Subject: Allegations of Civilian Bombing in Sudan
Date: Thu, Dec 6, 2001, 3:51 pm

The European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council
1 Northumberland Avenue

Tel:    020 7872 5434
Fax:    020 7753 2848

Date of Publication: 6 December 2001


The issue of Sudanese air force bombing of targets within the ongoing
war in southern Sudan, fought between the government and the rebel Sudan
People's Liberation Army (SPLA), has, in recent years, been focused upon
by several governments, non-governmental organisations and the media.
While there are legitimate concerns about any bombing which may affect
civilians, the issue itself has become the subject of a considerable
propaganda campaign which has distorted perceptions of the conflict. The
subject has also become marred by hypocrisy and double standards. Aerial
bombardment has been a feature of many wars. It is certainly an option
that has been used with considerable vigour by the United States and the
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) within the 1990s. Indeed, it
has become their weapon of choice. That aerial bombing has been used by
the Sudanese armed forces in the course of the civil war in their
country is a matter of record. The Sudanese government appears to have
chosen to engage in bombing just as the Americans and NATO forces chose
to do so in the conflicts in Yugoslavia, Kosovo and, most recently,
Afghanistan. And just as in those conflicts it would appear that
civilians have died or been injured in the course of aerial

Lest there be any doubt about the position taken in this publication,
any civilian deaths or injury or the destruction or partial destruction
of any civilian infrastructure in the course of any war is unacceptable.
Any deliberate targeting of civilians constitutes a grave abuse of human
rights and a war crime. What this note seeks to do is examine the claims
made about Sudanese bombing against the background of the use of bombing
in the other conflicts mentioned, and attempt, as much as possible, to
cut away the propaganda that has obscured this issue.

At the onset of the war in Afghanistan, American Secretary of Defence
Donald H. Rumsfeld publicly stated: "No nation in human history has done
more to avoid civilian casualties than the United States has in this
conflict". (1) He has also stated: "I don't think there has ever been a
bombing campaign in the history of the world done with more care and
precision". (2)  In the course of the several weeks of American bombing
within Afghanistan, however, there is every indication that the United
States air force bombed several hospitals, old age peoples' homes,
mosques, residential areas within several towns, villages, United
Nations offices, Red Cross installations and several civilian buses,
killing several hundred civilians. (3) Pro-American Northern Alliance
officials have themselves stated that American warplanes bombed several
villages within anti-Taliban areas over the weekend of 1-2 December,
killing perhaps as many as 300 civilians - as well as several senior
anti-Taliban commanders. (4)  In early December, a 2,000 pound "smart"
bomb killed 3 American special forces soldiers, injured nineteen others
and dozens of anti-Taliban soldiers. The same bomb also narrowly missed
killing Hamid Karzai, the American-approved Afghan leader selected as
chairman for the interim administration in Afghanistan. (5) It was
alleged by the Taliban regime that as of 1 November some 1,500 civilians
had died as a result of American bombing. (6)  In any instance American
bombing has caused considerable concern to human rights organisations.
(7) In the course of NATO's bombing campaign in Kosovo, NATO was accused
of killing hundreds of civilians in bombing attacks on residential
areas, villages, passenger trains, bridges, hospitals, civilian buses
and refugee convoys. (8) It should perhaps also be borne in mind that
during the Kosovo air war only 2 percent of the unguided, "dumb" bombs
used by the British air force could be confirmed as having hit their
targets. There was only a 72 percent hit rate with its "smart" bombs.

The Sudanese air force has similarly been accused of bombing hospitals
and civilians in southern Sudan. The United States, NATO and the
Sudanese authorities have all stated that any civilian casualties in the
course of their respective conflicts have been accidental.

The simple fact is that mistakes are made in war. This point was made by
Defence Secretary Rumsfeld: "War is ugly. It causes misery and suffering
and death, and we see that every day...needless to say...innocent
bystanders can be caught in crossfire. On the other hand, there are
instances where in fact there are unintended effects of this conflict,
and ordinance ends up where it should not. And we all know that, and
that's true of every conflict." (10)  The Sudanese war has been no
exception. If we are to accept NATO and the United States at their word
that civilians had not been deliberately targeted in Yugoslavia, Kosovo
or Afghanistan, and that any civilian deaths or injuries in the course
of bombing in those conflicts were accidental, then there is also every
reason to accept Sudanese assurances that the same applies to any loss
of civilian life or injuries sustained by aerial bombardment in southern
Sudan. There are nonetheless those who have insisted that civilians have
been deliberately targeted - claims often made as part of propaganda

