Herr Harald Kampffmeyer:
I would do the same again
[article from 2009]
My family thinks I am - nuts! Thus, on the niversary of the beginning of  "merciful" bombing of Serbia, speaks the man who, before this criminal act of 19 most powerful countries in the world, has never even set foot in the Balkans and then, with the power of his own conscience - has become a part of Serbian history, of which, unfortunately, a little is known in Serbia. 

If it wasn't for the Ministry of Diaspora awarding him these days with an aknowledgment for his efforts, there would be no acts of grattitude from our side, either individual or official, for what he did, and he did a lot.

A German Herr  [Mr.] Harald  Kampffmeyer , an armourer, an officer, an economist and since ten years ago - a certified expert in humanity and international law, residing in Berlin, and originally from East Germany, folded the sheet and placed an indictment against his country of Germany, ahead of their civil court for damages which NATO, with the consent and participation of Germany, made to the inhabitants of Serbia in Varvarin, 30 of May.

Let us remember, in 1999. on the day of the Holy Trinity and the large weekly market, NATO destroyed Varvarin bridge, killing along the way without hesitation young and old, who happened to be there. Among them, Sanja Milenkovic, a talented and good girl, with great love for mathematics, a field in which she has exhibited exceptional knowledge.
Read: Sania's Last Day

Even the pensioners help

These days Mr. Kampfmeyer  marks a decade of court battles with German courts for a "Varvarin case" in search for justice, with the the end nowhere in sight, and money - is running out. So far, the judicial process "ate" 350 thousand euros, of which half were provided by him and his wife Cornelia.

Kampfmeyers are no rich people. Most of the money Harald has provided using the loan of 150 thousand euros, which he raised to complete their house. 
True, neither the house is finished, nor the process is completed, but he says that he will not give up and that he will raise a new loan so he could complete the work on his home this time. Hence, I guess, the sort of comment from his family at the beginning of the text.

In the meantime some other people joined them. 
According to German law, an association of citizens was established and registered -"Victims sue for compensation" and in their Council, in addition to spouses  Kampfmeyer, are Jan and Biljana Fandelo from Hamburg and Gordana Kovačević-Milanovic, a quintet, which together with their initiator, is relentless in seach of justice for the Serbs
About 40 percent of current funds come from donations of about 2,000 Germans, young and old, workers and pensioners, who paid 5 to 10 euros monthly to the fund, and each member of Council bears private responsibility to cover all costs.
Biljana van de Loo (bis Juni 2002), Jan van de Loo, Harald Kampffmeyer,Gordana Milanovic, Cornelia Kampffmeyer, Gabriele Senft
Biljana van de Loo (bis Juni 2002), Jan van de Loo, Harald Kampffmeyer,Gordana Milanovic, Cornelia Kampffmeyer, Gabriele Senft
The Central Council of Serbs in Germany, active and modern association of our people in this country, did much for the truth about this German's endeavor to reach the Serbian communities, both here and abroad, and only thanks to them, the official Serbia did not disgrace itself towards this man.

- Aware that the reference to criminal responsibility would be immediately rejected, we have used cunningness, and our lawsuit is on civilian-legal basis of the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim: 
He who has done the damage must compensate the person to whom it was done. 
We had to find a particular case, present it, adjust it to the German law and find the Germany's participation in that particular action. 
Thereby footing in international law was found in the Article 91 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions
It says "If one participant in an armed conflict trample upon the above standards, it must bear responsibility." 

This proclaims the protection of civilians in armed conflict - says our source.

"Varvarin case" is the third in a series of court cases pending by Kampfmeyer against Germany. As a part of of the group of German citizens, about 500 of them, criminal charges were raised against German politicians for Germany's participation in the bombing, which was rejected. 
Mr. Kampffmeyer with Gordana Kovačević-Milanovic, Stojanka Alekić and Milan Čobanov from Central Council of Serbs in Germany
Mr. Kampffmeyer with Gordana Kovačević-Milanovic, Stojanka Alekić
and Milan Čobanov from Central Council of Serbs in Germany

Three times rejected

The second time, Kampfmeyer has sued the state in German main court for abuse of finances and use of tax money for the purposes of war. And this process is lost on the grounds that "an ordinary citizen has no right to ask the state what it will do with his money."

