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Sunday, May 9, 1999 Published at 23:29 GMT 00:29 UK

World: Europe

Robinson attacks Nato campaign

Serbs protest in Belgrade against becoming Nato "targets"

Mary Robinson: "Creating civilian death and injury"
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has sharply criticised Nato over its air campaign against Yugoslavia.

She said Nato's humanitarian objectives have failed because its air strikes have led to civilian deaths and injuries.
Kosovo: Special Report

"If civilian lives are lost, that certainly hasn't achieved a humanitarian objective," she said at a news conference in Montenegro.

The UN human rights chief is in the Balkans on a fact-finding mission, investigating human rights abuses against all communities in Yugoslavia.

[ image: Mary Robinson says both Kosovo Albanians and Serbi suffered human rights abuses]
Mary Robinson says both Kosovo Albanians and Serbi suffered human rights abuses
The information will be used by the UN to define new human rights guidelines for future conflicts.

According to Mrs Robinson, all sides in the Kosovo conflict, including Nato, should be eligible for war crimes investigations in the Hague.

Mary Robinson said the war crimes tribunal will be informed in detail about the torture and mass killings of Kosovo Albanian refugees at the hands of Serbian police.

'Collateral damage' a euphemism

Mrs Robinson acknowledged that there were hard choices in war situations.

Humphrey Hawksley in Podgorica: "All sides can be brought to book"
She said questions such as who is a legitimate target and to what extent a Nato planner or pilot could be held responsible were very difficult to answer.

But Mrs Robinson insisted that she would not accept euphemistic terms like collateral damage.

"I do not like the term collateral damage, people are not collateral damage, they are people, and they are civilians," Mrs Robinson said.

But she acknowledged that her views on civilian deaths and injuries were not welcome by Nato member governments.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is due in the Croatian capital Zagreb on Sunday night before making a two-day visit to Belgrade where she hopes to meet President Milosevic.

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