Unreliability of Sources

The first issue that must be examined is the reliability of those who
are alleging that civilians have been deliberately targeted in the
course of the respective bombing campaigns. US Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld claimed that in the case of Afghanistan the Taliban regime was
simply lying about civilian casualties: "They have actively gone out and
lied about the civilian casualties and taken the press to places where
they would see things that they contended were something other than what
they really were." (11) Rumsfeld has also said: "We have seen repeatedly
things that are not true put out by the Taliban. We have seen...the lies
they have been putting forward, carried across the globe on television
and in the press." (12) The Pentagon also categorically denied that
United States forces had used chemical weapons in Afghanistan, and one
has to ask why Washington would have risked doing so for so little
tactical advantage.  (13)  British Prime Minister Tony Blair also went
on record to say: "Be cautious about all of the messages that the
Taliban put out from inside of Afghanistan." (14)

In the case of Sudan there have been equal concerns about the
credibility of those alleging Sudanese bombing of civilians. These
claims have come from similarly partisan sources. The bulk of these
claims have been made by the SPLA and Norwegian People's Aid, a non-
governmental organisation closely identified with the SPLA, and other
NGOs. And, like the Taliban, they have also been disseminating these
allegations across the globe on television and in the press. Just as the
American government urged caution about Taliban claims, similar caution
should be exercised with regard to SPLA claims. Dr Peter Nyaba, an SPLA
national executive member, in his book 'The Politics of Liberation in
South Sudan: An Insider's View', has spoken candidly of what he
describes as the SPLA's "sub-culture of lies, misinformation, cheap
propaganda and exhibitionism": "Much of what filtered out of the SPLM/A
propaganda machinery, notably Radio SPLA, was about 90% disinformation
or things concerned with the military combat, mainly news about the
fighting which were always efficaciously exaggerated." (15)  How many
claims of deliberate civilian bombing on the part of the government fall
into the 90 percent of SPLA "disinformation" as described above?
Similarly, claims made by Norwegian People's Aid are questionable. The
Norwegian government has investigated NPA's involvement in Sudan. Its
report stated that: "NPA's intervention is that of a solidarity group.
It has taken a clear side in the war." (16)  It is also evident that
Norwegian People's Aid has served as propagandists for the SPLA. The
Norwegian government report stated that: "The publicity, which NPA has
been able to supply in favour of the Movement, has...been significant.
NPA briefed journalists and guided them in the field."

And, in an echo of Taliban claims about American use of chemical
weapons, Norwegian People's Aid claimed in July 1999 that Sudanese
government forces had definitely used chemical weapons in southern
Sudan. (17) United Nations tests conducted on test samples in the areas
cited by Norwegian People's Aid "indicated no evidence of exposure to
chemicals". (18) The British government conducted extensive tests on
similar samples and concluded that "there is no evidence to substantiate
the allegations that chemical weapons were used in these incidents in
the Sudan." (19) The results of the tests run by the Finnish Institute
for Verification of Chemical Weapons also "...revealed no relevant
chemicals." (20) Just as with Taliban accusations of American use of
chemical weapons, one has to query what possible tactical advantage the
Sudanese would have been gained by any such use of chemical weapons,
especially given that Sudan has recently emerged out of international

The Use of Civilians as Human Shields

The American Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has stated that "let
there be no doubt: Responsibility for every single casualty in this war,
be they innocent Afghans or innocent Americans, rests at the feet of
[the] Taliban and Al Qaeda. [They] are the ones that are hiding in
mosques and using Afghan civilians as 'human shields' by placing their
armor and artillery in close proximity to civilians, schools, hospitals
and the like. When the Taliban issue accusations of civilian casualties,
they indict themselves." (21) It is noteworthy that CNN guidelines have
also suggested that CNN journalists should lay responsibility for
civilian casualties at the Taliban's door, not the American
government's. (22)

The Sudanese government has claimed that Sudanese rebels have used
civilians as human shields. The SPLA's tactic of using civilian
installations, premises and areas for military purposes has long been
noted. In 1999, for example, the unanimous resolution passed by the
United Nations Commission on Human Rights urged "in particular the Sudan
People's Liberation Army, to abstain from using civilian premises for
military purposes". (23) In 2000 the Special Rapporteur on the Situation
of Human Rights in the Sudan condemned the SPLA's use of "civilian
installations for military purposes". (24) The Sudanese government has
repeatedly called upon the international community to pressurise the
SPLA to stop using civilians for cover. In September 2000, for example,
the Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr Mustapha Osman Ismail asked the United
Nations to "bring pressure to bear on the rebel movement so as to stop
using civilian installations such as hospitals and schools as human
shields". (25) Gerhard Baum, the Special Rapporteur, in November 2001,
reiterated this concern: "SPLM/A military installations are often amidst
civilian infrastructures, which affects the rate of civilian casualties
during government bombing incidents." (26)  In October 2001, the Joint
Parliamentary Assembly of the European Union-African, Caribbean and
Pacific Group of States also placed on record that it was "deeply
concerned by the use of civilian premises for military purposes". (27)

