federal Republic of Germany. We are calling upon the Federal Republic of Germany to, as a first step, and no later then,
September 21, 2001
declare in a legally binding manner, that she recognizes the basis of these compensation claims, i.e., that she will compensate all damages resulting from the bombing of the bridge at Varvarin on May 30, 1999, and will further compensate for the damages that are still to ensue.
Should this recognition of the claims not take place within the time given we will without further notice legally proceed with our claims.
The individual compensation claims we will present, and so far as is possible, the exact amount being demanded, as soon as we have received notice of the recognition of these claims. The replacement of the entire material and immaterial amount is being asked for.
At this point, it can already be stated that the following compensation for personal suffering, for immaterial damages, are to be paid:
1. to the, a total of 17 severely injured persons,
a minimum of 100,000.00 DM per person;
2. to the spouses Vesna and Zoran Milenkovic, the parents and heirs of the, at the age of 15 years, killed Sanja Milenkovic, a minimum of 180,000.00 DM;
3. to the from us represented heirs of the 8 persons killed a minimum of 100,000.00 DM per killed person.
For the (totaling 17) severely injured persons the additional costs for the following are to be paid; to help illustrate the situation, the costs for operations, therapy, equipment to aid the visually impaired, prostheses, orthopedic shoes, and all remaining medical costs resulting from the physical and/or physiological injuries by the injured persons, and all the additional costs that will incur. Compensation must also be allotted for the loss of income, and for the future loss of income due to disability. For the relatives of the killed are also to be paid claims for pensions - and as is practiced in similar cases internationally - compensation for the loss of their relatives.
Naturally, we are prepared to discuss with the Federal Republic of Germany the exact amounts to be paid to the persons we are representing. This is, however, only meaningful if these negotiations remain within the numbers we have presented above.
This we are stating from the start, so that it will not even be attempted to give these people, who were the object of a despicable war crime, some sort of small conciliatory sum; this would be an insult to the victims.
Should the need for certificates of inheritance, birth certificates, death certificates, or other documents be necessary, please let us know.
Attorney at Law
certified copies of power of attorney
[Translation from German into English by Alant Jost]