August 21, 2006


General Lewis MacKenzieGen. Lewis MacKenzie, the former commander of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia is an outspoken Srebrenica genocide denier. He portrays himself as an expert on Srebrenica who can rule on genocide issues, even though he has no legal background and he has never visited Srebrenica in his life. On July 14, 2005 edition of Canada’s The Globe and Mail, under “The Real Story Behind Srebrenica“, this is what he stated (quote):

Quote: “Evidence given at The Hague war crimes tribunal casts serious doubt on the figure of ‘up to’ 8,000 Bosnian Muslims massacred. That figure includes ‘up to’ 5,000 who have been classified as missing. More than 2,000 bodies have been recovered in and around Srebrenica, and they include victims of the three years of intense fighting in the area. The math just doesn’t support the scale of 8,000 killed…. It’s a distasteful point, but it has to be said that, if you’re committing genocide, you don’t let the women go since they are key to perpetuating the very group you are trying to eliminate. Many of the men and boys were executed and burried in mass graves.” End Quote

Little did he know: Srebrenica genocide is not a matter of anybody’s opinion; it’s a judicial fact. Srebrenica massacre has been ruled a genocide first by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague and subsequently by the International Court of Justice.

As an alternative to Lewis Mackenzie’s make-believe denials, read
Facts: 8,106 killed in Srebrenica Genocide.

While it is difficult to ascertain exactly how much has been directed towards payment for speakers and journalists, the SUC [Serbian Unity Congress] and Serbnet have set up a special fund for this purpose. Based on former UN General Lewis MacKenzie’s own admission which was later corroborated by Serbnet — that he was receiving over $15,000 per speaking engagement — the amount spent on MacKenzie represents more than what the SUC is paying to PR firms such as Manatos and Manatos, Inc. (source).

The Serbian propaganda campaign employs methods similar to Holocaust denial and revisionism. Their first line of action is to create an atmosphere of relativism. The second line of action is then to deny the totality of the destruction in order to downplay the purpose and systematic nature of the aggression. The third line of action is then to create their own ‘facts’ and ‘references’ and it is here where they have been most successful. The SUC [Serbian Unity Congress] has used public relations firms (Manatos and Manatos, McDermott O’Neill and Associates, David Keene and Associates), in order to grant their leaders and paid representatives access to television and radio interviews, congressional sub-committee hearings and U.N. sponsored commissions. These congressional hearings, interviews and official reports are then used as references, which lend legitimacy to their position. For example, the Serbnet speeches made by former UN General Lewis MacKenzie on his speaker-tour are frequently advertised, as are the articles of Sir Alfred Sherman which appeared in the British press.

But just, who is Gen. Lewis MacKenzie? To answer that question, one must go back to 1992. In December – same year – the chief Bosnian military prosecutor in Sarajevo, Mustafa Bisic, formally charged Gen. Lewis MacKenzie with sexual misconduct against civilians while on duty in Bosnia, and requested that the UN revoke his displomatic immunity. MacKenzie was accused of raping several Bosnian women being held captive in a Serbian prison camp, as a “gift” from Serbian officials. The victims were later executed by Serbian soldiers, allegedly to ‘erase evidence’.

Here is an archived version of investigative article published on June 4th, 1993 by Pacific News Services.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: For half a year charges of sexual misconduct filed by a Sarajevo prosecutor against a high UN official have been circulating widely in Arab, European and Canadian media, and in UN and human rights circles in New York. While the official named denied the charges, to date there has been no formal acknowledgement let alone inquiry into them, raising troubling questions for some about who polices the peacekeepers. PNS associate editor Dennis Bernstein is an award-winning investigative reporter. Bernstein’s research was funded in part by the Washington, D.C. based Fund for Investigative Journalism.

By: Dennis Bernstein, Pacific News Service
Date: 06/04/1993

Last November the chief Bosnian military prosecutor in Sarajevo charged a high UN official with sexual misconduct against civilians while on duty in Bosnia. The prosecutor publicly demanded that the Bosnian president press the United Nations to remove the official’s diplomatic immunity.

