Proving the truth about depleted uranium in court

A Serbian lawyer courageously sues those responsible for the use of uranium weapons

Interview with Prof. Dr Srdan Aleksić , Serbia

ef. On 22 and 23 September 2023, the Third International Symposium “Law and Ecology” was held at the University of Niš (Serbia). The motto was “The right to truth, justice and salvation”. The symposium was organised by the Law Office of Srdan Aleksić, the Faculty of Law, Security and Management “Constantine the Great”, and the Eurasian Forum for Security.
  The event began on the evening of 22 September with two book presentations, the first: “The Projectiles of Justice”, by Srdan Aleksić. Since the end of the NATO aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, Dr Aleksić and his team have been collecting data, and extensively documenting the damage caused by the war, in order to address the needs of the victims. The book is a documentation of the consequences of the bombings for the public. (An English translation of the book is available on request)
  The auditorium of the University of Niš was well attended on Saturday morning with about 150-200 participants. Around 25 speakers, professors of medicine, former high-ranking generals of the Yugoslavian army, church representatives, historians, jurists, ecologists, some of whom joined via video, from Serbia, Italy, Russia, and the United States, were present. They presented their research findings on the consequences of the NATO bombings. NATO’s war of aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which violated international law, lasted 78 days, from March to June 1999.The disastrous consequences for the people and the environment continue to this day.
  The symposium was led by General Prof. Spasoje Mučibabić, Ph,D., former major general and head of Serbia’s highest military school for defence, and Prof. Dr Srdan Aleksić.
  It was impressive to see how many of the presenters, mainly from Serbia, had come together and that almost all of them are dedicated to researching the consequences of the war. It was also a tribute to their many years of work.
  A highlight of the symposium was the recognition of the work of Srdan Aleksić. He was honoured by the Royal Academy of Scientists and Artists of Serbia with the Medal of Serbian Saint Lazarus, “For his utmost personal commitment, for his family and other people close to him. For his work, which is important for all of us. For his fight for a better world. For a world that is free, just and peaceful.”
  The individual presentations will be published in a conference volume.
  Current Concerns conducted the following interview with Srdan Aleksić after the event.

Current Concerns: What were and are the consequences of the use of DU weapons in the NATO war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999? At the “Mut zur Ethik” conference in September, you were calling for DU weapons to be banned. Can you briefly explain this core idea again?
Dr Aleksić
: There has been an increase in the number of cancer patients, specifically: thyroid cancer, leukemia, malignant lymphoma, multiple myeloma, sarcoma, testicular cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer. Lately, the number of men and women affected by sterility has also increased in the south of Serbia. There are also increasing incidents of autoimmune diseases in children, which was not the case before. So, more and more people are getting cancer, and we can talk about a cancer epidemic in the Republic of Serbia, Kosovo, and the territory of Metohija.
  Today, in the south of Serbia, there is almost no family without at least one member suffering from some type of cancer. According to experts, which is very worrying, even though today we have an epidemic of this most serious disease, it is expected that the peak of this disease will be in the next two years. So we should expect an even greater increase in the number of patients.
  My idea of banning these weapons is to make an official request to the United Nations, through a network of non-governmental organisations and associations of lawyers, to ban depleted uranium munitions from being used in future conflicts between states because of its prolonged effects. The half-life of depleted uranium is 4.5 billion years, which means that once such a weapon is used, it remains for eternity. So I can freely say that the use of depleted uranium ammunition is a crime against humanity and against God. All of us on this planet should do our best to ban the use of these types of weapons.

3rd International Symposium
“Law and Ecology” in Niš

Recently your 3rd International Symposium “Law and Ecology” took place at the University in Niš. What were the most important results of this symposium for you?
The most important result is that scientists and experts from numerous fields –medicine, chemistry, law, various military fields, and ecology – came to the conclusion that depleted uranium left terrible and immeasurably harmful consequences on the ecosystems of Serbia, Kosovo, and the region of Metohija. The use of 15 tons of depleted uranium, according to NATO officials, resulted in the pollution of the ecosystem and almost the entire human environment.
  So it is no longer an assumption that depleted uranium is not harmful, as claimed by the representatives of the NATO pact, but is dangerous and permanently harmful. The meeting’s letter will be addressed to UN bodies dealing with environmental protection and human rights protection, specifically, the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Geneva. The right to life is a basic human right from which all other rights derive. It is guaranteed by international conventions and at the highest legal levels of states, i.e., state constitutions.