It is perhaps worth comparing comments made by the Sudanese government
and NATO on the subject of human shields. With reference to NATO's air
war in Yugoslavia, in 1999 the Voice of America stated that NATO
spokesman Jamie Shea "insists the Yugoslav authorities have been using
human shield...He says President Slobodan Milosevic has no scruples
about using civilians this way. But he says NATO will never
intentionally target civilians...However, he insists the use of human
shields is not going to stop NATO from continuing its air campaign."
(28) In 2001, the Sudanese foreign minister stated that air strikes by
government forces "are not targeting civilians but the government will
not allow the rebel movement to use civilians as human shields". He said
that: "The use of air power will continue against the rebels wherever
they are and we will take care to avoid civilians." (29)

Sophisticated Weaponry

There can be little doubt that the United States and NATO forces have
had access to the most sophisticated weaponry available. It was
reported, for example, that the United States air force was using a
variety of "smart" weapons, including guided cruise missiles and bombs
that rely on an array of satellites to strike targets. These also
included "Joint Direct Attack Munitions" (JDAM), a technology which
upgrades 1,000 pound and 2,000 pound bombs into "accurate, adverse
weather 'smart' munitions" according to a US Air Force fact sheet. (30)
'The Times' of London newspaper reported that: "The relatively new JDAM
weapon, linked to a satellite, should provide the most accurate form of
bombing and its deployment...helped to underwrite political statements
in Washington that the airstrikes had been meticulously planned to try
to avoid civilian casualties." Despite this sophistication, it was also
'The Times' newspaper that reported that it was a JDAM bomb that hit a
residential area of Kabul killing several civilians. (31) In comparison,
the Sudanese air force is working with very old equipment. The bombs it
uses are pushed out of refitted ageing Soviet-era Antonov transport
aircraft. (32)

Sophisticated Intelligence Sources

The United States government is served by thirteen separate intelligence
agencies. Their budget amounts to almost thirty billion dollars a year:
85 percent of this budget is dedicated to military intelligence. The
primary mission of these intelligence agencies is "to collect, evaluate,
and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist the President and senior
US Government policymakers in making decisions relating to the national
security". (33) Amongst the many resources at the disposal of these
intelligence agencies are satellites that can see everything imaginable
and that can monitor every electronic communication on the face of the
earth. In the Yugoslav, Kosovo and Afghanistan air campaigns, these
intelligence resources were augmented by the equally impressive
intelligence capabilities of NATO and NATO's constituent members. In
comparison, the intelligence resources available to the Sudanese air
force pale into insignificance. In spite of the resources available to
them both the United States and NATO repeatedly hit civilian targets.

The Spectre of Propaganda

There is no doubt that any bombing of civilians or civilian areas makes
for powerful propaganda. All the conflicts touched upon in this note
have been no exception to this. The air campaign in southern Sudan has
been a particular target for those seeking to demonise the Khartoum
government. Interestingly, it has been the American government that has
been at the forefront of this propaganda campaign, responding
enthusiastically and unquestioningly to claims of civilian bombing as
made by the SPLA or Norwegian People's Aid.

Comments made in October 2001 by the Administrator of the United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) Andrew Natsios are typical
of this propaganda. In the course of a key-note speech Natsios went out
of his way to criticise Sudanese air force bombings in the course of the
war in southern Sudan. He specifically referred to an incident involving
the World Food Programme in southern Sudan where an area approved for
food deliveries was bombed by the air force. Natsios claimed that this
"could hardly have been an accident." (34) Yet, on 16 October, four days
after Mr Natsios delivered his lecture on the ethics of bombing, and his
articulation of somewhat arbitrary judgements about Sudanese intentions,
the American air force bombed very clearly marked Red Cross warehouses
in Kabul, Afghanistan. The American air force returned on 26 October and
bombed the same clearly-marked Red Cross compound, buildings containing
food and blankets for 55,000 disabled and vulnerable people. The
International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the American bombings
as a "violation of international humanitarian law". (35) 'The Washington
Post' also reported that the American air force bombed less than 500
feet of a World Food Programme facility in northern Kabul, wounding one
aid worker. (36)  The missiles struck as trucks were being loaded with
humanitarian aid. Using Mr Natsios' own facile logic, these incidents
could hardly have been an accident, or were they?

