Letter: Nato aim unclear

Sir: Adrian Hastings (letter, 1 April) suggests that the Nato attack on Yugoslavia can be legally justified through references to the Genocide convention of 1948. But this convention was not ratified by the US Senate, on the grounds that it is poorly drafted, and could allow other governments to intervene in the United States' affairs.

It is true that the Americans gave their support to a resolution upholding the principles embodied in the convention. But it would be eccentric for the United States to claim legal justification on a basis which it had itself refused to ratify.

The burden of the convention concerns not the suppression, but the punishment, of genocide, which leaves open the whole question of how the genocide is to be suppressed. All that the convention can offer us is article 8, which says that "any contracting party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate".

Article 9 does give contracting parties the right to refer disputes to the International Court of Justice. But contracting parties are states, so this offers no protection to groups comp-laining about states. And the United States refuses to recognise the competence of that court.


(Independent Labour, Nottinghamshire North

and Chesterfield)

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire