October 16, 2003
Immunity-deficient? Sucks to be you, with only the world's third-largest economy

serbianbridgebombing2.jpgIn other circumstances, the following legal case might have sent shivers of terror down the spines of American military leaders and their elected superiors. Alas, we live in an era where the nation with the world's largest economy has forced its hand and more or less exempted itself from war-crimes prosecution. Through economic bribery, of course.

Yesterday, a court in Germany began arguments in a case seeking damages against the German government by Serbs whose relatives were killed in the 1999 NATO bombing campaign, when a handful of jets dropped bombs upon a bridge in a small village "far removed from the breakaway province of Kosovo where Slobodon Milosevic’s Serbian army was brutally suppressing ethnic Albanians and fighting off NATO air raids."

The result of this particular bombing run? 10 civilians were killed on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

The families of the victims are seeking $4.1 million from the German government, though neither the pilots nor the jets themselves were German.

"They claim that Germany, although not directly involved in the attack, knew of and approved the bombing despite the bridge’s obvious civilian usage. Germany is in this case representative for all of NATO, explained the Hamburg lawyer Gul Pinar, who also criticized the government for sanctioning an attack without warning on a civilian target on a church holiday.

The lawyer for the relatives, Ulrich Dost, says the 35 Serbs are suing on the basis of a 1977 protocol added to the Geneva Convention which calls on signatories, including Germany, to distinguish between civilians and the military and "direct their operations only against military objectives." The bridge in Varvarin, he added, had no military significance."

10 people on a Sunday afternoon in a remote Serbian village? Why, that's nothing! I mean, it's not like the war crime that ensued when American bombers killed almost 30 Afghans, and wounded many more, at a wedding party in July 2002.

I'm sorry. Did I just say war crime? I meant "tactical error." Good luck suing the U.S. for that, chumps! We're immune from the impact of cases like your supposedly precedent-setting German lawsuit.

Posted in a Grave fashion.

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