What conclusions can be drawn about propaganda and bombing? While
Defence Secretary Rumsfeld has repeatedly declared how incredibly
careful the American air force has been in its aerial bombing within
Afghanistan, "no nation in human history has done more to avoid civilian
casualties than the United States has in this conflict", the simple fact
is that the American government has killed hundreds of innocent
civilians, in several cases whole villages, in its bombing, and on 26
November 2001, United States warplanes bombed positions at Konduz,
killing dozens of pro-American Afghan allies and injuring five American
special forces soldiers. (37) Given that American 'smart bombs' have
managed to kill several American servicemen, and injure dozens more, as
well as killing and injuring a lot more of its own Afghan allies, one
can perhaps give Washington the benefit of the doubt with regard to
their ultimate intentions. This despite the most sophisticated weaponry
known to Man, missile systems guided by a thirty billion dollar
intelligence machine, and a desperate desire to avoid such casualties.
It might be pointed out that in comparison the Sudanese air force are
using antiquated aircraft and comparatively inaccurate bomb delivery
systems - certainly when placed alongside the state-of-the-art laser-
guided, "smart" bombs used by the most sophisticated air force in the
world. And it is also clear that for its own political and international
reasons, the Sudanese government is just as concerned as the United
States is to avoid civilian casualties. It would appear, however, from
Washington's attitude towards Sudan that only the American air force can
bomb civilians by accident.

End the War and the Bombing Will End

It is perfectly understandable that the European Union and others
criticise instances within Sudan where bombing has resulted in the death
or injury of civilians. While these criticisms are valid these critics
should also be putting even more pressure upon those parties who seek to
continue the war - bombing and bombing-related casualties being but one
of the many horrific consequences of the war itself. These groups should
also note the fact that it has been the government of Sudan that has on
numerous, well-documented occasions offered unconditional comprehensive
cease-fires, and that it has been the rebels who have pointedly refused
them. It has also not escaped the attention of most of the international
community that on the occasions that the Sudanese government, conscious
of international concerns about bombing, has declared a cessation of
aerial bombardment within southern Sudan, the rebels have responded with
new and vigorous military offensives: these offensives have themselves
provoked a continuation of bombing in counter-response. Not to note
these circumstances, and merely to focus exclusively upon the government
of Sudan - the approach taken by the United States government - is
deeply cynical where not simply disingenuous. The United States position
is all the more questionable given that there is every reason to believe
that the United States has itself been prolonging the Sudanese conflict
by militarily and otherwise assisting the SPLA rebel movement.

On 24 May 2001, as but one example, as a response to international
concerns, the Sudanese government stated that it would unilaterally
cease air strikes against military targets in southern Sudan. (38) The
Sudanese government also said that it called "upon the other parties for
an immediate response for boosting the peace process in the country and
appeals to the international community to back up the call for a
comprehensive ceasefire." (39) Immediately following this declaration
and call for peace, the Bush Administration granted millions of dollars
worth of assistance to Sudanese rebels. (40) Shortly after the
announcement of this American encouragement, the SPLA launched a
concerted offensive in the Bahr al-Ghazal region of southern Sudan. The
offensive continued during pivotal peace talks in Nairobi in early June,
with the rebels ignoring further calls for a peaceful solution to the
conflict. (41)

This American-encouraged SPLA offensive, aimed at capturing several
towns within Bahr al-Ghazal, resulted in massive displacement of
southern Sudanese civilians. The Sudanese Catholic Information Office
reported that most activities within the region had been halted by the
offensive: "locations from Tonj northwards remain no go areas forcing
both church and humanitarian agencies to suspend their flights to the
region." (42) On 13 June the Roman Catholic Bishop of Rumbek, Bishop
Mazzolari, reported that just under 60,000 civilians had been displaced
by the offensive, and that these civilians were in desperate need of
humanitarian assistance. (43) Unsurprisingly, the Sudanese government
reacted to the offensive and mobilised forces to check SPLA attacks.
(44) Ten days into the offensive, in order "to defend itself in the face
of continued aggression" by the SPLA, Khartoum announced the resumption
of military air strikes within southern Sudan. (45) It must be noted
that having been responsible directly or indirectly for encouraging the
offensive in question in Bahr al-Ghazal, the Bush Administration then
expressed outrage when Khartoum was forced to resume the use of air
strikes against rebel forces in the region. (46)  The European Union for
its part was much more balanced, expressing its concern at the renewed
military activity by the SPLA "particularly in Bahr al-Ghazal in
Southern Sudan" and by Khartoum's resumption of bombing in response to
the offensive. (47)

It is worth noting that in his response to American criticism with
regard to aerial bombing, Dr Mustafa Osman Ismail states that the US
"openly sides with the rebel movement and offers it political and
military assistance". Regarding the accusations of bombing civilian
targets he has stated: "The American administration repeats allegations
by the rebel movement without bothering to verify them". Bombing
civilian targets "is not part of the government policy", he adds, but
accuses the SPLA of using humanitarian relief sites as "shields of
protection". He states: "It is legitimate to target the military bases
of the rebel movement...[relief sites] have become venues of planning
for attacking and occupying more [government held] towns". (48)