Although reports of the alleged war crimes have appeared in the Arab, European and Canadian press, have been circulating in UN circles and even surfaced in a briefing for U.S. Congressional aides by a human rights group, there has as yet been no formal response from the UN. While the official has denied the charges, those attempting to investigate them — journalists, human rights advocates, foreign policyanalysts, and at least one U.S. legislator, not to mention Bosnian officials and Sarajevans themselves — believe they raise troubling questions about the overall accountability of the UN: just who is policing the peacekeepers?

Some months after he unexpectedly stepped down from his assignment last August, General Lewis MacKenzie, Canadian head of the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia Herzegovina, was charged in a bill of indictment by chief military prosecutor Mustafa Bisic with sexually molesting four Bosnian Muslim [Bosniak] women held by Serbian forces in a prison camp in a Sarajevo suburb.

In a letter to the Bosnian president dated Dec. 3, 1992, Bisic cited the eyewitness testimony of a Serbian guard who had worked at the camp, known as Kod Sonje. The guard claimed he saw MacKenzie and several escorts arrive in a military transport vehicle with the UN insignia. The eyewitness claimed guards were then ordered to release four Bosnian Muslim women prisoners to MacKenzie. According to the prosecutor’s complaint, the women were later murdered by camp guards under orders to “erase evidence” of this “unusual gift.”

The prosecutor’s charges, aired over Sarajevo television, were denounced by MacKenzie in several interviews with European and Canadian media as a propaganda tactic by one side in the three-sidedcivil war to gain international sympathy. “I can understand why they (Bosnian officials) would do something like that,” the former UN peacekeeper told the Vancouver Sun in an interview published Feb. 13.

“If I had been in their position and found that the peace-keeping force was not what I wanted, I can envision my devious mind working out a story to discredit them.”

Nevertheless, in February new information about the possible existence of a videotape placing MacKenzie at the Kod Sonje camp helped refocus attention to the charges. In an interview with Pacific News Service, U.S. Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) says she is “very concerned” about the charges and has informed U.S. ambassador to the UN Madeline Albright that her office “is trying to ferret them out as best we can.”

Slaughter learned about the videotape from Safeta Ovcina, a Bosnian nurse who testified at a special briefing conducted by Helsinki Watch for Congressional staffers. The briefing was held February 23 amid growing concern in the West over media accounts of mass rapes of Bosnian Muslim women by Serbian soldiers.

Ovcina, who spent ten months tending war victims at a frontline hospital before fleeing Sarajevo for the United States, testified she had been shown the videotape by her neighbors whom she described as members of the Bosnian military.

“I looked at the tape and saw General MacKenzie, whom we always saw on TV news, with Serb chetniks. There were three or four girls on both sides of him…MacKenzie was hugging them.”

In a telephone interview with Pacific News Service at her home in St. Louis, Ovcina says she recognized some of the young women as formerly involved in a hair cutting business.

“They didn’t laugh, theydidn’t cry, they just sat there…The feeling I had is that they were surrounded by a bunch of drunken people, and they were very unhappy,” she recalled.

Ovcina says her neighbors told her the women were later killed and buried in a grave on the outskirts of Sarajevo. In her testimony at the Helsinki Watch briefing, she also described witnessing other abuses and indiscretions by UN personnel, including the selling of protection, food, cigarettes.

Bosnian officials in the United States interviewed by Pacific News Service say they do not know the whereabouts of the videotape nor do they have any verification that it exists. Although the allegations are now widely accepted as truth in Sarajevo, according to Bosnian Ambassador to the UN Muhamed Sacirbey, at this point “there is no proof to justify them.” Interviewed by phone from New York, Sacirbeysaid his government had not formally challenged General MacKenzie’s diplomatic immunity at the UN.

Another eyewitness to the alleged Kod Sonje incident is Borislav Herak, a Serbian soldier captured by Bosnian forces in early November and now awaiting execution for war crimes. Herak was interviewed on film by award winning Bosnian film maker and TV producer Ademir Kenovic several days after his arrest.

