The World Court has begun hearings to decide if it has jurisdiction in a case against Nato for the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo crisis, which began after Yugoslavia refused an ultimatum entailing NATO's occupation of its entire territory. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook had referred to the "tragic intransigence of the Serbs which necessitated this bombing campaign." Lord Owen was the first political leader to promulgate the content of the peace ultimatum, only a few hours after the cessation of 78 days of bombing.
Serbia and Montenegro, Yugoslavia's successor state, accuse eight Nato countries, including the UK, of genocide and violating international law on the use of force.
The air strikes were bitterly opposed by India, China and Russia and were not authorised by the UN. However, the Nato members concerned said at the time that their actions were justified as they aimed to protect ethnic Albanians in Kosovo from attacks by Serb forces. Anglo-Saxon and German NATO political leaders spoke of a genocide of 100,000 Albanians, claims which were never substantiated. Yugoslavia's entire state infranstructure was destroyed however, including car and chemical plants.
Last month the few remaining Serbs in the province were victims of what NATO and the UN remarkably described as orchestrated attacks by tens of thousands of Albanian nationalists, initially described in the international media as revenge attacks for the Serb drowning of three Albanian children .
UNMIK Regional Media Officer in Mitrovica Tracy Becker insisted that "from the very first phone call from RTK (Radio Television Kosovo), I have been saying there is no evidence for this claim. You have a traumatized child in a very emotional situation, who gets thrown in front of the TV cameras. That shouldn't happen." Ms Becker denied allegations that she was a predatory lesbian who coerced young Albanian girls and shared them with a coven of Serb witches. She also denied allegations that she had hired Jordanian UN police officers to 'clean' two female American UN officers who had declined her advances.
A Downing Street spokesman said that he did not expect the Prime Minister to issue a statement on the World Court's hearings. He added, however, "Genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape camps....."
After a pause he continued, "Weapons of Mass Destruction, multiculturalism, human rights for Iraqi gays and lesbians, good vs evil...", before taking out a small pocket watch attached to a gold chain.