It is also worth noting that as part of a programme to incorporate
international humanitarian law into the training of Sudanese armed
forces, in 2000 40 Sudanese Air Force officers attended a law of war
course in Khartoum organised by the International Committee of the Red
Cross delegation in Sudan. After this course, the Sudanese Air Force
commander affirmed his commitment to ensure that all air force personnel
respect the law. (49)



There are two things which must be noted about the United States bombing
in Afghanistan. Firstly, Washington emphasised on several occasions that
it would be taking every possible care not to accidentally kill
civilians. (50)  Secondly, they have also emphasised the use of high
tech weaponry. Nonetheless hundreds of civilians have died.

On 9 October 2001 American airplanes bombed the United Nations de-mining
office in Kabul, killing 4 UN workers. 'The Washington Post' stated
that: "Pentagon briefers have emphasized their careful target selection.
But "on occasion," Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said..."there will be
people hurt that one wished had not been. I don't think there is any way
in the world to avoid that..." (51)  It was reported that: "After the
death of four UN employees in Kabul, American target-pickers are under
pressure to avoid sites close to civilian homes or other buildings. The
United Nations Afghanistan coordinator for humanitarian aid Mike Sackett
stated that: "People need to distinguish between combatants and those
innocent civilians who do not bear arms." (52) On 11 October the Taliban
claimed that American bombs had killed 100 people in a village near
Jalalabad. A article confirmed that American warplanes had
struck the village of Khrum, some 20 miles away from Jalalabad. The
'Time' journalist calculated that around 100 civilians were killed, and
the whole village was "razed to the ground" by mistake. (53)  Fifteen
people were said to have been killed in an attack on a mosque in
Jalalabad and ten civilians east of Kabul; a hospital was bombed,
killing four dead and 13 civilians died in bombing in Kandahar; on 19
October two buses carrying refugees and a hospital were hit by American
bombs. A hospital in Herat was also bombed killing patients and staff,
and on 30/31 October a Red Crescent hospital was also bombed in
Kandahar, killing 15 civilians. (54)  US warplanes were said to have
bombed a Red Crescent hospital near Kandahar, killing 15 people and
severely injuring 25 others. (55) The Pentagon also admitted that
American warplanes had dropped a 1,000 pound bomb on an old people's
home near the western Afghan city of Herat. (56)

The BBC reported that "US military warplanes 'inadvertently dropped
bombs' on Red Cross warehouses and on a nearby residential area in the
Afghan capital Kabul, the US Defence Department said on Friday. US Navy
fighters and B-52 bombers mistakenly bombed six warehouses used by the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), destroying vital
stocks. This is the second time ICRC buildings have been hit since US
air strikes began on 7 October. Two of the warehouses hit this time were
struck last time around". A Red Cross spokesman stated that all Red
Cross installations were clearly marked and all parties in the conflict
had been told their locations: he added that the bombing took place in
good visibility. (57)

On 22 October US warplanes bombed the village of Chowkar-Karez. The
Taliban claimed that up to 100 civilians, almost the entire population
of the village, were killed. A Human Rights Watch group and western
journalists were able to visit the area. They were able to confirm that
villagers had died in the attack. The Canadian 'Globe and Mail'
newspaper reported that the bombing of the village "has become the best
documented bombing of the four-week-old war. It has also become
something of a touchstone in the battle for credibility, and the
Pentagon's handling of the information that has emerged has led some
observers to wonder whether Washington really knows what is going on in
the field...'It begins to make you question not only the credibility of
the information that's coming back to us as members of the public but
also the kind of information and intelligence that's going into the
selection of targets,' said Sidney Jones, the director of the Asian
division of Human Rights Watch...Witnessed talked to by the Western
reporters claimed there were no Taliban troops in the village and that
U.S. planes opened fire on people as they attempted to flee the bombs."
(58)  The 'Globe and Mail' reported that American Defence Secretary
Rumsfeld "professed ignorance" about the attack, stating "I cannot deal
with that particular village". On 1 November 2001, Human Rights Watch
issued a press release entitled "Pentagon Should Explain Civilian Deaths
in Chowkar". 'The Times' published an account of the bombing of the
village entitled: "Death Falls From Sky on Village of Innocents", which
documented bombing and strafing attacks on the village, reporting that
thirty-five civilians were killed and others injured. Eighteen members
of one family, five of them children, were said to have been machine-
gunned by American gunships. (59)

