Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Suffering Of Children During NATO Aggression

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NATO aircraft in 1999 did not only attack military targets. Roads, bridges and civilian buildings were also targeted. They left ruins, suffering and casualties in their wake. There were children among the dead.
Margit Savović:  “So we, the Federal Government Commission that were in charge of gathering the evidence, material, court material, autopsy findings, testimonies and indictments, determined that 81 children were killed in the NATO bombing. That is official data. We have all these documents about those deaths. And all these cases are very well documented."
Children are considered to be the most vulnerable and helpless members of society, as defined by the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Margit Savović: “The only country that has not yet ratified the convention is the United States. All other countries have, and of course it is in force, obliging governments to take actions to ensure that all children on this planet enjoy the rights to survival, development, and life. In 1999, this convention was flagrantly violated, and it was those who signed and confirmed their commitment to these principles with their signatures, that bombed our country. Of course, the bombs do not choose their targets, and 81 children were victims of that aggression."
The bombs did not choose age, gender or nationality. Among the victims of the bombing were Milica, Sanja, Bojana, Dalibor, Arijeta, Naser, Osman, etc.
The youngest victim was 11-month-old Bojana Tošović, who was killed on the Easter Eve, 11 April 1999, during the bombing of Merdare near Kuršumlija. Two-year-old Marko Simić was the victim of the bombs dropped on the centre of Novi Pazar. Fifteen-year-old Sanja Milenković, a student of the Mathematical Grammar School in Belgrade, was killed during the shelling of the bridge over the Velika Morava River in Varvarin. The bombs also shattered the youthful dreams of Gordana Nikolić and Milan Ignjatović from Vladičin Han. Three-year-old Milica Rakić, a girl who was killed in her house during the bombing of Batajnica, became a symbol of the suffering of children in the NATO bombing.

A monument with an epitaph that reads “We were just children” in memory of the killed children, was erected on the first anniversary of the NATO aggression against the FRY in the Tašmajdan park in Belgrade.
Margit Savović: "So the youngest victims were 2 to 3 months old, and there were also eighteen-year-olds who lost their lives to those NATO bombs." All in all, it is not a nice picture and it is really sad that so many children were killed, and it should also be mentioned that in addition to the killed children, a huge number of children was injured, some of whom still suffer the consequences in the form of disabilities and we don’t know much about psychological traumas since we haven’t investigated such consequences. Maybe if we interviewed that generation now, 20 years after the bombing, we would find out what their memories of those traumatic days were."
Margit Savović:  “For me, the most bizarre is the case of Irena Mitić, who was killed near Vranje. Namely, the bomb that killed her had the following words written on it by hand `I am very glad to see you and to have finally found you`, an Italian says. It should not be forgotten that important facilities were also damaged in the bombing. Important for the lives of children - that is, schools, six kindergartens in Vranje were demolished, the children's ward at the "Dragiša Mišović" hospital was targeted and destroyed, and it should be added that the NATO has always justified itself by saying that it was all collateral damage. I think this is the worst of all the new expressions we have learned. For them, the children and facilities, i.e. schools, hospitals, it was all a coincidence happening in some war“.
According to the Yugoslav Commission for Cooperation with UNICEF and the Committee for Collecting Data on Crimes against Humanity and International Law, 81 children were killed during the NATO aggression. The exact number of Albanian children killed is still unknown. Most Albanian children were killed when NATO aircraft bombed refugee columns near Djakovica and Prizren, mostly children, women and the elderly. All young lives lost in the bombing are listed in the NATO statistics as "collateral damage". No one has ever been held accountable for the crimes.