The legal proceedings

What is the current status of the legal proceedings concerning the victims of the NATO bombings with DU in the 1999 war against Yugoslavia? Your lawsuit is initially directed against the Serbian government. Why not directly against NATO?
With regard to the current status of the proceedings against NATO and the Republic of Serbia, I would like to point out that the first proceeding, which was initiated in 2021, is in its final phase. We received an expert opinion from the Italian Institute of Nanotechnology in Turin, in which Prof. Dr Rita Celi stated that our client has a 100-fold higher concentration of 21 heavy metals that are toxic to the human body and a 500-fold higher concentration of depleted uranium in the body than permissible. The permissible level for depleted uranium is 0.0055 mSv (millisievert), whereas here it is actually 2.98 mSv.
  NATO has declared that it has legal immunity on the basis of the agreement signed with our country in 2005, on the transit of its troops, soldiers and equipment, but it cannot be exempted from responsibility for the war crime committed by bombing Serbia and Kosovo with depleted uranium ammunition. As for the other 34 cases, they are currently being examined and proven by experts, so I expect that the majority of them will be finalised by the end of the year.
  The lawsuit is aimed directly at the Republic of Serbia, because soldiers, reservists, and officers were on call, or were in the course of their duties in southern Serbia, in Kosovo, and in Metohija, and did not have adequate protective equipment against depleted uranium. Nor were not warned of the possible consequences of exposure to depleted uranium. Those who were affected are therefore entitled to compensation, as are the civilians who were in the area.
  Every state, including the Republic of Serbia, is objectively responsible for the damage caused to its citizens by its inaction and lack of interest in adequate protection. The lawsuit is also directed against NATO because it is responsible for what happened. NATO is responsible for the use of depleted uranium, which has a long-lasting effect, and which is still killing, and will continue to kill, civilians and soldiers who were or are in the area of southern Serbia, Kosovo, and Metohija. Our lawsuits are aimed at protecting the right to human life, which has been violated by the use of depleted uranium ammunition, as it has led to cancer and human deaths. Articles 24 and 25 of the Serbian Constitution regulate the right to life and the right to protection of human health as a fundamental human right.

The Western world has
learned nothing: Depleted Uranium
ammunition is being used in Ukraine

The USA and the UK are officially supplying DU weapons to Ukraine. From your experience, what do you say about this?
The entire Western democratic world has learnt nothing from what has happened to my family, my people, and my country as a result of the use of depleted uranium ammunition. The truth about depleted uranium, its effects and the consequences it entails, was concealed for a long time, not only in the West but also in my country.
  Thanks to the “Mut zur Ethik” working group, I have been speaking about this issue, and the serious consequences of using depleted uranium ammunition, for six years. I am grateful to have the opportunity to speak about it in Switzerland and in other cities in Europe. I take every opportunity to point this out at every conference I attend, and to warn all those who believe that an immediate victory can be achieved with the use of depleted uranium ammunition.
  However, in the long term, environmental pollution and the epidemic of the most serious diseases will continue to occur as inseparable consequences, both in the area where the ammunition was used, and in Western Europe, and the East. And it will continue for the next million years, as uranium dust will also affect those areas where the ammunition is used on the soil of Ukraine and Russia. I appeal to the United Kingdom and to America not to send uranium munitions to Ukraine, or to any other country in the future, because this is a weapon with immeasurable and lasting consequences.

What kind of support is needed for your work now?
First of all, I am grateful for the support that the “Mut zur Ethik” working group has given me, through participation in conferences in Switzerland, through the opportunity to meet numerous intellectuals from various fields who participate in these conferences, as well as through your presence at the conferences in Serbia, in Niš. I am very glad that I have the opportunity to convey to the readers and viewers the truth about this disease – about the occurrence of cancer as a direct consequence of the use of depleted uranium, which occurs in the area of southern Serbia, Kosovo, and Metohija. Since the end of the NATO aggression, my team and I have been collecting data and all relevant documentation related to the damage caused, in order to meet the needs of the victims of this armed aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  The current struggle has not yet led to the desired results – namely an agreement with the responsible members of the NATO alliance on the compensation they owe to the country and its citizens.

This fight “urgently
needs international support”

It is therefore all the more important to publicise this fight. It now urgently needs international support.
  I will try to prove the truth about depleted uranium in court through my legal fight, together with my colleague from Italy and others from Europe and the world. Using scientific papers, and the written evidence contained in the book I published, “The Projectiles of Justice”, I will continue to inform the professional and scientific establishment, and general public, about the consequences of the use of depleted uranium ammunition.
  Your readers can help by following up on the question of what is happening with the more than 1000 applications submitted to the Human Rights Council in Geneva a year ago, as we have not received any answers to date.*
  Assistance could also be expressed in the establishment of a specific non-governmental organisation based in Switzerland or in another European country, with a representative office in Niš, so that we can cooperate on the ground by helping the sick population, protecting the environment, and providing any other kind of help to the civilian population in the south of Serbia, in Kosovo, and in Metohija.

Thank you very much, Srdan Aleksić, for the interview.  •

* These applications – with supporting documents – call on the Human Rights Council to take a stand on the serious human rights violations (the right to life) that have been and are being caused by DU weapons.

Film premiere: “Toxic NATO – Srdan Aleksić’s long way to justice”

ef. The symposium was introduced with the presentation of a brand-new documentary film by Berlin director, filmmaker, and investigative journalist Moritz Enders entitled “Toxic NATO – Srdan Aleksić’s long way to justice”. In the documentary, Enders accompanies the lawyer Srdan Aleksić, whose own family was affected by the consequences of the use of depleted uranium weapons during the Yugoslavian war in 1999, and who is currently fighting several lawsuits. Dr Aleksić is using legal means to help the numerous victims of the NATO bombings receive material compensation for the harm that was done to them.

(Languages: Serbian/German – English subtitles;
Length: 26 minutes; on YouTube: Trailer and interviews)

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