According to a transcript of the interview provided by Kenovic, Herak said he was at the camp when MacKenzie arrived in a white UN vehicle and met with the camp warden Miro Vukovic. He was then taken to a room “for big shots” where he was served whiskey and food.

Later, Herak said he saw MacKenzie and several other UN soldiers “taking four or five girls in this vehicle to have fun.” Asked if he were certain it was General MacKenzie, Herak replied, “Yes, I am sure. I saw him on television.”

To date, General MacKenzie has not been questioned by U.S. media about the charges and repeated phone calls to him by Pacific News Service in Washington DC were not returned.

Congresswoman Slaughter says while she doesn’t want to spread “what could be a smear campaign,” she considers the allegations serious enough to warrant investigation. If proven true, they couldundermine the UN’s entire peacekeeping mandate.

“But I don’t know who is authorized to handle such an investigation,” she added.

Slaughter was especially troubled to learn that twice when he visited Washington last May, General MacKenzie was represented by the public relations firm of Craig Shirley and Associates which is closely identified with the Serbian government. The firm also represents Serb-Net Inc., a Chicago-based association of Serbian American organizations which a spokesperson says “works to counter the negative press images about Serbia.”

**** END ****
Related reading material suggested by our readers: I Begged Them to Kill Me – published by the Center for Investigation and Documentation of the Association of Former Prison Camp Inmates of Bosnia-Herzegovina; pages 183-189. Chapter: An Officer with a Rose.
  1. Shaina
    August 22, 2006 at 12:13 am

    Another apologist has been Gen. Michael Rose.

    Noel Malcolm’s book review exposes Rose’s Islamophobia and his other prejudices.

    Both journalist Peter Maass (author of “Love Thy Neighbor”) and UN ambassador Diego Arria have come to the same conclusion as to why Rose and MacKenzie, etc. were so biased in favor of the VRS troops.

    What they say is that to Rose and MacKenzie, the VRS looked like a real army: they had the weaponary, the uniforms, the discipline, the ranks etc.
    The Bosnian Army did not have the weaponary, and in many cases (i.e. in Srebrenica; they were more a rag tag group than an established army).
    So for that reason, many of the career militarists; like MacKenzie and Rose took the VRS officials at face value and were openly contemptuous to the Bosnian forces.

    Of course, it never seemed to occur to Rose that the very REASON why the VRS troops were so well disciplined was that they were the ones who organized the war and they also had weapons from Belgade etc.

    (Btw: Diego Arria’s testimony can be found on the DOMOVINA.NET website under the Srebrenica audio and video page)

  2. Owen
    August 24, 2006 at 9:56 am

    To be fair to him, though I don’t know how much he deserves it, Rose’s attitude seems in part to have been a reaction to what he saw as the Bosnian government side’s political manipulativeness and the Bosnian army’s willingness to be involved in scenarios that were aimed at influencing outside public opinion.

    Noel Malcolm points out that Rose failed to appreciate the fact that in a desperately uneven situation where the Bosnian government was denied access to the military resources the Bosnian Serb forces were able to deploy, the political front was a vital area of the government side’s survival effort.

    Rose seems to have applied one set of rules of scrupulous conduct to the people among whom he was stationed and another to the people with whom he had formal dealings on a “soldier to soldier” basis. He seems to have lacked any awareness of how limited his undertsanding of the situation in which he found himself.

    What puzzles me is why Martin Bell with his own personal experience of Bosnia would have such respect for Rose as to give his opinions such prominence in the programme on “Iraq: the Failure of War” he made for Channel 4.

  3. Srebrenica Massacre
    August 24, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    Owen said: “…the Bosnian army’s willingness to be involved in scenarios that were aimed at influencing outside public opinion.”

    Actually, that’s his perception and he is dead wrong. I assume you are referring to Sarajevo Markale Massacre, which had already been proven to be crime committed by the Serbian forces.

    Read answer to Question 12 here,

    I will be publishing final edition of Questions/Answers in the coming days with more detailed answers.

