Families mark ten years since Belgrade TV building bombing

Other News Materials 23 April 2009 23:56 (UTC +04:00)

Families and colleagues on Thursday marked the tenth anniversary of the NATO bombing of the Serbian state television (RTS) building when 16 employees have been killed.

A service was held at a memorial site near the RTS building in downtown Belgrade. The families, friends and colleagues, including RTS director Aleksandar Tijanic lit candles and placed flowers.

"We are here together with our friends to remember this awful tragedy," said Zanka Stojanovic, whose son was killed in the attack. "This building, this place has become our shrine because we know that their souls are somehow in this building ... which should remain as a memorial to them."

In 1999 NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days to force a withdrawal of Yugoslav forces under Slobodan Milosevic from Kosovo.

In 2002 former RTS director Dragoljub Milanovic was sentenced to 10 years in prison for not carrying out orders to move people and equipment to safety during the bombing.

On Thursday families claimed that all of those accountable for failing to evacuate the building had not been brought to justice.

"Milanovic was just a dogsbody. That's why he is in prison today," said Kuzman Stoimenovski, who lost his son Darko in the attack.

Belgrade media report that the Vienna based South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO) called for NATO to ensure an independent investigation into the attack.

"The fact that the Serbian state media was perceived by some as a propaganda tool in the war cannot be used as an argument to justify the bombing of RTS as a legitimate target," SEEMO secretary general Oliver Vujovic was quoted as saying, reported dpa.