On 22 October 2001, Defence Secretary Rumsfeld, denied that there was
evidence that American warplanes had bombed a hospital in Herat: "We
have absolutely no evidence at all that would suggest that that correct. I'm sure it's not." It was alleged that over
one hundred civilians had died in the attack. (60) On 25 October the
Pentagon admitted that American warplanes may well have hit the hospital
in Herat with a 1,000 pound bomb. (61)

In an article entitled "Bombing Errors Prove Major Test for US Resolve",
'The Independent' newspaper reported on 29 October that: "There have
been four separate reports of accidental US strikes on civilian targets
in Afghanistan in the past 48 hours, including the bombing of a village
in the area controlled by the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance." One of
these attacks had resulted in the deaths of seven children in their
Kabul home. (62)  Reuters reported on 26 October than seven civilians
had died in American overnight bombing in Kabul. (63)  On the same day
Agence France Presse reported that American cluster bombs had killed
eight civilians in the west of Afghanistan. The Taliban regime also
claimed that 36 civilians had died when a bus was hit by American
missiles. The ICRC stated that civilian deaths were mounting. (64)
Reuters reported that a US bombs had killed twelve civilians in attacks
in Kabul as well as other civilians in an attack on a minibus. Reuters
also claimed that several villagers were killed or injured when American
warplanes mistakenly bombed the Northern-alliance held village of
Ghanikhel. (65) Four children were killed in an attack on a civilian
area of Kabul. (66)

On 21 November, 'The Daily Telegraph', a noted pro-American British
newspaper, published an article entitled "Village of Death Casts Doubts
Over US Intelligence". The article reported that American warplanes had
hit the same village on two occasions, killing first seven and then four
villagers, mostly women and children. A village elder asked the
reporter: "Please tell the Americans they are bombing their
allies...This is the third time in two days that our village has been
bombed." (67)  'The Times' of London published a number of articles with
headlines such as: "Bombing Victim Tells How US Raid Hit Village", an
attack in which it was claimed that 200 civilians had been killed (68);
"He is burying his wife bit by bit as he digs her out of the rubble",
reporting that a village had been hit by US bombs, killing a number of
civilians, and concluding that a "horrible mistake" had been made. (69)



Amnesty International stated that NATO forces had violated international
law and committed war crimes by targeting and killing civilians during
the Kosovo conflict. Amnesty cited nine incidents during the bombing
campaign against Yugoslavia and alleged that NATO had failed to properly
select methods and targets to avoid civilian deaths. An Amnesty
International spokesman stated: "NATO set itself up as upholding
humanitarian standards, which it has not done. [We] think they have to
answer for that." Among Amnesty's accusations were the following
accusations: NATO's bombing of the Serbian TV headquarters, which killed
16 civilians; NATO's bombing of a bridge while a passenger train was
crossing, hitting the train and killing civilians on board; NATO's
attacks on convoys that included displaced civilians; NATO's decision
not to suspend bombing of targets even after it was clear that civilians
had been hit; NATO's bombing from 15,000 feet which was not adequate to
ensure that civilians were not killed. Serbia claimed that 600 civilians
had been killed in the bombings. (70) NATO spokesman Jamie Shea admitted
mistakes were made: "We were attacking purely military targets. Where
accidents occurred they occurred as a result of tragedies, failures of
technology, of human error that always accompany military operations."

The ABC news channel also provided examples of NATO bombings of
civilians. These included the 12 April 2000 bombing of a passenger train
south of Belgrade which killed 30 people (NATO apologised for an
"uncanny accident"; a 14 April bombing of a convoy of ethnic Albanian
civilians which killed 64 people; a 27 April 2000 bombing of a housing
estate which killed 20 civilians; 1 May 2000 bombing of a bus which
killed 39 people; a 3 May 2000 bombing of a bus, killing 20 civilians;
the 7 May bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in which three
Chinese journalists were killed; the 13 May bombing of the Kosovo
village of Korisa which resulted in the deaths of 87 ethnic Albania
civilians (NATO accused the Serbians of using villagers as human
shields); a 20 May 2000 bombing of a hospital in Belgrade which killed
several patients and injured others (the residences of the Spanish and
Swedish ambassadors were also hit); a 30 May 2000 air attack on a
crowded bridge in central Serbia, killing nine civilians and injuring 17
others. There were many other mistakes. (72)

On 20 April 2000 the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Mrs Mary
Robinson, criticised NATO for killing "large numbers of civilians". On
28 April 2000, NATO airplanes bombed Bulgaria by mistake for the third
time. On 1 June NATO aircraft bombed Albania by mistake.