- In the "Varvarin case" it was necessary to prove that the bridge that was targeted was not a legitimate military target and that the German air force was involved in the operation. 
Add caption

When you look at Varvarin bridge that had eight tons carrying capacity, and in any case can not take a tank of 40 tons, we have advocated the view that it is purely civilian object. Much more difficult was to prove Germany's participation in it - says Kampffmeyer .
Vravarin Bridge
Vravarin Bridge 
The perpetrators of this crime kept all this confidential, and it was virtually impossible to get valid information. 
Legal representatives of Germany were on this occasion playing with prosecutors, simply poking them, "it was one of us, but prove who." 

Despite everything we came to reliable information according to which, that day in the air over Serbia were two German "Tornados" for air support to bombers for bombing of Varvarin. At the same time, before they choose a target for bombing, each of the NATO member states had to give its consent, and that was the case with Germany too.

- In spite of good evidence, we were rejected on three court instances. In the first instance in Bonn we have lost, for according to explanation there is no legal basis for the proceedings under German law. With such reasoning they prevented us from evidence hearing, to call witnesses, victims ...

At the second instance in Cologne main statements of First Instance has been canceled.
- But the reasoning has said that int wars, the infrastructure is always a legitimate target and did not enter into a discussion of whether this is a legitimate target or not. 
However, based on allegations of German authorities that Varvarin bridge is on the main line of communication with Kosovo,and therefore automatically it became a military objective, which is total nonsense, and was also opposed by the trial judge himself, but he relented after.

The third instance is the Federal Court of Germany, when there was a further escalation. Government representative said that the courts have no right to make decisions on actions of a state of political and military importance.
Against this we have appealed to the fourth instance, the Supreme Court of Germany, and we wait for the outcome since December 2006.  - Kampfmeyer  relates precisely how the procedure went, saying that after all, remains the possibility of instituting proceedings before the European Supreme Court, where the "Case of RTS" was already refused, when the Court declared - no jurisdiction.
Inocent civilian, Ristic Stojan killed in NATO attack on Vravarin Bridge

Benchmark in the international law

During his career as officer Mr. Harald Kampffmeyer dealt with situations of war and international standards of protection in case of war, and his interest in the consequences of the bombing of Serbia is logical for anyone who learns the details from his biography. 

In addition, the German constitution strictly prohibits involvement in armed clashes. And as much as it was tragic for the situation in Serbia, he says, it was also tragic for the German democracy. Thus it happened that the first time he set foot on the soil of Serbia was when he went to collect evidence for his claim.

- When I arrived at Vavarin, the Serbs were skeptical and reluctant with me. I arrived with a lawyer, it was winter, we went to the pub and addressed citizens in all possible languages, but  apparently, no one understod us. We noticed the we were boycotted up until we put the translated text of the complaint on the table. One of those present looked up and saw that it says "NATO victim" and from that moment everything changed.

Suddenly everyone appeared interested, they almost began to speak German, they offered him help, drove him to the house of the mayor ... 
Today, the most important is what people from Varvarin think, the gratitude the disproportionately high, but disappointment too, already it takes too long and they don't see the purpose of it anymore.
However, he does not intend to give up. Regardless of the fact that he got into this all out of bitterness, having been avid chess player, he approaches it all as the game where the most important are concentration and perseverance. 
Names of civilinas (Serbs) killed on Varvarin bridge during NATO aggression
Names of civilinas (Serbs) killed on Varvarin bridge during NATO aggression 

About this he says:

- I would do the same again. The five of us, we managed to launch a political story that is different from what most Western media spin. 
And in professional community, among lawyers, for decades they will discuss this case. 
Most importantly, these court cases have created a sort of legal benchmark in the international law: so far at the international level, confronted parties were state against state, and we have now introduced the ratio of the individual against the state. 

"Varvarin case" is the proof that "if one state can call on individual responsibility, why could it not be the other way around, that the individual call the state responsible" - observes Mr. Kampffmajer.
Translated by A.T. [ SerbiaSOS]

Source: http://www.ilustrovana.com/tekst.php?broj=2620&tekst=02

[1] The killing of a math prodigy

[2] Internationales Europäisches Tribunal über den Nato-Krieg gegen Jugoslawien
[3] " Tužbe ratnih žrtava NATO-vazdušnih napada radi naknade štete " 
[4] Die Brücke von Varvarin
[5] Projekt „NATO-Kriegsopfer klagen auf Schadenersatz“
[6] Self-proclaimed World Policeman shows the true face
[7] 35 Bewohner des serbischen Dorfes Varcarin verklagen das NATO-Land Deutschland auf Schadenersatz
[8] Sania's Last Day

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