ICJ rejected NATO bombing case for lack of jurisdiction

On December 15, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that it could not hear a case brought by Serbia and Montenegro against eight NATO countries - the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands and Portugal. The case was brought in respect of NATO's 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, then led by President Slobodan Milosevic, now on trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for war crimes. The NATO campaign was undertaken in support of a NATO effort to push the Yugoslav army out of Kosovo, where it was said to be engaged in ethnic cleansing operations against Kosovar Albanians. The court found that it had no jurisdiction in the case because the antecedent state of Yugoslavia was not an official UN member in 1999 and was not party to the ICJ statute.


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