1       "Pentagon Defends Strikes as Civilian Toll Rises", 'The Los
Angeles Times', 30 October 2001.
2       "Pakistanis Tone Down Call to Halt Airstrikes: Rumsfeld is
Cautioned About Muslim Reaction", 'The Washington Post', 5 November
3       See, for example, "Bombings That Hit Wrong Targets in
Afghanistan", News Article by Reuters, 23 October 2001.
4       "US Bombs Hit the Wrong Target for Second Time in Two Days",
'The Independent' (London), 3 December 2001.
5       "New Afghan Leader Escapes 'Friendly Fire", 'The Times'
(London), 6 December 2001.
6       "1,500 Killed in US Raids", 'The Times' (London), 1 November
7       See, for example, "Afghanistan: U.S. Bombs Kill Twenty-three
Civilians. Rights Group Urges Immediate Investigation, Human Rights
Watch, 26 October 2001 and "Afghanistan: New Civilian Deaths Due to U.S.
Bombing", Human Rights Watch, 30 October 2001
8       "Harsh Allegations: NATO Denies it Committed War Crimes in
Kosovo Conflict", News Article by ABC, 7 June 2000.
9       "Kosovo 'Dumb Bombs' Missing in Action", 'The Times' (London),
15 August 2000.
10      "Pentagon Defends Strikes as Civilian Toll Rises", 'The Los
Angeles Times', 30 October 2001.
11      "US Military Strikes Assailed - Civilians Killed By Cluster
Bombs", News Article by Agence France Presse, 26 October 2001.
12      "Lies, Damned Lies and War Propaganda", 'The Sydney Morning
Herald', 29 October 2001.
13      "Rumsfeld Dismisses Claim of Bomb Raid on Hospital", 'The Times'
(London), 23 October 2001.
14      "Taliban Takes Hits on Several Fronts", 'The Dallas Morning
News', 19 October 2001.
15      Peter Nyaba, 'The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An
Insider's View', Fountain Publishers, Kampala, 1997, pp.55, 66.
16       'Evaluation of Norwegian Humanitarian Assistance to the Sudan',
A report submitted to the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
COWI, Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo, November 1997, p.27.
17      See, for example, 'Confirmed Chemical Bombing in Southern
Sudan', Norwegian People's Aid, 2 August 1999.
18      United Nations communication to the Sudanese Ministry of
External Relations, UN Resident Coordinator in Sudan, 17 October 1999.
19      Letter to Baroness Cox Regarding the testing of Sudan samples at
the Chemical and Biological Defence Agency, from Baroness Symons,
Minister of State for Defence Procurement, (Reference
D/MIN(DP)/ECS/13/3/3), London, 5 June 2000.
20      See, "Analysis of Samples from Sudan", Helsinki 20 June 2000 as
published in 'The ASA Newsletter', Issue No. 79, 2000, Applied Science
and Analysis Inc, available at
21      "Pentagon Defends Strikes as Civilian Toll Rises", 'The Los
Angeles Times', 30 October 2001.
22      See, for example, "Action Alert: CNN Says Focus on Civilian
Casualties Would Be "Perverse", Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting,
Washington-DC, 1 November 2001.
23      "Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan", Commission on Human
Rights Resolution 1999/15, Geneva, 23 April 1999, E/CN.4/Res/1999/15
24      "Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan", Commission on Human
Rights, United Nations General Assembly, Fifty-Sixth Session, New York,
19 April 2000.
25      "Sudan: UN Asked to Pressure Rebels", U.N. Integrated Regional
Information Network, Nairobi, 20 September 2000.
26      Gerhard Baum, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human
Rights in the Sudan. Statement made to the Third Committee, United
Nations General Assembly, New York, 8 November 2001, E/CN.4/2000/36
27      "Resolution of the Situation in the Sudan", ACP-EU Joint
Parliamentary Assembly, Brussels, 29 October - 1 November 2001.
28      "NATO/Kosovo", News Article by Voice of America, 16 May 1999.
29      "Sudan Vows Not to be Deterred by 'Human Shields' in War on
Rebels", News Article by Agence France Presse, 3 January 2001.
30      "U.S. Using High-Tech Weaponry", 'The Dallas Morning Post', 9
October 2001.
31      "Smart Bombs can be Stupid", 'The Times'(London), 25 October
32      See, for example, "Despite a Ban on Air Raids, Civilians Keep a
Watchful Eye", 'The Philadelphia Inquirer', 3 May 2000.
33      'Frequently Asked Questions', Central Intelligence Agency
Official Website at
34      Natsios, "A Reinvigorated Commitment to the People of Sudan",
U.S. Holocaust Museum, Washington-DC, 12 October 2001
35      "Red Cross Warehouse Hit Again", 'The Daily Telegraph' (London),
27 October 2001.
