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Macedonia Conflict Endangers Civilians

Both the Macedonian authorities and the armed ethnic Albanians operating as a group called the National Liberation Army (NLA) must comply with basic principles of international humanitarian law applicable to internal armed conflicts. Last week Macedonian troops resumed shelling Albanian rebel positions. 
On Friday Human Rights Watch sent letters to Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, Prime Minister Ljupce Georgijevski, and the NLA political spokesman Ali Ahmeti, urging that both sides to the conflict respect civilian immunity.  
"The jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia also applies to Macedonia," said Holly Cartner, executive director of the Europe and Central Asia division of Human Rights Watch. "This should make those fighting in Macedonia think carefully about the manner in which they conduct operations in the ongoing conflict."  
Human Rights Watch called on the government and armed rebel groups to refrain from attacks against civilians, attacks and reprisals against civilian objects, indiscriminate attacks, torture and cruel treatment, and the taking of hostages. Human Rights Watch also highlighted the need to prevent the displacement of civilians.  

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