Examination of Purported U.S. Violations of International Law during the Bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999

  • 2017

Examination of Purported U.S. Violations of International Law during the Bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999

Author:
Maribeth Sawchuk
Abstract:

The U.S. led NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999 has long been defended as a necessary intervention due to atrocious human rights violations against Muslim and Croat Bosnians. However, those that supported and opposed the conflict point to U.S. violations of international law and despair at unpunished violations, a flawed system, and call for reform. Even the former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright has publicly admitted that U.S. actions were ‘technically’ a violation of international law but these actions were warranted given the region’s humanitarian crisis; was this really the case? If so, what specific laws were violated and are these purported violations indicative of a super power’s disregard for international law or a flawed system of laws that fail to account for the nuance of sociopolitical timing, the emphatic response to human rights violations, and the practical reality of timely military engagement?