36      "Bombs, Lawlessness Threaten Aid Efforts", 'The Washington
Post', 17 October 2001.
37      "The Fort of Hell", 'The Sunday Times' (London), 2 December
38      See, for example, "Sudan Declares End to Air Raids on Rebels in
South", News Article by Reuters on 24 May 2001, and "Sudanese Government
Declares Halt to Air Raids in South", News Article by Agence France
Presse on 24 May 2001.
39      "Sudanese Government Declares Halt to Air Raids", News Article
by Agence France Presse on 24 May 2001.
40      "Sudanese Rebels to Receive Dlrs 3 Million in Assistance', News
Article by Associated Press on 25 May 2001.
41      See, for example, "Khartoum Urges Rebels to 'Stop Fighting and
Talk"', News Article by Agence France Presse on 5 June 2001 and "Sudan's
Government Calls on International Community to Push for Cease-Fire",
News Article by Associated Press on 5 June 2001.
42      "Civilians Flee Town Under Siege", News Article by Sudanese
Catholic Information Office, Nairobi, 8 June 2001.
43      "Fighting in Sudan's Bahr el Ghazal Leaves 57,000 Displaced:
Bishop", News Article by Agence France Presse on 13 June 2001.
44      See, for example, "Sudan's Beshir Steps Up Mobilisation Against
Rebel Offensive", News Article by Agence France Presse on 7 June 2001,
and "Sudan Mobilizes as Rebel Forces Advance", News Article by Middle
East Newsline, Cairo on 8 June 2001.
45      See "URGENT Khartoum Announces Resumption of Air Strikes in
South", News Article by Agence France Presse on 11 June 2001.
46      'U.S. Concerned at Reports of Air Raids in Sudan', News Article
by Reuters on 8 June 2001.
47      "Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union
on Sudanese Peace Process", Brussels, 12 June 2001.
48      "Khartoum Accuses Washington of Fanning War in Sudan", News
Article by Agence France Presse, 27 August 2000.
49      "First Law of War Course for Sudanese Air Force Officers",
International Committee of the Red Cross News No. 13, 5 April 2001
50      See, for example, "Smart Bombs can be Stupid", 'The Times'
(London), 25 October 2001.
51      "Bombs, Lawlessness Threaten Aid Efforts", 'The Washington
Post', 17 October 2001.
52      "Bombings That Hit Wrong Targets in Afghanistan", News Article
by Reuters, 23 October 2001.
53      "Another Day's Bombing in Jalalabad",, 19 October
54      Special Reports, "Attack on Afghanistan: US Response", 'The
Guardian' Interactive Guide at
55      "Afghan Hospital Strike 'Kills 15'", News Article by Associated
Press, 31 October 2001.
56       See "Pentagon Admits US Jets Bombed Old People's Home in Afghan
City", 'The Independent', London, 24 October 2001.
57      "US Admits Second Bombing Error", News Article by BBC, 27
October 2001.
58      "Bombing of Farming Village Undermines U.S. Credibility", 'The
Globe and Mail'(Toronto), 3 November 2001.
59      "Death Falls From Sky on Village of Innocents", 'The Times'
(London), 2 November 2001.
60      "Rumsfeld Dismisses Claim of Bomb Raid on Hospital", 'The Times'
(London), 23 October 2001.
61      "US Admits Dropping 1,000lb Bomb on Old People's Home", 'The
Daily Telegraph' (London), 25 October 2001.
62      "Bombing Errors Prove Major Test for US Resolve", 'The
Independent' (London), 29 October 2001.
63      "Kabul Bombed Overnight - US Bombs Kill Seven More Civilians",
News Article by Reuters, 26 October 2001.
64      "US Military Strikes Assailed - Civilians Killed By Cluster
Bombs", News Article by Agence France Presse, 26 October 2001.
65      "US Bombers Kill Kabul Family and Busloads of Refugees", News
Article by Reuters, 29 October 2001.
66      "US Missed Most Kabul Targets, Aid Workers Say", 'The Times'
(London), 20 October 2001.
67      "Village of Death Casts Doubts Over US Intelligence", 'The Daily
Telegraph' (London), 21 November.
68      "Bombing Victim Tells How US Raid Hit Village", 'The Times'
(London), 13 October 2001
69      "He is burying his wife bit by bit as he digs her out of the
rubble", 'The Times' (London), 15 October 2001.
70      "Harsh Allegations: NATO Denies it Committed War Crimes in
Kosovo Conflict", News Article by ABC News, 7 June 2000.
71      "Harsh Allegations: NATO Denies it Committed War Crimes in
Kosovo Conflict", News Article by ABC News, 7 June 2000.
72      "NATO's Deadly Mistakes", "Coverage of Kosovo", ABC, 17
January 2001.

European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council
1 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5BW
Tel: 0207 872 5434   Fax: 0207 753 2848

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