  4. Owen
    August 24, 2006 at 11:50 pm

    No, Daniel, I certainly wasn’t referring to the Markale massacre, I was referring to incidents like the one that Noel Malcolm referred to on Rose’s first day in Sarajevo.

    “As he was driven from the airport to the city centre, some nearby Bosnian Army mortars opened fire on Serb artillery positions; the UN civil affairs adviser told him that this was a common tactic, aimed at provoking an artillery bombardment in order to strike terror and sympathy into the hearts of visiting dignitaries. Rose’s writing immediately glows red-hot with furious indignation.

    The tactic was indeed a callous one, and few observers of the war in Sarajevo would deny that it was employed from time to time. But Rose’s presentation of the issue remains hugely one-sided. One percent? Half a percent? No one knows the precise figure, but it was certainly very small.”

    So perhaps as a result of that first impression Rose got it into his head that the government side were manipulative. As Malcolm notes, he seems to have been unable to take on board the reality of the similar political manipulation that their opponents were happily engaging in, as chronicled in the Bassiouni Commission report

    Francis Wheen (an honourable left non-apologist) is pretty devastating on the subject of Rose’s general judgmental capacity at:

    In an article titled “The Gruesome Twosome” he takes aim at Rose (along with Pauline Neville-Jones, a smart and determined British civil servant who didn’t just see Milosevic as the key to a peaceful resolution of the situation in Bosnia but also ended up as Douglas Hurd’s partner in the NatWest mission to help Milosevic privatise Serbian Telecom, as described by Wheen again at http://www.cascarino.homestead.com/hurd.html )

    “General Rose presented himself as a humble soldier at the mercy of politicians. ‘In Bosnia I was working for the United Nations, and I was constrained by UN Security Council resolutions,’ he said. His tasks had been to alleviate suffering, stop the war spreading and create the conditions for peace. ‘I did not have any other agenda while I was there.’

    Too modest, my dear fellow. Under Security Council resolution 836, for instance, Rose had a mandate to ‘deter attacks against the safe areas’. But when the Serb artillery launched a fierce bombardment against the safe area of Gorazde, in April 1994, he seemed remarkably unconcerned. It was, he insisted, no more than a ‘minor’ and ‘tactical’ operation by the Bosnian Serbs, who had ‘no serious intention’ þ even though his HQ in Sarajevo received daily reports from UN military colleagues in Gorazde warning that the death toll was rising fast. ‘If this is not serious, I hope I don’t see a serious situation develop’, one UN monitor complained to Rose. ‘Saying it is a minor attack into a limited area is a bad assessment, incorrect and shows absolutely no understanding of what is going on here.”

    Rose seems to have been rather lacking in political and military judgment on the evidence of his command of the UN forces. Malcolm accepts that government forces did sometimes engage in military action that would put the lives of some of Sarajevo’s residents in danger, even though he gives these actions their proper context and scale alongside the actions taken by the Bosnian Serb forces and specifically rules out the Markale massacre as one of these occasions. It’s possible to wonder whether that welcoming salvo that greeted Rose’s arrival in the city may have been well and truly a shot in the foot as far as its impact on an important representative of the outside world was concerned.

    But at the end of the day I’m only pointing to something that may have influenced Rose’s thinking, I’m not in any way seeking to excuse it.

  5. Owen
    August 26, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    Dan, did you not receive my comment explaining that I was certainly not referring to the Markale massacre?

  6. Vincent Jappi
    August 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    The rape investigation against McKenzie has been taken up by Oleg Čavka, a regional prosecutor in Sarajevo.

    An article in "MacLean's" (Canada) from 1997, mentions the general's role in covering up a collective rape on a 23-years old retarded woman at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.

    Here is another link about the paid perjuror:

  7. Owen
    August 24, 2008 at 6:00 am

    Dan, you were wrong to use the phrase “Little did he know”. In the case of a self-appointed authority like MacKenzie we’re entitled to expect him to have been aware that the Trial Chamber had very carefully examined this issue and the Appeals Chamber had endorsed its finding. Either MacKenzie knew that and just ignored their arguments or if he didn’t know he discredits the notion that he is someone whose opinion is worth more more than one second’s attention.

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